Bob is 56 years old and homeless. He can’t get a permanent job because he can’t meet the requirements of the state where he lives to be able to get a photo ID. Like Bob, thousands of homeless people are denied jobs and benefits due to increased ID restrictions imposed by states in the wake of September 11.
In a survey of 56 service providers in 16 states the percentage of homeless and poor applicants who were denied basic services because they lacked proper identification was staggering. Over half were denied housing or shelter (54%), Food Stamps (53%) and SSI (51%). Nearly one half (45%) were denied medical care.
The need for assistance in obtaining an ID is too great for most service providers. One shelter in a small city in Virginia receives over 15 requests for help with ID every month.1NLCHP Survey 2004
For an average cost of about $60, a homeless person can obtain an ID. We work with service providers and through volunteers to help people replace birth certificates, obtain proof of residency and get their photo ID.
The cost to obtain an ID can range from $10 or $15 to over $250 (to replace a green card). Often replacing an ID is as simple as filling out forms and paying fees. But occasionally there are complications such as finding a way to prove residency.
Making a Difference
Curtis had been out of prison for six months and couldn't find a job. It wasn’t because of his prison record, but because he had no ID. Sixty days after getting his government photo ID, Curtis got a job. In less than a year after that he moved into his apartment and had purchased a car.
Legal immigrants also have problems when they lose their “green card.” Ibrahim had been homeless for nearly a year. He lost his green card and didn’t have the money to replace it. He got a job in a restaurant less than a week after we helped him replace his green card. Within 3 months he had been promoted to shift manager and had his own apartment.
How You Can Help
Stepping Stones is a simple, cost effective way to change the lives of homeless people. By working through volunteers, shelters and other service providers we can minimize the cost of meeting this crucial need.Here is what your donations can provide:
• $240 can replace a “green card.”
• $60 can pay for all costs replacing ID for a US resident
• $30 can replace a birth certificate (includes shipping)
• $15 can pay the fee for state issued photo ID