United Way of Summit County has begun offering 2-1-1 and Housing Services following its merger with Info Line, Inc., effective July 1. The newly integrated staffs of United Way and Info Line will occupy United Way’s new facility at 37 N. High St. in downtown Akron later this summer.
Though the Info Line name will not be used going forward, United Way has made a commitment to honor the history of the organization, which was created in 1975. During the transition, United Way has worked to ensure the needs of program clients are met, and that there will be no interruption of service for clients of 2-1-1 and Housing Services.
A national program of United Way, 2-1-1 helps people across Summit County find local resources when they don’t know where to turn for help. Available simply by dialing 2-1-1, the service is free and confidential and is offered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 2-1-1 has information on over 10,300 different services for Summit County residents, including supplemental food and nutrition programs, substance abuse treatment, disaster services and more.
Housing Services administers the Homeless Hotline and coordinates access to homeless shelters, permanent supportive housing, and rent assistance for individuals and families living in Summit County who are homeless or facing eviction. The Homeless Hotline – which can be reached through 2-1-1 – conducts screening and intakes for most homeless shelters, permanent supportive housing programs and rent payment assistance programs.
The merger of the two non-profit organizations will ensure growth and continued investment in information and referral services within Summit County. The provision of basic needs to residents is vital to United Way’s mission as it works to improve key community statistics through its Bold Goals by 2025. 2-1-1 and Housing Services will help provide the foundation on which local children and families can build toward financial empowerment and make gains in reading rates, college/career readiness and overcoming addiction.
“This is a great development for the Greater Akron community,” said Derrick W. Ransom of KeyBank, former chair of Info Line’s board of directors and newly appointed member of United Way’s board of
directors. “Historically, United Way and Info Line have worked closely to help the people of our
community. To have them come together as one organization, under one roof, will help them reach more people and touch more lives than ever before.”
Also joining the United Way board of directors is former Info Line board member Katie Sutter of Excelsior Marking.
The addition of 2-1-1 to United Way’s roster of programs will also enhance other aspects of the organization’s direct service work. Callers to 2-1-1 will be able to set up free one-on-one financial counseling appointments at the Financial Empowerment Center in Kenmore and schedule free tax preparation services through United Way’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.
“Bringing these two organizations together is an important step toward furthering United Way’s mission,” said Jim Mullen, president and CEO of United Way of Summit County. “It takes a holistic approach to solve our community’s problems. It’s hard for a child to succeed in school when her parents are struggling at home. You can’t build financial stability if you don’t have a roof over your head. By ensuring there is one robust point of contact for people to reach out to in moments of crisis, United Way is making a significant investment in the future of this community.”