A platform for voices

All photos | Rajiv Kapoor

Tara and Daniel

Bookkeeper Tara and painter Daniel lost their jobs as property managers after a shift in property ownership. As a result they also lost their housing. Securing temporary housing through Seattle’s Solid Ground has enabled Tara and Daniel to focus their energy on finding jobs instead of searching for places for them and their two children to spend the night. Their temporary apartment is equipped with basic phone service but no way to receive messages. Through the Community Voice Mail program, the family now has a phone number to place on the mounting pile of housing, assistance, and employment applications, and a means to stay in touch with friends and family. The basic phone service allows Tara and Daniel to return messages placed on their Community Voice Mail number. Things are looking up. Kristjan and Sophia, ages 8 and 6, have weathered the storm remarkably and continue to do well in school. Tara recently completed a GED program with terrific success and is considering pursuing a college degree in social work.


Over the course of eight years, Bill spent countless days and nights in and out of hospitals and doctors’ offices dealing with stomach-related illnesses and depression. The former Peace Corps volunteer, social worker, and amateur photographer pressed on. Unable to work during this period of his life, it wasn’t long before Bill found himself sleeping in homeless shelters between hospital visits. Community Voice Mail was the only constant thing in his life. He used the service to track medical appointments and keep in touch with family and friends he made during his time in the hospital. He now manages his illnesses through a regimen of 30 medications a day. He’s off the streets and out of the shelters, residing in a tiny subsidized apartment. He still gets messages on his Community Voice Mail. Through his ordeals, Bill has learned that he is stronger than he once thought.


Carolyn was working her dream job as an in-home daycare provider when her dream quickly disintegrated. She lost her job and soon after lost her home. After living out of her car and in a variety of Seattle shelters, Carolyn attempted to take her own life. Through her faith she found help. The Haller Lake United Methodist Church allowed her to stay in a small office for a month and a half as she transitioned. Determined to get her life back on track, Carolyn searched for jobs and housing on the church computer and used her Community Voice Mail number to complete applications as well as manage doctor’s appointments and maintain contact with friends and family. Her hard work paid off when, a year after becoming unemployed, she found a job as a teacher at a preschool across from her church. She has an apartment. She also volunteers her time in her church’s nursery reading to children. Her courage and perseverance is an inspiration.

Community Voice Mail

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