Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Who will be caller number 15,000,000?

We get a lot of phone calls here at Community Voice Mail. A lot. About 480,000 or so every month. Between August 2006 (when we started counting) and the end of January this year, 14,739,678 phone calls have been made to CVM phone numbers. Sometime this month, one of our clients or someone trying to reach them will make the 15 millionth call to a CVM phone number. Who's going to get the call? What's it going to be about?

During January, 95,010 calls resulted in messages left for our clients. We know what people are calling about, because we ask. Clients are getting calls about
  • Jobs: 83% of our clients are using CVM because they're looking for work. They're getting messages from case managers telling them about job or training opportunities. They're hearing from employers to schedule interviews. They're getting called back to say they got the job.
  • Housing: 68% of our clients are looking for a place to live. They're getting messages from local housing authorities to tell them they're at the top of the waitlist for public housing. They're getting calls from property owners to say they application for housing has been accepted.
  • Healthcare: 53% of our clients are using CVM for health reasons. They're getting messages from their doctor reminding them of an appointment, or to get test results that will help them tweak their medication.
  • Social services and Benefits: 55% of our clients are seeking other social services. They're getting messages from their case manager about drug and alcohol treatment programs. Social workers at the local VA Medical Center are contacting them about programs available for veterans.
These numbers don't include the hundreds of broadcast messages our local CVM Managers sent to their clients last month, about all these topics and more. Every client in a given area gets these messages delivered to their voice mail box, and they can press a button and leave a reply if they like (or if we ask for information).

Finally, our clients are also hearing from family, friends and loved ones, and these messages of hope and love are at least as important as hearing about a new job or a new place to live. For people who are homeless or living in poverty, CVM is a reliable connection to the people and resources who can help. We look forward to call number 15,000,000, and the millions more in the future.

Here are some CVM clients telling us about the best voice messages they've ever received:

Our profound thanks to the CVM clients in Houston who left us messages, and to the Seattle CVM clients who agreed to be photographed. Thanks also to volunteer photographer Rajiv Kapoor, who along with Daniel from the CVM National Office spent a lot of time with our clients to capture these images.

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