Programs & Services

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Information and Referral

Family Services & Homeless Intervention

Community Voice Mail

Energy Assistance

Weatherization and Home Repair

Island County Achievements:

A nationwide community service activity Community Voice Mail is part of the national network of CVM sites, empowering people in crisis and transition by distributing free 24-hour voice mail nationwide - directly linking individuals to jobs, housing, safety and stability.  Headquartered in Seattle, WA, the CVM National Office website is:

Opportunity Council's Island County Service Center 
 679-6577 or 1-800-317-5427  

Community Voice Mail is a program of the Opportunity Council, initially coordinated by an Americorp VISTA volunteer.  Community Voice Mail (CVM) provides phoneless, homeless and unemployed persons with 24-hour access to telephone messages they might not otherwise receive from potential employers, landlords, case managers, and service providers.  People in such circumstances receive CVM services from social service agencies that are active in the program.  Within minutes, a client is set up with a personalized greeting, security code and wallet card that outlines simple instructions to use a touch-tone phone to retrieve their messages. 

Today the telephone is a necessary social credit card.  For example, think about the process of finding a job.  You can apply for a job in person,  on the phone, or through the mail.  But no matter which method is used, almost all cases will require a telephone call to the applicant, whether to schedule interviews, get questions answered, or to confirm employment.  The problem is that if you are homeless, it stands to reason that you are also phoneless.  How then, do you find employment without having a telephone?  Enter voice mail. 

CVM has been available in Island County through the Opportunity Council since October, 2000.  It was originally started in Seattle as a pilot project at the nonprofit Seattle Worker Center in 1990.  This project became so successful that Community Technology Institute was started, a nonprofit that focuses on replicating CVM across the nation.  The program is available in 41 cities throughout the country and has received national attention by winning a Ford Foundation award in 1993.  

In Island County, the average time a person needs CVM is 171 days.  After that 66% of its users meet their goal, whether that is finding employment, housing, health care, or receiving social services (as of August 31, 2002).  To date, 172 persons have used or are using CVM in Island County.  

Agencies that currently offer this service to their clients are the Opportunity Council, Work First, Employment Security Dept., Housing Authority of Island County, CADA, New Leaf, Dept. of Corrections and Families That Work.  The Opportunity Council Resource Staff reports that CVM “helps to ease the burden of homelessness and helps families transition to a stable life.”

For more information, call the Opportunity Council's Island County Service Center at (360)  679-6577 or 1-800-317-5427.


reviewed June '06
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