COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley and Columbus Fire and EMS have partnered to launch a new initiative in the Fountain City. 

Candance Muncy, the Manager of 211 and Impact at United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley, said the initiative will allow Columbus residents to find non-emergency resources like affordable healthcare, rent and utility assistance, food and housing.

“This is revolutionary for cities. It is refreshing to see the city and the community working in tandem to get those resources out there for people,” said Muncy.  

The program is also equipped to assist domestic violence victims as well and provide them with resources. The resources are provided free of charge or based on a sliding scale basis based on income. 

Columbus Fire and EMS will carry informational cards about the resources offered through United Way and distribute them when they see an additional need. 

John Shull, the Division Chief and Fire Marshal for Columbus Fire and EMS, said the fire department often responds to non-emergency calls and recognizes a need for the resources being provided by the 211 program. 

“Being able to get out there because we encounter the community, we’re out there engaging the community so much this is our opportunity to really get out there and tell them about the services that are available to them,” said Shull. 

Shull said many Columbus citizens are not aware of the resources available to them and an important factor of the initiative is raising awareness. 

“It is often the case that we may go to calls and again, people don’t necessarily have medical emergencies or they don’t have an emergency or they do not want to be transported to the hospital but they do need something,” said Shull. “They need help in some fashion and we want to be able to provide that.”

The funds for the program have been provided from the United Way partner agencies, private foundations and private donors. 

The additional resources can be reached by dialing 211 or texting a zip code to 898-211, an operator is available by phone.