My View: Getting an ID can uplift a homeless person. Lending your voice can lift them higher

A new initiative called "1000 Voices" encourages Valley citizens to help an Arizona nonprofit that helps homeless people replace lost IDs extend its reach.

My View: Getting an ID can uplift a homeless person. Lending your voice can lift them higher

How does homelessness appear? Imagine a person who is homeless. My image is of an old man with gray beard sitting on the curb. Sometimes he holds a sign and sometimes he doesn't. Consider that the majority of homeless people in Arizona come from families with children, and 75% of them will no longer be homeless within a year.

As hard as it is to believe, people who are homeless are like you and I. They are someone's brother, sister, mother or grandmother.

Unsheltered, they struggle to survive in the streets and alleyways. Many others live in shelters, respite centres, hotels, cars, or "surf from couch to couch".

The people who live on the street without IDs are invisible. They can't access vital services, such as medical care, insurance or jobs, without a picture ID issued by the state. They are stuck without an ID.

26 million adults in the United States do not possess a picture ID that is accepted by federal law. How many are homeless, or would be if they were asked to prove their identities?

Some people lose their IDs or have them confiscated, while others are homeless. Some people become homeless due to a lack of ID. Children leaving foster care or individuals leaving jail or prison. Fleeing domestic violence, trafficking or a situation of abuse. Evictions can be messy, and items get lost.

A picture ID can help someone end homelessness.

Homeless ID Project will provide identification replacement documents in 2022 to over 12,000 homeless people whose IDs have been lost or stolen. These replacement documents include state IDs, replacement driver's licences, and birth certificates. Many of these people were able to regain control of their lives after obtaining an ID.

Join the conversation on homelessness

Without an ID, nothing will happen. The first step is to get an ID.

Homelessness doesn't have to be "just the way it's done." We will never end homelessness until we fully understand the issue.

Homeless ID Project launched the 1000 Voices Campaign in order to stimulate and leverage this understanding. The campaign aims to engage the community at large in the discussion about homelessness.

One thousand voices can be a lot, and when 1,000 people are talking about the same topic as homelessness, it quickly becomes 10,000 voices. Ten thousand voices could make a big noise and lead to a meaningful change in the system.

Others say it's not possible. Some people say yes, others no. Others say that we should use the money spent on homeless services for housing.

It's really not that simple. It's not that easy.

It's a good start, but it is only the beginning of a solution to a problem that will take a while.

Sign up on the 1000 Voices site. You can help us find new ways to get involved and help out.

Join the conversation. Let's have a conversation about it.