The Miracle Messages Referral Guide for Partners Help someone take the first step towards reconnecting.

Does your organization work with people experiencing homelessness?

Do you want to start helping your clients/guests reconnect with their loved ones?

If the answer is "yes", you are in the right place.

The guide below is for organizations that serve people experiencing homelessness, who want to work with Miracle Messages to offer reconnection services to their clients or guests.

To start, let's address a few frequently asked questions:

Q: I want my organization to start referring our client to Miracle Messages. Can I do it from anywhere?

A: Yes, you can...but only if we have a point of contact for your organization.

Miracle Messages' goal is to give any person who is experiencing homelessness--and who wants to reconnect--access our service. The tools outlined in this referral guide can be used to offer Miracle Messages anywhere, and we would love to see cases come in from everywhere that has a need, and from any organization that desires to offer our service.

The one stipulation for this is that Miracle Messages needs a way to get back in contact with the client in order to pursue the case. This means that Miracle Messages needs a reliable point-of-contact at our partner organization so that we can follow up and relay results. This can be any person who can act as a reliable liaison, who will be willing and able to relay information to clients about the status of their Miracle Messages case.

Q: It seems unlikely that most people experiencing homelessness will have phones...so how do you get back in touch with them if you find a loved one?

A: This is a challenge of working with this population. It is best overcome by 1) having a reliable point of contact, 2) planning ahead, and 3) setting expectations.

Being able to reach our clients again to relay messages and facilitate reconnections is a constant challenge. We admit it--there are times when a homeless client asks us to help them reconnect, and by the time we get in touch with the loved one we no longer have a way to reach our client again. This is hard, but it's the nature of our work.

We alleviate this challenge as best we can by having a reliable point of contact, planning ahead, and setting expectations with clients. Here's what that looks like in practice:

  • A reliable point of contact: this is the designated person described above.
  • Setting expectations: within 10 days of submitting a case, a volunteer will have made a good faith effort to resolve the case, unless there are unresolved issues (no point of contact, lack of clear information, etc.) Clients are encouraged to check on their cases by calling Miracle Messages at 1-800-MISS-YOU.
  • Planning ahead: On our intake form, there is a highlighted section that says "how to reach again". This is highlighted for a reason! When you help someone start a Miracle Messages case, please make sure to emphasize that we want to be able to relay results, and that we need a reliable way to reach them.

Q: Can I communicate with Miracle Messages directly?

A: Yes! We try to make ourselves as available as possible to our partners, so that we can answer general questions, relay case-related information, and troubleshoot when necessary.

Here's how to reach us:

  • Call 1-800-MISS-YOU. If no one answers, leave us a message.
  • Email hello@miraclemessages.org
  • Join us for a Case Solving Community Meeting.. The schedule for these phone meetings, and information on how to participate, is posted on our events calendar.

We really want to be in conversation with you about what's working, and what's not. Please don't hesitate to reach out to us!

My organization wants to get started. What do we do?

It starts with that simple question:

Is there anyone that you'd like to reconnect with or send a message to, even if you don't know how to reach them?

When and how to ask this question is up to you, but here are a few suggestions based on our experience:

  • Tell your staff about this resource, and make the intake forms available to staff members. Staff can refer using our paper form, online form, mobile app, or hotline.
  • Add the question to your facility's intake form. If people answer "yes", refer that person to Miracle Messages, using any of the referral tools described below.
  • Display the 1-800-MISS-YOU phone number, so that clients can call us if they would like to reconnect. A few printable assets, including 1-800-MISS-YOU cards and Miracle Messages flyers are below.
What tools should we use to refer cases?

If someone tells you that they would like to reconnect, use the tools below to begin the process.

Miracle Messages has developed three tools to support our work: a paper intake form, a toll-free hotline, and an online referral form. You can learn more about each of these tools below.

What information do we collect?

To start a Miracle Messages case, we will ask for four things:

  1. Information about the CLIENT (name, DOB, background, location, how to reach again)
  2. Information about the LOVED ONE (name, relation, last known locations, other details and hints, other associated names)
  3. Information about the REFERRAL SOURCE/POINT OF CONTACT (name and email)
  4. Information about the MESSAGE (optional video messages, written messages, what the client wants to relay, and whether the client would like information to be publicized)

Miracle Messages tool #1: paper intake form

If you want to help someone start a Miracle Messages case, and you have access to a computer and printer, you can use our paper intake form to collect information:

Miracle Messages intake form side 1: basic information

Important note: we MUST have a way to reach the client again that is reliable. The first thing that our volunteers do when we receive a case it to try to reach out to a point of contact--if we can't reach anyone, we can't pursue the case.

If the client doesn't have a reliable way to get in contact, please make sure to have a plan for how you will relay information from the Miracle Messages team to the client. There is a section for your information (name and email) on the other side of this form).

Miracle Messages intake form side 2: additional information and video recording, and volunteer information.

On the back side of the intake form, please include any notes from the client. In particular, we have found that the names of other relatives/associated people can be really helpful to solve a case.

Once you've collected the information, you can give the client the opportunity to record a message to the loved one. You can see a sample written message at left, and a sample video below.

Once you've completed a paper intake form, you can submit it at miraclemessages.org/refer

You can download a PDF copy of the paper referral below.

Miracle Messages tool #2: 1-800-MISS-YOU

1-800-MISS-YOU (the Miracle Messages hotline) is a quick and direct way for clients, caseworkers, and loved ones to initiate a search. A homeless person (or their representative) will be able to simply call the hotline number, provide some information to the volunteer on call, and give us a callback number to relay information about their case.

If you want to let people know about the Miracle Messages hotline, we've created printable business cards that you can distribute in your community.

Miracle Messages tool # 3: Online referral form

You don’t need to use the paper form—if you prefer, you can input information directly into our online referral form, located on our website at miraclemessages.org/refer.

Miracle Messages tool # 4: Mobile App

If you have an iPhone, you can download our app from the app store!

What happens to submitted cases, and what should I expect after submitting?

Once a case is submitted, it is added to the Miracle Messages database as an "unassigned case".

Each Wednesday evening, new cases are assigned to volunteers, who research the case and reach out to loved ones that week. In the course of working on a case, the volunteer will likely reach out to the client, or the person who submitted the case. If they aren't able to reach either, the volunteer will then attempt to reach the partner point of contact.

Miracle Messages is designed to be a resource for your organization, not an administrative burden. Aside from contacting you with relevant questions and relaying case information, our volunteers will take full responsibility for working on submitted cases.

If no one contacts you to update you about the case status, you/your client are encouraged to contact us at 1-800-MISS-YOU.

I'd like to learn more about Miracle Messages. Where should I go?

Want to get more info? Here are some selected links:

Miracle Messages website, selected links, and contact:

Miracle Messages in the press:

Miracle Messages resources for individual volunteers:

Miracle Messages is a volunteer based organization. If you're interested in seeing how we train our volunteers, check out the links below.


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