211 Emergency Hotline Launces

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Almost everyone knows you call 911 in the event of an emergency, but there's a new hotline number that can help northwest Florida counties deal with a financial crisis.

The Bay County Health Department and United Way have partnered to create the 211 hotline, a service for nine counties in the region.

It's the result of the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) and has been in the works for about two years.

The hotline is now up and running.

County residents can call 24 hours a day for personal financial and health advice.

The Bay County Health Department has put more than $10,000 into the projects, in addition to donations from community partnerships.

"It's very similar to the 911 system," Sandon Speedling, the Assistant Bay County Health Department Director, said. "When an individual calls 911 they get assistance, and with the 211 system it's very similar to that. If an individual is in a financial crisis or a health crisis they can call 211 and speak with someone in person and get the help that they need."

Speedling says he encourages everyone in the area to make use of the hotline as a resource.

You can visit the hotline's website at www.211nwfl.org for more information about what the service offers.