TCCVM Frequently Asked Questions

What is TCCVM?
The mission of Twin Cities Community Voice Mail is to eliminate phonelessness as a barrier to self-sufficiency. TCCVM is a non-profit agency that provides free, short-term voice mail-only phone numbers to agencies and programs. These agencies' staffs provide TCCVM numbers to their clients with whom they already work. For people without phones, TCCVM bridges gaps while they seek housing, jobs, health care and safety from domestic abuse. Currently, staff at more than 370 area agencies use our service. Each agency tailors this service to meet the needs of their clients.

Who can use TCCVM?
Individuals and families without telephones may use TCCVM as they seek self-sufficiency while working with agency staff. Those with telephones, cell phones, or pagers may not use TCCVM. Those who are seeking shelter from abuse but have a phone at home may use TCCVM, as can residents of transitional housing and treatment programs with access to main residence/hall phones only.

What do callers hear?
They hear the client's individually recorded greeting, in his or her own voice. Callers hear nothing identifying these as Twin Cities Community Voice Mail numbers.

How do clients retrieve their messages?
Clients call the same number from any touch-tone phone and enter their personal identification number. After they enter the security codes they have chosen, the TCCVM system plays their messages.

What does it cost?
Neither clients nor agencies pay for TCCVM service. TCCVM is a non-profit agency supported by foundations, government contracts, and individual donations.

What do staff and participating agencies do?
  • Assign TCCVM voice mail numbers to their clients, training them how to use the voice mail correctly
  • Complete assignment sheets including client signature when enrolling clients
  • Maintain logs of TCCVM numbers in use and by whom
  • Notify TCCVM of new clients as these are assigned to numbers
  • Assess clients' progress by monitoring usage and/or messages on a monthly basis
  • Remove clients who have achieved their main purpose for TCCVM use
  • Send assignment sheets with outcomes reported to TCCVM at end of service
  • Protect vacant numbers with agency security code
  • Request additional phone numbers, retraining, and TCCVM policy changes as necessary
  • Review monthly reports sent by TCCVM and respond to requests
  • Inform TCCVM of changes at agency regarding our service, such as a new contact person, etc.
What does the TCCVM staff do?
  • Train "contact" staff people at participating agencies to enroll clients onto the TCCVM system and maintain the TCCVM logbook
  • Answer questions and troubleshoot problems of agency staff via phone, email and/or fax
  • Mail monthly reports showing users and activity to aid agency record keeping
  • Maintain data privacy regarding clients and their messages
  • Provide technical support for the voice mail system
  • Troubleshoot system, including monitoring clients' messages if necessary
  • Collect outcome data and prepare reports showing TCCVM's client base and success rate

How long does training take for agency staff?
TCCVM is easy! Training is about 60-90 minutes. TCCVM staff bring agency staff everything they need to set up service. Once staff become accustomed to enrolling and terminating clients on TCCVM, walking through the process with a client takes about 5-10 minutes. And the more it is used, as with most things, the easier it becomes.

How long can clients use TCCVM services?
Clients who continue working with staff may use TCCVM for up to six months. Workers may request short extensions to this guideline if clients need services longer. They can remove clients who do not maintain contact and may set shorter periods of use.

Does it work?
Yes! Just ask the folks who have used it. Clients can find housing and jobs, health care is maintained and, best for you, agency staff can keep in touch with your hardest-to-reach clients. In 2008, 1758 clients found jobs and 1527 located housing while using TCCVM.

Why does it work?
  • Enhances client self-esteem
  • Is a simple system-everyone can learn how to use TCCVM
  • Is supported by enthusiastic staff

What's in it for me?
The good feeling you get when you help your community . . . and a chance to give the extra help that clients may need to link to a new future.

How can I help?
    Encourage your agency to make TCCVM available. Write, call or e-mail TCCVM for a Provider Profile form. Fill it out and fax it back. Once you are trained, you can begin enrolling your phoneless clients on TCCVM.

    TCCVM accepts donations and grants from all types of organizations. Call today and make your contribution.

    Your donation to TCCVM helps phoneless clients access employment, housing, health care and safety from domestic abuse. Please make your check out to Twin Cities Community Voice Mail and mail it to the address below. Or call if you would like to know other ways you can help.

Twin Cities Community Voice Mail
1821 University Ave, Suite N-184
St. Paul, MN 55104

Phone: 651-643-0883
Fax: 651-643-0770

Return to Top