Community Voice Mail project provides homeless people with a way for potential employers, social service agencies and relatives to contact them. It also enables them to apply for a job without having to tell a prospective employer they are living on the streets.
The nonprofit Community gives each homeless person a phone number and each records a message. The numbers cannot be used for outgoing calls, but people can check their messages from any regular or pay phone. The service costs the soup kitchen or homeless shelter $7 per number per month.
The program started in 1991 in Seattle and has grown to 37 cities in 19 states, helping more than 47,000 people find jobs and housing last year.