Long Battle WON to Make State IDs Accessible
State IDs will be free after March 28 for people who are homeless, thanks to the efforts of the State ID Taskforce co-chaired by Debra Hendren, our director of Community Programs and Outreach, and Elizabeth Kelly, executive director of HOPE. A State ID allows someone to connect with resources, services and programs to resolve not only a homeless situation, but also to work toward long-term self-sufficiency. Elizabeth was interviewed by Cynthia Canty on her hashtag#MichiganRadio Stateside program explaining the new state law passed during the lame duck session. The interview is available here: https://bit.ly/2HHIeAX.
HOPE helps shelter guests acquire the necessary documentation to apply for housing assistance. It is difficult sometimes to access this identity documentation when you are carrying everything you own in a backpack, many of our guests to not have their vital identity documents. Photo Identification, Birth certificate, and Social Security card are the three documents that are required for many of the paths out of homelessness. These vital documents are needed to enroll in housing programs, and their acquisition can often be a barrier for our guests.
HOPE participates in the Oakland County ID Taskforce, a committee of the Homeless Healthcare Collaboration, to help alleviate the barriers the homeless community face in obtaining identity documents.
If you are interested in more information regarding the issues related to obtaining identification in Michigan please click here to hear an interview HOPE's Executive Director, Elizabeth Kelly did with Michigan Radio.
Oakland County ID Taskforce
The Oakland County ID Taskforce was formed as a subcommittee of the Oakland County Homeless Healthcare Collaboration as a response to barriers to securing vital documents such as state ID, birth certificates and social security cards encountered by those who are homeless. In addition to human service agencies, other members include: Michigan State Housing Authority (MSHDA), Michigan Secretary of State, the Center for Civil Justice, the Veteran's Administration, Social Security Administration and the Oakland County Health Division.
For more information on the ID Taskforce and their work please contact:
Community Housing Network
Director of Community Programs and Outreach
The Oakland County Clerk, Lisa Brown, and the Oakland County Board of Commission responded to this need by allowing human service agencies to reduce the amount of the fee for Oakland County birth certificates all the way down to zero, as appropriate, for those individuals who have no or low income.
The proof documentation to secure a state ID is extensive and not readily accessible for those who are homeless. The Oakland County Taskforce has been meeting monthly with the Michigan Secretary of State to clarify necessary documents to secure a state ID. The task force is also seeking a fee waiver for state ID for those who have no income. Currently, state law permits a full fee waiver for those receiving cash assistance or disability, senior citizens and those trading a driver's license for a state ID. A pilot program is being conducted at select Secretary of State sites in Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties.