Info Line, which operates Summit County’s 2-1-1 resource and referral line and other services, is merging with the United Way of Summit County.

The boards of directors of both organizations announced the intended merger, which will happen in the next 90 days.

“This really is a positive situation for Info Line and our employees,” said Tanya Kahl, Info Line’s interim president and chief executive.

Kahl, previously Info Line’s vice president of strategy and fund development, replaces Richard Stahl, who is retiring after 17 years as president and CEO.

Stahl will continue to work with Info Line to assist with the transition.

The merger will provide for the continuation and expansion of information and referral services across Summit County in line with United Way’s Bold Goals for 2025, the organizations said in a prepared statement.

Once the merger is complete, Info Line will become a program of the United Way, Kahl said.

Info Line currently operates the 2-1-1 resource and referral, the homeless hotline, rapid rehousing and other services.

Callers can dial 2-1-1 or 330-376-6660 from a phone, text INFO LINE to 898-211 or search http://211summit.org for Summit County services.

2-1-1 – which has been operated by Info Line in Summit County since 1975 – is a national program of United Way, and the majority of 2-1-1 services across the country are operated by local United Ways.

Info Line is “a vital piece of the community that needs to continue to evolve and grow,” United Way of Summit County President and CEO Jim Mullen said.

“United Way …knows that when people are in crisis and need information on where to go, that information through 2-1-1 is significantly important,” he said. “Our intent is to invest in this program as it comes under United Way to make necessary technology investments and potentially staff investments that ensure the utility of the service is used to the best of its functioning capabilities.”

The merger of the two nonprofit organizations will provide operational efficiencies and opportunities to expand the role of 2-1-1 as an entry point to services in Summit County, the organizations said.

United Way is the largest funder for the 2-1-1 program and a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides the most funding for Info Line as a whole, Kahl said.

“Thousands of Summit County residents use 2-1-1 to access services,” said Derrick W. Ransom, chair of Info Line’s board of directors. “This merger will be great for our community and will ensure continuity and expansion of services for those who need them.”

Details of the merger — including whether Info Line will move from its South Main Street offices to United Way’s offices — are still being worked out, Mullen said.

While some duplications of jobs may mean staff changes, the intention is to grow the program and staff, he said.

Info Line employs 26 people.

Details are still being worked out about whether there will be a permanent CEO for Info Line and what happens with the boards of directors, Mullen said.

Info Line has three main departments: 2-1-1, Housing Services and Lifeline.

Housing Services is the largest program at Info Line and acts as the central intake for all HUD- funded homeless service programs in Summit County. The department provides homeless prevention and rapid rehousing assistance.

Info Line also manages the Homeless Management Information System for Summit County.

Lifeline provides a personal emergency response system to older adults and individuals with disabilities.

“By working together as one organization, United Way and Info Line can ensure that those services will continue to grow and adapt to meet the needs of our community,” said Christine Mayer, chair of United Way’s board of directors.

Betty Lin-Fisher can be reached at 330-996-3724 or blinfisher@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow her @blinfisherABJ on Twitter or www.facebook.com/BettyLinFisherABJ and see all her stories at www.ohio.com/betty