Without an ID, you’re invisible. If you’re living on the streets without an ID, the problem is even worse because you can’t get a job, mail, medical care or insurance, access life-saving services or rent a home
“A picture ID is vital for anyone wishing to end their homelessness,” said Rick Mitchell, executive director of Homeless ID Project, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that is Arizona’s only full-time provider of identification replacement services for individuals experiencing homelessness. “Having an ID changes lives. Homelessness is a big messy problem and big messy problems are solved step by step. Homeless ID Project provides the first step.”
To raise awareness and better understand homelessness, Homeless ID Project is launching the 1000 Voices Campaign.
“Homelessness does not have to be ‘just the way it is,’” Mitchell said. “But homelessness will not end until we understand it and we will not understand it unless we talk about it. The 1000 Voices Campaign is designed to engage the broader community in that conversation and talk about homelessness. 1000 people is a lot of voices and 1000 people talking about a topic soon becomes 10,000.”
In addition to generating conversations, the 1000 Voices Campaign will “raise awareness about the Homeless ID Project, what we do and why we do it,” Mitchell said. “And, if that leads to additional support through volunteer hours and increased donations, we can change even more lives than we already do. If 1000 taxpayers use their Arizona Tax Credit – their voice in the government – for the Homeless ID Project, that would provide 100 percent of the annual support we need to issue 10,000 documents aimed at ending homelessness for 10,000 individuals.”
In 2022, Homeless ID Project provided identification replacement documents to more than 12,000 people experiencing homelessness whose IDs were either lost or stolen. IDs were issued in the form of state IDs, replacement driver’s licenses and birth certificates, among others.
The campaign will officially launch on Saturday, April 15 at the Posse Grounds, 12401 N. 7th Street in Phoenix. The event, which includes a free barbecue dinner under the stars and will provide information about the campaign and how to get involved, begins at 5:30. Space is limited. To register, visit A Night Under the Stars at the Posse Grounds (constantcontact.com).
“Some people say solving homelessness is possible. Others say it’s not. Still others say we could use the money spent on supporting homelessness and homeless services to house the homeless,” Mitchell said. “It’s not that easy and homelessness will not end unless we understand how we got to the current situation, and we will not have that understanding until we talk about. 1000 voices in the community engaged in that conversation is a solid start.”
For more information about 1000 Voices Campaign, go here. For more information about the Homeless ID Project, visit www.homelessidproject.org.