Sens. Ochoa Bogh and Roth Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen and Expand 211 Services in California

February 10, 2023

(Sacramento, CA) – Today, Sens. Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh (R-Yucaipa) and Richard Roth (D-Riverside) announced their bipartisan legislation, SB 318, “The 211 Infrastructure Act,” to strengthen and expand 211 services across California. Assemblymembers Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno) and Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) join the members as co-authors.

Every day thousands of Californians reach out to 211, a free and confidential information and referral service that connects people to health and human services in their community 24/7. 211 serves people of all income levels, languages, and cultural backgrounds across the state and is a critical gateway for federal, state, and localized information and resources to all communities for services such as shelter, food, healthcare, and other supports, including during disasters.

211 services are operated by 26 local nonprofits to provide statewide capacity for California’s 58 counties and are available via phone, text, and online. 211 also plays a critical role in providing information and support in times of disaster, such as evacuation, shelter, food, and medical and recovery information. 211 operators help relieve the burden on 911 by handling non-rescue calls, and callers provide feedback to public officials about changing conditions in real time.

“211 is an essential service for California families, acting as a community frontline helping people navigate complex systems when times are tough," said Senator Ochoa Bogh. "211 has helped through the pandemic and many natural disasters, including wildfires, mudslides, and floods. I hope the legislature sees 211 as an important community resource and will allocate the appropriate budget funds.”

“Every Californian should know about 211 and be able to access it when the need arises. Especially now, as families work to stretch each dollar just a little bit further, being able to call or text a trusted community resource to find help can make all the difference,” said Senator Richard Roth. “As the state navigates this year’s budget challenges, we must remember the lessons learned from previous downturns. During hard times, community solutions like 211 take on an even more prominent role, ensuring that families access benefits like Medi-Cal and CalFresh and avoid the worst outcomes. I’m proud to introduce SB 318 alongside my friend and “211 doesn’t close its doors during pandemics, disasters, or economic downturns – that’s when Californians need the service most,” said Alana Hitchcock, Executive Director & CEO of California 211 Providers Network. “The recent disastrous winter storms and crushing impacts of inflation on low and middle-income families are just two more examples of the intensifying need for the service 211 delivers linking Californians to critical resources. The baseline funding SB 318 provides would stabilize the service our nonprofit 211 providers provide today while the innovation fund will produce invaluable insight into Californians’ emerging needs and prepare 211 for the needs of tomorrow.”