Monday, November 16, 2009

Tulsa Community Voice Mail - in the News

KOTV (Tulsa, OK) has a nice news story about the Tulsa Community Voice Mail program, featuring our own Lori Morton (Tulsa CVM Manager). Watch the clip by clicking on the image, or read the transcript below.

Voicemail Service Keeps Homeless Connected

By Ashli Sims, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- A local program is helping Tulsa's homeless connect with a better life. It's something many people take for granted, but it's offering messages of hope to hundreds.

When Christine ended up at the Day Center for the Homeless, she says she didn't just lose her home. She felt disconnected from her life.

"When you don't communicate with people - you can't communicate with people -it's like being blind and deaf at the same time. It's hard to find your way. And it's hard to get your needs met," said Christine.

Christine needed a phone - to get a job, to find a home, to get out. But she couldn't afford it, and the Day Center line wasn't always the best option.

"People don't want to call somewhere where they have to page you, where you may or may not be there. You may or may not hear your name being called," she said.

That's when she found out about community voicemail. It's a free service that gives folks a phone number with a personalized voice mail that they can check from anywhere.

"They could get a job or stay in touch with their doctors. Or put their name on a list for housing. Because you can't have those opportunities, if people can't reach you," said Lori Morton, Day Center program manager.

Morton says more than 900 people are checking their community voicemail every day, and the program's so successful, it's won a national award.

"As a result we've been able to capture over 660 successful outcomes - goals being met - as a result of having that connection," Morton said.

"Community voicemail is a blessing," Christine, a community voicemail user, said.

Christine says with community voice mail, she was out of the shelter in less than a month and into a home of her own.

"But it gives you hope, absolutely. And it gives you a way out of a place that seems like there's no way out," she said.

Organizers say the program cost about $80,000 dollars a year, and they get much of their funding from the Schusterman Foundation

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