In 1994, when a planning group began discussions of the possibility of a network of voice mail numbers for people who are poor and homeless, their initial expectations were very modest: “Should we start with just Minneapolis, or could we do Minneapolis and St. Paul? Could we get as many as 30 agencies to participate?”

In the 15 years since those first planning meetings, Twin Cities Community Voice Mail has grown to become Open Access Connections, a national leader in connecting people who do not have phones with the communities to which they belong through the seemingly simple technology of voice mail boxes.

Today 350 agencies across the entire state of Minnesota partner with Open Access Connections to allow nearly 5,000 individuals and families each year to have a safe and secure place to receive messages from employers, landlords, children’s schools, doctors, social service providers, family members and friends.