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Three Tri-Cities landmarks to shine red light on social services for all

United Way BC is marking 211 Day on Feb. 11 as the campaign brings awareness on accessible supports and resources for those in need.
Lafarge Lake is one of the main attractions for visitors to Coquitlam's Town Centre Park, including its fountain and surrounding 1.5-kilometre trail loop.

Social, government and community services are available for those that need it most in the Tri-Cities.

This includes food and shelter, mental health and addiction supports, and even financial assistance for seniors and newcomers.

It's called 211 British Columbia, operated by United Way (UWBC) which is set to begin a campaign that hopes to expand the phone and online service's radar to residents that need a helping hand.

On Saturday (Feb. 11), the Lafarge Lake fountain in Coquitlam, as well as Port Coquitlam and Port Moody city halls, are lighting up red to mark 211 Day.

In a statement, UWBC explained 211 is free, confidential and available 24/7 for those that need to navigate a "complex network" of services across different levels of society and government.

"There is still a stigma in our society when it comes to asking for help, but the simple truth is that everyone, no matter how strong, experiences ups and downs in life that may need support," 211 BC director Niina Niemi added. 

"We receive over 150 calls every day from people in communities across British Columbia. There is no shame in seeking support, and help starts here. Our 211 Navigators will listen and compassionately connect you to available resources in your community."

Compared to 2020, 211 BC saw 15 per cent more contacts for housing, 22 per cent more contacts for mental health, 40 per cent more contacts for legal and public safety and 49 per cent more contact for abuse in 2022. 

"At United Way BC, we are committed to building healthier, caring and inclusive communities, and 211 is a direct reflection of that commitment. 211 exists as a vital lifeline, available to all British Columbians experiencing challenges and needing support," said UWBC CEO and president Michael McKnight. 

"211 Day is a very important day in building awareness about this free and accessible resource, and we are grateful to all the communities who will be lighting up
their landmarks in red in support of 211." 

The Tri-Cities' three landmarks are joining 14 others that'll turn red for 211 Day, including BC Place, White Rock Pier and the World's Largest Hockey Stick in Duncan. 

For more information on 211 BC and its services, you can visit its website.