Brighton and Hove homeless thrown a telephone helpline

Posted On 23 Feb 2010 at 10:27 am

Remote telephone numbers are being set up for homeless people so they can hear about getting a home, GP appointments as well as training and job opportunities.

A hundred free voicemail accounts will be set up with an 01273 number so they can collect messages from any phone using a 0800 number.

The VoiceMail4All service – provided by homelessness charity St Mungo’s on behalf of charity Tech4All – has been used by more than 2,400 people in London since its launch in July 2005.

Funded by Brighton and Hove City Council, using an innovation fund through a Government grant, the service will be run in here by Sussex Central YMCA.

Councillor Maria Caulfield, Cabinet Member for Housing said: “Having a phone is vital to everyday life for most of us. But it’s especially important for homeless residents as they need to maintain vital contacts with GPs to stay healthy, hear about housing opportunities as well as employers to help get them back on their feet.

“Through this service we hope to use technology in a way that can make a real difference to the lives of some of the city’s most vulnerable people and assist them out of homelessness.”

Laura Rumley, the VoiceMail4All Co-ordinator at St Mungo’s, said: “VoiceMail4All has helped so many homeless people in London to get their lives back on track. We are thrilled to be able to extend this invaluable service to homeless people in other parts of the country and hope that this is just the beginning.

“Most of us wouldn’t be able to function without our phones, and for homeless people it is a vital tool in keeping them connected by helping them keep in contact with employers and doctors or family and friends.”

Clients using the service have found it invaluable. One said: “Brilliant! I was staying in a B&B and bidding for a council flat. I needed to receive messages immediately or I would miss out. I could pick up messages whenever I wanted. The flat I have now I heard about through VoiceMail4All.”

Another added: “I have had messages from potential employers which have led to interviews. Also messages from colleges, plus services such as the optician, and family and friends.”

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