What do getting a job, renting an apartment, buying a car, and opening a bank account have in common?
These stepping stones to self-sufficiency all require some form of identification to obtain them. In fact, having some form of “government issued” ID is critical in today’s world. Without it, there are many places and services one cannot access. In particular, those who are homeless or underprivileged are not able to access job services, many shelter resources, food stamp and social service programs, etc., unless they can prove who they are.
Those of us who have their birth certificate, social security card, driver’s license and such are able to prove who we are; and often don’t give this issue much thought. We can use one or more of these articles when applying for another document or service. But suppose you didn’t have these items…or you didn’t know how to go about getting them?
Obtaining identification is especially challenging for homeless individuals, who have few places to store important papers and limited resources. Needless to say, that alone can be a hurdle that can hinder them from moving out of their current situations.
That’s why we are excited to tell you about IDignity. This super program helps disadvantaged Central Floridians acquire the identification they need to access necessary community and government resources on their journey to independence. IDignity founders understood the importance of having valid identification and created a simple way for these individuals to obtain it. With the participation of the necessary government agencies, IDignity sponsors monthly events at the Orlando Union Rescue Mission as well as in Sanford and Deland.
At these events, individuals are able to apply for Florida ID cards, birth certificates and social security cards. In addition to obtaining their identification, clients also have the opportunity to seek services from the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs and legal counsel. Due to a limited capacity, the events are first come, first served, yet IDignity volunteers and staff members serve about 225 clients at each event.
We at the Coalition are appreciative of this service, which helps our clients and others as they work toward self-sufficiency. After all, our goal is to assist homeless men, women and families with children in attaining independent lives; and we can’t do what we do without our community partners.