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Intersection: “This Is A Solvable Problem”- IDignity Helps The Homeless Get ID


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Photo: IDignity

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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.

IDignity started in 2008 to help the homeless in Central Florida obtain personal identification like birth certificates, social security cards, and ID cards. Executive director Michael Dippy said meeting a homeless man with a check worth more than his rent in his pocket was the eye opener for him.

“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 it shouldn’t be too easy to get ID, to protect the integrity of identification, but there needs to be an organization to help the homeless get the ID they need.

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

For more information about IDignity, call 321 445 1900

This interview first aired on 90.7 in 2016


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Matthew Peddie

About Matthew Peddie

Host of WMFE's Intersection & Assistant News Director

A recent transplant to the Sunshine State, Matthew Peddie grew up in New Zealand and studied journalism at the University of Western Ontario. After graduating with an MA in Journalism he returned to Christchurch, working as a reporter for Radio Live and Radio New Zealand. He’s reported live from the scene of ... Read Full Bio »

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