OUR COMMUNITY PARTNERS
Health & Well-Being
Integral Care (fka Austin Travis County MHMR)
Community Voice Mail
Austin Travis County MHMR (ATCMHMR) serves people whose lives are seriously affected by developmental disabilities, mental, emotional, and substance use disorders. ATCMHMR envisions an understanding community that respects and accepts each person’s differences and responds with compassionate, comprehensive and quality services.
With Community Voice Mail, ATCMHMR offers support to smaller social service agencies that do not have the infrastructure and/or staff to set up voice mail communications with their clients. Voice mailboxes play a critical role in assisting clients who do not have telephone service in obtaining jobs, medical care, housing and other important services.
Impact Austin’s grant provides funds for various start-up costs associated with the project that will provide more than 1,000 voice mailboxes to clients in the Central Texas area.
The launch of the Austin Community Voice Mail program was delayed due to the introduction of new technology by CVM National. The first equipment arrived in April 2006, six months late, however at a lower cost than originally budgeted. ATCMHMR was able to redirect the savings into additional community voice mail numbers (1200 rather than 1000), more training and more promotional events and marketing materials.
The next challenge faced by ATCMHMR was the slower than expected ramp up of enrollment. By the final grant report in May, 2007, 829 participants had signed on. CVM attributes the lag to several is- sues, ranging from technical glitches in the enrollment process, to agency misunderstandings of eligibility requirements and the need for more training and outreach to partner agencies. Despite this initial slow start, the enrollment continued to grow such that during 2008, 1418 individuals were served, and the program is still actively utilized today.
As for the clients’ objectives, 70 to 80% of participants relied on CVM to seek employment, housing, health care, and social services. About 9% sought safe communication in cases of domestic violence. Participants reported that the privacy and appearance of normalcy afforded by personal voice mail reduced the embarrassment of not having a phone and helped them gain a sense of dignity. Several who found employment using CVM were grateful to have the power to regain independence and control of their lives.
Altogether, during the grant period, ATCMHMR partnered with 27 area agencies (such as Any Baby Can, Caritas of Austin, Communities in Schools, Goodwill, LifeWorks, and SafePlace), ten programs of ATCMHMR and four community collaborative efforts including Texas Interfaith Disaster Response.
Austin Travis County MHMR is now Integral Care.