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A helpful resource for those struggling to make rent during this pandemic, text RENTSOS to 211-211

A helpful resource for those who may be struggling during this pandemic.

It’s called 2-1-1, designed by United Ways of California to help people get connected and get the answers they need.

News Channel 3’s Caitlin Thropay tried it out and explains how it may be able to help you.

2-1-1 is a free and confidential service that helps people find the local resources they need. It’s available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

For example, if you’re in need of rental assistance you can text RENTSOS to 211-211. Be sure you type it twice or else it won’t work.

Help is available in multiple languages.

Then immediately, you should start receiving helpful information and resource links.

You can also call 2-1-1 for assistance.

“When you call 2-1-1 you get a live person," Kimberly Starrs, vice president for external affairs for Inland SoCal United Way told News Channel 3. "When the pandemic first started we were activated by the state of California, the county of riverside and county of San Bernardino as an information line for the pandemic,” she said.

You can also go online and search for something like "rent help." You’ll find resources based on where you live and even a direct contact for someone to help you.

Looking at statistics pre-COVID, in 2016, 2-1-1 responded to over 2.8 million inquiries from people in California seeking services like rent and mortgage assistance, food and shelter, health care, job training, transportation, child care and elder care.

Now, with the pandemic, more people can use 2-1-1 to get connected to the help they need.

“And we saw a 400 percent increase in call volume to our 2-1-1 lines in Riverside and San Bernardino County regions but the thing that surprised us most was that our number one call request was for food at the beginning of the pandemic,” Starrs said.

2-1-1 can also help connect you to programs like CalFresh, CalWorks and Covered California.

For more information on 2-1-1 and the resources they provide visit

Coronavirus / News Headlines / Top Stories

Caitlin Thropay

Caitlin Thropay is the Weekend Morning Anchor and Lifestyle Reporter for KESQ News Channel 3, The Desert’s News Leader. Learn more about Caitlin here.


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