Advocates for the homeless say getting a state identification card is much too complicated. There are many people who are homeless and are in need. They want to get their lives together, but need legal ID. Without it, they can't get a job, medical help, or housing.
But there can be many obstacles to overcome in order to get a state ID: You need a birth certificate, Social Security card, high school transcripts, a lease, or other documents that most homeless people just don’t have.
Elizabeth Kelly, executive director of Hope Hospitality and Warming Center in Pontiac, and Greg Markus, the founding organizer of the Detroit Action and Commonwealth, discussed the issue on Stateside.
Kelly says one of the issues homeless people face is that some documents, such as Bridge cards – a state-issued benefits card – or IDs issued by homeless shelters, aren't accepted by the Michigan Secretary of State as proof of identification.
Greg Markus said the state needs to be more sensitive to the problems of the homeless.
Markus says the Secretary of State will now, after a long battle and lawsuit, accept proof of income during the application process, but he adds this will still exclude those who have no income.
Kelly said the hurdles are keeping many homeless permanently, and forces some to panhandle or other pursuits in order to provide for themselves.
“How we handle and take care of those in need defines us,” Kelly said. “As a society, this is something that cannot be tolerated.”
Last summer, I told you about Coach Mac, my little league baseball coach who believed in me, and helped me rise from the team’s worst player to become the team’s captain in one season.
I didn’t know where my old coach was, but after the story aired, I received a thank you letter from Coach Mac himself. This week, Coach Mack passed away.
The summer before Mac McKenzie became our little league baseball coach, I spent the season picking dandelions in right field, and batting last. But just weeks after Coach Mac took over, I rose to starting catcher, lead-off hitter, and team captain.
It's called "Mission A2" – short for Michigan Itinerant Shelter System Interdependent Out of Necessity. This Ann Arbor-based nonprofit is dedicated to building links between homeless and what it calls "homeful" Washtenaw County residents. One of its key activities has been running a series of rotating tent cities for the homeless.
But now, Mission A2 is taking things to a new level. They're partnering to buy land and build a permanent settlement called Homeward Bound, a place for Ann Arbor's homeless to begin the process of rebuilding confidence and their lives.
Eighteen-year-old sculptor Austen Brantley makes some pretty impressive art. But don't take our word for it, check out these photos of Austen's work, at the Michigan Radio Picture Project.
Professionals in the art world agree. "It's just amazing to see the amount of talent that he has at 18 years old. He’s right up there with some of his peers that are in their 30s and 40s," says Garnette Archer, owner of Jo’s Gallery in Detroit.