By MorinvilleNews.com Staff
Edmonton – Alberta’s homeless will now be able to obtain government-issued identification cards, allowing them access to services and programs. The initiative, unveiled by the province Thursday, addresses two of the biggest barriers homeless people face when trying to obtain personal identification: verifying identity and having an address.
The new process allows provincially funded homeless shelters and homeless-serving agencies to be used as the homeless person’s proof of legal Alberta residency.
“Having official identification empowers individuals,” said Jonathan Denis, Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs in a release Thursday afternoon. “It removes barriers to getting a job, an apartment and a bank account. It can also help people access the services and programs they need to get off the street and become independent.”
The initiative will also provide help to obtain documentation to certify an individual’s identity, and provide assistance to individuals so they can obtain identification through an Alberta registry agency office.
Boyle Street Community Services, Hope Mission and Accu-Search Inc. participated in a pilot program in Edmonton this summer and training for government-funded shelters and other homeless-serving agencies will begin this fall. Once a shelter or agency receives the training, it may provide the service to homeless individuals.
“The work being done by our community partners to provide identification is incredibly valuable,” said Susan McGee, Executive Director of Homeward Trust Edmonton. “Ending homelessness involves more than giving someone a roof over their head; this addresses one of the most underappreciated challenges in helping people get back on their feet.”
The card issued to the homeless is the same card currently available to all Albertans who do not have a driver’s licence. Obtaining the identification card is up to the individual.
For more information on the province’s 10-year strategy to end homelessness, visit www.housing.alberta.ca.