Gil just received his new Alberta Government ID. He says, “This is the best Monday in a long time.”
Gil hasn’t had ID for over a year. He was also out of work and staying at The Mustard Seed’s shelter.
Receiving his new ID is just one more step along his journey. Gil now has a place to stay, a full time job as a painter and he will use his new ID so he can deposit his paycheques in his bank account.
A lack of ID plays a significant role in the cycle of homelessness.
Dianne, an advocate at The Mustard Seed, spends a lot of her time helping guests like Gil apply for new ID. Many of our guests and clients don’t have ID. It gets lost or stolen, and they in some ways they become a “nobody”.
Dianne says, “Having a piece of ID enables guests to break the cycle of poverty. It gives them an identity and a voice in society.”
- You cannot open a bank account.
- You often cannot get a job.
- You cannot easily access healthcare.
- You cannot access many government services.
- Frequently, you cannot rent an apartment.
The Mustard Seed’s ID program helps clients obtain new ID.
Our advocates are able to authorize the use of The Mustard Seed’s address as an address for people experiencing homelessness. They can also legally certify an applicant’s identity.
Each month The Mustard Seed’s ID program is able to assist at least 30 people in getting a new ID. We would like to do more, however, it’s expensive. On average, it costs about $60 per person to pay for the fees associated with issuing everything from new birth certificates to government photo ID.
Gil says his new ID is more than a card with his picture on it and access to services. He says it is “confidence, just to know I have it.”