State money to help people who are homeless obtain IDs in Lane County

Catholic Community Services Lane County holds "ID Day" on the last Thursday of every month. Staff members help clients, many of them homeless, apply for their IDs. Before CCS opens its doors, there are often dozens of people lined up, waiting to enter into the lottery system. Eight to 12 people are randomly selected for their ID services. The rest will often try the following month. (SBG)

EUGENE, Ore. - Many take their driver's license, birth certificate or passport for granted.

But for others, it can be life changing.

Catholic Community Services Lane County holds "ID Day" on the last Thursday of every month.

Staff members help clients, many of them homeless, apply for their IDs. Before CCS opens its doors, there are often dozens of people lined up, waiting to enter into the lottery system.

Eight to 12 people are randomly selected for their ID services. The rest will often try the following month.

"There's a much greater need and that's why there's a waiting list," said Wendy Ames-Dionisio, Director of Development for Catholic Community Services.

Ames-Dionisio said obtaining an ID is critical to survival.

"You get a job you can't drive, you can't go to school, and it's very difficult to enroll in programs for various services," Ames-Dionisio said.

Not having an ID also makes it difficult to obtain health care and housing.

Harvey Lavassaur said he has been homeless for the last six months. He said he was denied housing for not having proof of identification. He describes not having an ID as "miserable."

"I truly believe this is why we have a lot of homeless. Because they can't get places. They have no proof of anything," Lavassaur said. "It hurts. It really hurts."

Dan Quall said he has been homeless since he was a child. "IDs are hard to get here because you've got competition," Quall said.

Oregon State Representative John Lively in Springfield was inspired to help after learning about "ID Day" and the need for identification, said Ames-Dionisio. Lively sponsored House Bill 2402 last spring to establish a grant program for homeless individuals to obtain a free birth certificate. The legislation passed and grant funding, $50,000 from the State Treasurey, will kick in on July 1, 2018.

"Just to get your life started in the right direction, a step forward in life," Quall said. "You know, it's like a baby step. You got to take a step forward. First step: get your ID."

"ID Day" takes place on the last Thursday of every month at Catholic Community Services at both their Springfield and Eugene locations at 9:00 a.m.

CCS serves between 20,000-30,000 people each year between their various programs.

Next month, CCS is partnering with the Springfield Grocery Outlet for the Independence from Hunger campaign. If you donate $5 or more at checkout during the month of July, you'll get a coupon for $5 off your next Grocery Outlet purchase of $25 or more. Every pre-filled bag of groceries worth $5 or more that you purchase for donation is delivered to the CCS Springfield food pantry and distributed to those in need.

To learn more about CCS, you can join their Know Poverty Hour discussion on the first and second Thursday of each month at 5 p.m.

Catholic Community Services of Lane County

1025 G St, Springfield, OR 97477

(541) 345-3628

Catholic Community Services of Lane County

1464 W 6th Ave, Eugene, OR 97402

(541) 345-3628

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