Major Ernest Branscum of the Salvation Army finally got what he wanted. He wanted to be the first to help the homeless get a job the fastest way he knew how.
"This is John Doe, leave a message," sounded the message on the voice mail. Branscum belives the answer is in the phone. You just heard a voicemail greeting of someone staying at the Salvation Army Shelter. Each client is given an extention for his personal use and to use on job applications. "This phone is not answered by the Salvation Army. It is answered by the computer. There is no stigma that they are staying at the Salvation Army or that they're homeless."
The Salvation Army offeres this voice mail for free. It can be accessed from any phone and from anywhere in Lubbock.
Coni Rowe, a Career Consultant at the Texas Worksource says voice mail gives the homeless a sense of independence. She says it allows the homeless to provide a telephone number that doesn't indicate they are homeless and hard to reach. "It might be a barrier. I'm not saying they would not hire them it would be a barrier to where they couldn't get a hold of the individual. If they have to call five to six times and leave a message, he might consider hiring someone else," said Rowe.
Branscum says five out of the ten people who signed up, found a job within two weeks. He is hoping more of Lubbock's homeless will take advantage of what is literally at their fingertips.
The Salvation Army advisory board raised $14,000 to pay for the free service. They have up to 999 boxes to share.
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