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211 Welcomes Newcomers Home

August 10, 2022


Phone service offers 24-7 resources and referrals for newcomers in their home language

Winnipeg Jets Head Coach Scott Arniel, United Way Winnipeg Board Chair Donna Miller, and United Way Winnipeg President & CEO Michael Richardson visit Main Street Project with Executive Director Jamil Mahmood.

Starting a new life can be confusing, intimidating, and stressful. It’s hard to know where to begin.

For displaced Ukrainians arriving in Manitoba, help starts with 211—where a warm Ласкаво просимо! is just a phone call away.

“You can call and say, ‘I don’t know where to start,’ says Daniel Leonard, Director of 211 Manitoba.

“All you need to remember is that three-digit number.”

211, in partnership with the Province of Manitoba, is working to ensure all Ukrainians and newcomers can find any assistance they need. 211 connects callers in more than 150 languages—including Ukrainian—to an extensive network of local social, health, and government services.

Newcomers can dial 2-1-1 day or night to ask questions and talk through unknowns with someone who listens and responds in the language they’re comfortable speaking. Breaking down that language barrier creates a foundation of trust and shows newcomers they are valued here in their new home.

“We are part of the community response,” said Leonard. “We’re the front door—we’ll introduce you.”

211, in partnership with the Province of Manitoba, is working to ensure all Ukrainians and newcomers can find any assistance they need.

Once 211’s service navigators get a sense of a newcomers’ experiences and history and what they might need, they have a broad reach of than 12,000 resources to help make it happen. Newcomers can find local furniture banks, supplies for pets, job resources, and so much more by making just one call.

The ‘one-stop shop’ model also means people and families coming from crisis or fleeing from conflict only need to share their stories once, without repeating their traumatic history to several different organizations.

“We are able to do that triage work,” Leonard said, adding family members and friends are also able to call 211 on newcomers’ behalf.

“They make one call instead of 20 calls, and to do it in the language they are comfortable speaking.”

Finally, figuring out government supports such as financial assistance, paperwork, and health documentation are some of the first steps newcomers need to take when they arrive in Manitoba.

While government services are often limited to business hours, 211 is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week—so newcomers can reach out to 211 right away to learn about provincial resources, rather than having to wait.

“The experience of setting up home is complex,” said Leonard.

“211 is a collaborative team effort.”

211 Manitoba is part of a national network coordinated by United Way Centraide Canada and funded by the generous support of the Province of Manitoba and United Way Winnipeg donors.


211 Manitoba:

  • Welcomes and helps newcomers in the language they’re comfortable speaking.
  • Connects newcomers and individuals reaching out on their behalf to various community resources, social and government services with one call.
  • Minimizes the number of times newcomers need to share their story of trauma.
  • Answers the phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so callers don’t need to wait for business hours to have their questions answered.

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