COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A new system of identification for Columbus' homeless population to help make resources more available to them will soon be available.
A community connection card will make it easier for the homeless population to visit shelters and obtain the services needed.
“The biggest barrier that a homeless person runs into is identification,” said Muscogee County Jail Chaplin Neil Richardson.
Oftentimes, the homeless population does not have means of identification prohibiting people from certain shelters and community resources.
Richardson works with several shelters and helped spearhead the idea.
He says this helps organizations like Safe House Ministries, United Way and Open Door stay on top of their needs.
“Additionally, we, as the agencies that are working with this, will have stronger data," said Richardson. "We will have the ability to know for sure who we’re helping, how much we’re helping, and we will be able to predict trends.”
Instead of having a sign-up sheet, people can just swipe their card at door, the kitchen, or clothing rooms, depending on how each agency chooses to utilize the cards.
For those trying to get off the street, a card like this could help them get things like a state ID or birth certificate.
“We’ve actually had situations where somebody got out of jail homeless and they had to go to the police department to try to get the letter and then you need ID and now you got to get out to Schatulga road and walk the rest of the way to the DMV in order to get into a shelter tonight,” said Richardson.
Volunteers with the United Way are getting ready to go out and count the number of homeless with their annual Point-In-Time count hoping to find homes for good.
Richardson says he hopes to start printing the community connection cards by the end of the week just in time for Point-In-Time count.