Photo Identification Barriers Faced by Homeless Persons
The Impact of September 11
Photo identification is a necessity in daily life. However,
many homeless individuals lack photo identification because of the barriers in
obtaining it and the difficulty in keeping it while being homeless. These
problems were exacerbated in the heightened security after September
11, 2001. Without photo identification, homeless peeople have
difficulty accessing the benefits and services they need and often face
increased problems with law enforcement.
This report cites numerous examples of individuals denied
food stamps, birth certificates, or medical care because of lack of photo
identification. In addition, the report recommends that local, state, and
federal agencies ensure that, as they safeguard security, they are not creating
unreasonable barriers in obtaining identification for homeless people.
Federal agencies should also ensure that state and local
officer are not denying benefits to homeless people based on a lack of
identification. States should provide an
alternative to a residency requirement for people who are homeless, allow
reasonable alternatives to identification documents, and waive fees for
identification cards for homeless people.