Michigan: Homeless groups say clients struggle for IDs | Detroit Free Press
Too many homeless people in Michigan are blocked from improving their lives by unreasonable requirements to have state identification cards, according to representatives of metro Detroit agencies who met Friday at a conference in Waterford. “This has been a growing problem for years and it’s reached a crisis point,” said Elizabeth Kelly, executive director of the Hope Hospitality and Warming Center, a homeless shelter in Pontiac. Homeless people rarely possess driver’s licenses, so most depend on ID cards issued by Secretary of State offices. But to get the state ID card demands unreasonable proof of identity, said Kelly and others at the Homeless Healthcare Collaboration conference. They said rules were tightening at Social Security offices too, and that’s keeping some homeless people from accessing the services they need. “You have people going to the Secretary of State and being told they have to have a Social Security card, and so they go to a Social Security office and they’re told they have to have a state ID card — it’s a classic case of Catch-22,” University of Michigan social research professor Gregory Markus told the audience.