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IDignity Founder Michael Dippy On The Challenge Of Getting ID For The Homeless

Photo: IDignity
Photo: IDignity

A driver's license or a state I.D. may seem like simple thing to acquire, but it's not. It requires a number of documents that many of us have tucked away safely at home. However, if you are homeless, you may not have those documents and it is difficult to get them.

Michael Dippy created IDignity eight years ago to help the homeless in Central Florida obtain personal identification like birth certificates, social security cards, and ID cards. Dippy said meeting a homeless man with a check worth more than his rent in his pocket was the eye opener to this issue.

"He reached in his back pocket and pulled out a crumbled wad of paper and opened it up. It was a $880 check for social security disability that he couldn't check because he couldn't cash because he doesn't have identification," said Dippy.

The Real ID Act was enacted in Florida in 2010, which requires state driver's license and ID cards meet federal standards and its aim is to prevent terrorism and theft.

"You need to protect the integrity of identification," said Dippy. "So, these barriers must be hard or else there is really no value to have identification if you can just walk in and say, 'Hey, My name is Michael.' You need to be able to prove it."

However, Dippy said there is a subset of our society that doesn't have the skills to get over these barriers. He said we can't and shouldn't lower those barriers, but there needs to be an organization that helps them overcome these barriers.

Michael Dippy hopes IDignity will continue to grow in the future.

For more information about IDignity, call 321 445 1900

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