Community Voice Mail Help Homeless Stay Connected

Community Voice Mail is a national non-profit organization, which began in Seattle in 1991, and was sponsored by Spring Wire.   The program is not in all U.S. states but is spreading rapidly along with the concept of relieving poverty through technology.

CVM offers the homeless a means to communicate, leave, and receive messages from family, job opportunities, or medical professionals.  Many disadvantaged men and women have no phones.  To get a free government cell phone, you have to have a permanent address.  Those who are homeless or living unstable lives need a way to get the services and assistance they need to get jobs, contact doctors, find housing, and get their lives back on track.

Community Voice Mail allows the homeless to access important tools needed to help bring a lifeline and stability through employment to their lives.  It is easy to take for granted the ability to communicate with others.  Most people have a phone in their homes and a mobile phone they carry everywhere.  Community Voice Mail gives the disadvantaged access to communication’s fundamental aspects: ‘ the ability to leave and receive messages.’

Spring Wire Helps the Forgotten

When the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was signed in 1994, many high-paying factory jobs left the country and went overseas. Factory jobs were the few jobs for those without a college education that allowed men and women to enter the middle class.

With the loss of these jobs, some lost their way of life.  During the recession of 2008, millions of families lost their jobs and their homes.   Once you lose your home, you lose your stability and security, and it is an uphill battle to get back what you have lost. It takes the help and compassion of others to support these families until they can return to self-sufficiency.

Lifeline Assistance for Low-Income

Many disadvantaged people can enroll in Lifeline, the free government phone program.  Lifeline gives free cell phones and monthly phone services to those receiving government assistance and working adults whose gross yearly income is at or below 135% of the federal poverty standards.

Unfortunately, if you are homeless, you do not have a permanent address, which is necessary to receive Lifeline assistance.  CVC works by giving each person their own voice mailbox and phone number.

You can use this number as a contact number for job interviews, employers, doctors, government, and private assistance agencies.  What no one can tell is not your home phone number.  You can set up a greeting, just as you would do with, like any phone.

They partner with agencies like the Coalition for the Homeless, Solid Ground ConnectUp, and other regional programs to deliver voice mailboxes to the homeless. Each agency has the duty of screening clients to determine qualification for this benefit.

What is Community Voice Mail?

Being homeless is one of the most difficult situations an individual or family can be in.  If you have children, it makes your life doubly complicated.  Once you have lost your job and home, it is an uphill battle to regain self-sufficiency.  CVM provides  24-hour access to voice mail and access to all the resources you need to find the services and support to live, look for a job, and get the help you need until you can find a new home.

How to Apply for Community Voice Mail?

The program’s continued success and growth depend on the generous support of those more fortunate donors.  Please consider giving to Community Voice mail.  According to CVM, “83% of Springwire’s Community Voice Mail participants achieve their goals of finding employment, housing, healthcare, and social services.”  The cost is only $36 a year for each participant.

To apply for assistance, contact one of the participating agencies in your city or state. 

Spring wire services are available in participating states:

  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Cleveland, Ohio
  • Tusla, Oklahoma
  • Salem, Oregon
  • Texas (Dallas, Houston, San Antonio)
  • Washington State, Bellingham, North Central, Seattle Skagit County, Snohomish County, South Central, South Sound Tacoma, Olympia, Bremerton, Spokane, Vancouver
  • Minnesota offers Open Access Communications.
  • Canada offers Lu’ma Native Housing Society.

Many homeless people are suffering from emotional problems or mental illness.  This can be difficult when those who love them don’t know where they are or how they are doing.   If you have a friend or family member who is in transition or living from place to place, please let them know about Community Voice Mail.  This will give them the ability to stay in touch with family and those concerned about their well-being.

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