Red Bear Healing Home Society

http://www.redbearhealinghome.ca

Red Bear Connects Voice Mail provides critical support to those in need. Together, we can weave a safety net of connection to catch those who would otherwise slip through the cracks of pre-existing community services. 

In our techno-centric society, living without a phone can be a serious impediment to our mental, physical, and emotional health, our employment, and our living situation. Not only do we lose connection with our lifelines of support – our friends and families – we are left at a complete loss when applying for jobs, applying to rent an apartment or a house, and even when accessing basic state services like emergency medical care, walk-in clinics, or licencing. All of these tasks have one thing in common – they require a phone. Or, more accurately, they require a phone number. When someone doesn’t have a point of contact in the form of a phone number, most of the services that are necessary to function in our society in a healthy, happy, productive way spiral out of reach. And for a person who struggles to buy food (let alone pay a cell phone bill) the increased inaccessibility of these services perpetuates and reinforces the state of poverty they are already in.   

Red Bear Connects Voice Mail Service is the only free voicemail service being offered in Nova Scotia. Voice mailboxes have unlimited storage and are accessible by both phone and email. It has supported over 300 registered clients and has experienced consistent growth in registration numbers over the last three years. The trends in these numbers alone indicate that our service is being used and is valued across Nova Scotia. Many of our clients are currently homeless or living in a shelter.  Many are living with disabilities, chronic illnesses, mental health issues, or addictions. Many are actively seeking employment, social assistance, and housing. Without a point of contact, successfully making the transition between poverty and a living wage is extremely difficult. Red Bear Connects Voice Mail Service’s confidentiality, reliability, and consistency provides a critical link in allowing those in need of assistance to reach out, make connections, and receive the assistance that can lift them out of poverty.

In addition to our voice mail service, Red Bear Healing Home Society provides direct referrals and both verbal and physical support to Nova Scotians living in poverty who are in need of assistance. From 2014-2016, we provided information on taxes, community resources, employment/safe housing resources, and verbal referrals, encouragement, and support to 30 people on a consistent basis throughout the year. We also provide an email newsletter to our clients to encourage community participation and access to services so that their safety net is weaved ever tighter and stronger.

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