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BELL ATLANTIC MOBILE GIVES 'HOPE' TO THE HOMELESS; INNOVATIVE APPROACH ADDRESSES ROOT OF HOMELESS PROBLEM

 BEDMINSTER, N.J., Nov. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Bell Atlantic Mobile (BAM) is breaking down barriers for the homeless using a free cellular voice mail program for phoneless individuals seeking employment, housing and social services.
 Bell Atlantic(R) HopeLine(SM), soon to be in all of BAM's cellular service regions, helps job seekers get back on their feet by teaming the homeless and their case workers with free access to wireless voice mailboxes.
 Exactly how does voice mail help the homeless? Without reliable communications, the homeless are denied what they need most, a direct "connection" for jobs and housing. "By placing people in jobs instead of donating money, HopeLine offers a more permanent solution to homelessness," says Francine Leahey, Director of Employment and Training at the Travelers Aid Society of Rhode Island.
 "We're just taking support of community efforts a step further," says Benjamin Scott, Chief Operating Officer at BAM. "Rather than treating the symptoms of homelessness, we're treating the cause."
 Recent studies indicate that the numbers of homeless are greater than previously believed. in addition, there are almost three times the number of people that drift in and out of homelessness each year.
 "HopeLine is timely because the resources available to human services agencies are shrinking, while demand is increasing by the day," says Leahey.
 Eligibility for HopeLine is regulated by a case worker who prescribes definitive goals, monitors the voice mail and counsels each "client" on employment opportunities.
 Soulaiman Adeyinks, who successfully landed a job through HopeLine, said, "I needed a phone to contact employers and have them contact me for interviews, but without a job I was unable to afford a phone that would serve as a point of reference and provide me with a way out of my situation."
 Scores of homeless are currently struggling as Soulaiman was. The cycle is perpetuated by employers who equate a lack of a telephone number with undesirability.
 Initially, HopeLine was the brain child of Marc Lind, a student at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, who majors in operations management.
 "HopeLine service requires no additional or special equipment," says Scott. "Free of charge, we're offering secured access to our networks, which provide the voicemail service."
 HopeLine is currently available in areas of Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, South Carolina and Washington, D.C.
 Soon, the service will be offered in all of BAM's cellular service regions including areas in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Connecticut and North Carolina. The company also will work with carriers to implement the service in areas where Bell Atlantic Mobile does not offer cellular service.
 Bell Atlantic Mobile's cellular operations constitute the largest carrier on the East Coast and one of the largest carriers in North America, serving a total population of 35 million. Bell Atlantic Mobile provides cellular service and equipment in Washington, D.C., and 15 states in New England, the mid-Atlantic, the Carolinas, and the Southwest. Headquartered in Bedminster, the cellular communications divisions are subsidiaries of Philadelphia-based Bell Atlantic Corporation (NYSE: BEL).
 -0- 11/23/93
 /CONTACT: Steve Fleischer of Bell Atlantic Mobile, 908-306-7539, or John Meils of Hill and Knowlton, 212-697-5600/
 (BEL)


CO: Bell Atlantic Mobile ST: New Jersey IN: TLS SU:

SH -- NY017 -- 7169 11/23/93 09:46 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 23, 1993
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