Info Line, Inc. seems self-explanatory. The agency is, by all accounts, a source of information, but the organization does more than just give out information to the public. And Sue Pierson, vice president of Info Line, Inc., is proud of this fact.
The concept of Info Line, Inc. began in 1975 during Pres. Johnson’s administration. New programs were being created, including information and referral programs. The agency was incorporated as a private nonprofit corporation by the state of Ohio.
Now, the nonprofit is the place to call in Summit County if you need info or referred to just about anything.
“We receive about 95,000 calls in our program a year,” Pierson said. “If more funds were available we could answer even more calls. If you need to find shoes for a job interview or new winter clothes for your kids, call us. You name it.”
According to the website, Info Line, Inc. is fully accredited by the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems, the international professional organization for the field of information and referral. This accreditation provides objective evidence of achievement in the areas of service quality and effectiveness, community involvement, and organizational stability.
The agency offers seven unique programs to the community:
2-1-1 Summit/Information and Referral: This free, confidential services connects people in need with faith-based organizations, government offices and educational institutions in Summit County. It is available 24 hours a day.
Child Care Connection: Assists parents in securing child care resources and offers training and technical assistance for early childhood personnel, as well as family child care providers.
MedAssist: Helps uninsured, low-income Summit County residents access free and low-cost prescription medications.
Lifeline: Offers an emergency response monitoring service for elderly residents and others with serious life-threatening health conditions.
Homeless Management Information System (HMIS): Maintains a community database used to collect data about homeless services in Akron and Summit County. This program also provides technical support, training and networking for participating agencies.
Community Voice Mail: Helps people living in poverty, transition and homelessness rebuild their lives by connecting them to jobs, housing, information and hope.
Home Again/HPRP: Provides temporary financial assistance and housing relocation and stabilization services to those individuals and families who are homeless or would be homeless without assistance.
“We are well-known throughout the community, but often times, we are the last place people call when they need help,” Pierson said.
The agency also has a number of projects both inside and outside of its programming that help community members, especially seniors and the homeless. The agency strives to keep up-to-date with technology and use it to promote programs that will help baby boomers.
For example, the Lifeline program has created a button that senior citizens can press if they ever fall. It connects with a trained Personal Response Associate who can send help quickly, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“Babyboomers want more independence,” Pierson said. “This kind of technology makes more sense for the growing number of people hitting their 60s. The less time they stay down on the floor from a fall, the shorter their stay at the hospital will be. Families can go about their lives and not have to worry as much.”
With Info Line, Inc.’s Community Voicemail, the agency provides a number for employers to call to get in touch with someone who is homeless or in transition. Since Community Voicemail has started, 60 to 70 percent have received jobs, according to Info Line.
“It also provides a way for an individual to stay in touch with family members,” Pierson said. “Family connections increase the chance of people getting back on track.”
The economy has produced an increase of individuals and families calling Info Line who might not have in the past. The agency struggles to keep up with all the calls and sometimes it also is unable to answer all the questions. People can volunteer to receive training to do the same work its staff can do.
“One-fourth of all calls go unanswered,” Pierson said. “Our goal is always to be able to handle the high volume of calls and provide the best referrals and information we are able to.”
For more information about Info Line, visit www.infolineinc.org.