City Council Funds Program Helping Residents Obtain Personal Identification Documents
Identification Is Vital to Achieving Economic Security but Out of Reach for Too
[COLUMBUS, OH] Tonight, Council passed ordinance 2129-2019
to support the South Side ID Project associated with Community Development for
All People. The Project provides residents with financial assistance and
guidance to obtain personal identification documents such as birth certificates
and state identification cards.
A national study by the Brennan Center for Justice revealed that
among the overall population above age 18, an estimated 11 percent lacks a
valid government-issued photo ID, and seven percent lacks proof of citizenship,
such as a birth certificate. The report also highlighted that the lack of photo
ID is disproportionately high among specific groups across the United States:
percent of African-Americans
percent of senior citizens
percent of those earning less than $35,000 per year, which is twice the
rate of those with higher incomes
In addition to the groups identified in the Brennan report, lack
of identification is also an acute problem for women, whose IDs may not reflect
their current legal name, as well as for vulnerable populations such as
survivors of domestic violence, homeless individuals, and those returning from
"Without ID, it is nearly impossible to access critical
resources such as employment, housing, banking, and education," said
President Pro Tempore Elizabeth Brown.
"We are excited to invest in the knowledge and vision of the resident
leaders behind the South Side ID Project, who saw first-hand the ripple effect
the lack of ID has on their neighbors' lives," she said.
The South Side ID Project is a creation of United Way of Central
Ohio's South Side Neighborhood Leadership Academy, which tasks participants
with diagnosing a problem in their community and taking action. The 2018 cohort
identified access to ID as a critical need in their area and more recently
joined forces with Community Development for All People to expand its reach.
"We wanted to help ensure everyone could participate in
decisions impacting our local community and had access to available resources.
We discovered that a huge barrier for many people was having the proper
documentation required to obtain that access," said 2018 South Side
Academy graduate Lori Fisher. "This program helps eliminate barriers to
acquiring IDs that residents need to vote, to access resources, as well as for
employment," she continued.
Since its launch at the end of 2018, the South Side ID Project
has received 225 applications for assistance pertaining to more than 400
documents. Because proof of place and date of birth is required to enroll in
public school, the number of requests recently skyrocketed as the start of the
school year approaches. Funding from City Council will help the Project reach
hundreds of additional residents and their families.
"We cannot allow financial barriers to obstruct residents'
access to proper ID, which is itself vital to securing economic
prosperity," said Pro Tem Brown. "This common-sense investment will
have a measurable impact on the quality of life of our residents.”
For more information on the South Side ID Project call Atticus
Garden at 614-445-7342 ext. 27 or email [email protected].