Pilot program to help the homeless get state IDs

We’ve all been there, waiting in line for hours at the secretary of state’s office.

But what if you wait for hours – only to be told you need a valid birth certificate, and permanent address – but you have no way to prove who you are.

The state has launched a pilot program in, among others, Genesee county, to help people who are homeless people get an ID.

The Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness says over half of the homeless population has no form of identification.

ID’s are needed to receive state benefits, housing and even a job.

Jason Weller is with the state coalition.

“The cycle that seems to happen most frequently, they go to the county clerk’s office to obtain a birth certificate, and that county clerk’s office says well in order to obtain that you need to have proof of identity, so you need go to the secretary of state, so they go to the secretary of state, and they say well in order to get an ID you need to have a birth certificate.”

He said most people going through the process have to take more than two trips to the secretary of state or county clerk to get the necessary information.

“With the pilot communities, they’ve set up these processes, they’ve shortened and condensed the documents that folks need when they come in, and are making it easier for people who are experiencing homelessness to obtain ID’s from them.”