The province has contributed $25,000 to the Prince George community voice mail system.
The Aboriginal Housing Society of Prince George (AHSPG) will receive the funding to deliver the program, which helps vulnerable populations who do not have access to a personal phone connect with employers and have access to community services, in 2017-18. It handles to up to 300 clients each year.
The goal of the Community Voice Mail Program is to provide a reliable method of communication to participants who are living in poverty, crisis and transition, so they can stay in touch with local employers, training providers, employment and housing service agencies, as well as health-care providers.
Through this program, users can access information on child care, relocation, Employment Insurance, targeted wage subsidy, apprenticeship and transportation services. They also receive a weekly broadcast on the latest job fairs, training opportunities and other community services.
The Community Voice Mail program not only helps clients enter the workforce and become self-sufficient in the future, it also helps employers in Northern B.C. recruit workers to meet their labour needs.
Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond announced the funding Friday.
“Having the ability to receive messages and communicate with prospective employers, health-care providers and others is essential in the world we live in today,” Bond said. “Thank you to Kay Robinson and her team for the passion and vision that created this program.”
The Aboriginal Housing Society of Prince George provides over 150 housing units in Prince George and is the host agency for the Community Voice Mail.
“The happiness in the voices of people when they get a job, training, or a home, while using this program is indescribable,” said Kay Robinson, community voice mail program coordinator for the Aboriginal Housing Society. “Joy, pride and sense of accomplishment are just a few of the positive emotions that they feel when they check their messages that they would not have received, if they did not have the Community Voice Mail. The funders, past and present, have helped to make this possible. Together, we have taken down one more barrier.”
In addition to support from the Province of B.C., this project is funded in part by: the Government of Canada’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy; United Way of Northern BC; Community Partners Addressing Homelessness; the City of Prince George; Aboriginal Health-Northern Health; and First Nations Health Authority. Urban Aboriginal Working Group, the Prince George Community Foundation and TransCanada Pipeline Ltd. have also contributed to the program.