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Greater Twin Cities United Way Launches “211 Hope Starts Here Fund”—Focused on Housing Assistance


Donations to Fund Greater Twin Cities United Way’s 211 Resource Helpline
211 Calls Reflect Housing as No. 1 Need

MINNEAPOLIS (Jan. 14, 2021) – The harsh economic impact of COVID-19 has made the housing crisis in the Twin Cities region substantially more severe, and during the most frigid months of winter, many people urgently need emergency shelter and help paying bills. Yet, navigating social services is confusing and time consuming, leaving many without help. To support people who need housing assistance, Greater Twin Cities United Way announced today its new 211 Hope Starts Here Fund.

Donations will fund United Way’s 211 Resource Helpline which is staffed by resource specialists 24 hours a day who provide callers guidance, information and referrals to statewide housing-related resources such as emergency shelter; rent, mortgage and utilities assistance; legal support and more.

Every dollar donated to the 211 Hope Starts Here Fund will provide housing information and resources and more than $3.00 worth of services through United Way’s 211 Resource Helpline – a 300 percent return on donations. Those interested can donate at www.gtcuw.org or by texting HOPE211 to 51555.

“Nearly 60 percent of all calls to United Way’s 211 Resource Helpline are related to housing,” said John Wilgers, President and CEO of Greater Twin Cities United Way. “When you give to the 211 Hope Starts Here Fund, you’re doing more than helping a few people – you’re funding a holistic solution that makes the housing system more effective and efficient for everyone.”

Many social workers, medical professionals, and nonprofit and faith leaders rely on the 211 Resource Helpline to help them support the people they serve. United Way also collects and analyzes 211 data and shares insights and trends on community needs with state and local policymakers as they consider additional funding options and supportive housing policies.

More on Greater Twin Cities United Way’s 211 Resource Helpline

  • 211 data underscored the need for critical housing support when COVID-19 hit the Twin Cities region, helping to secure $100 million in CARES Act funding for emergency housing assistance. The Minnesota Housing Finance Agency selected United Way’s 211 Resource Helpline to serve as the point of contact for people seeking these housing resources through Dec. 2020.
  • United Way’s 211 Resource Helpline specialists guide and refer people to 40,000+ statewide resources based on specific needs, including rental assistance, food programs, childcare, employment resources and more.
  • 211 specialists provide nearly 460,000 referrals per year, addressing 52 urgent needs every hour.


About Greater Twin Cities United Way: Greater Twin Cities United Way unites changemakers, advocates for social good and develops solutions to address the challenges no one can solve alone to create a community where all people thrive, regardless of income, race or place. For more information, visit www.gtcuw.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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