Thousands in Palm Beach County suffer for lack of an acceptable form of identification. They need an ID in encounters with law enforcement, to open a bank account, to receive medical more, and more.
In our research, we found model Community ID Programs from throughout the country.
Thousands in Palm Beach County suffer for lack of an acceptable form of identification.
Those in need of an ID are -
- Undocumented residents of our County
- Persons re-entering our community after having served time in Prison / Jail
- And more …
Some of the people above are US Citizens. Can’t they just get a State ID?
Yes, they can. But the process for doing so can often be difficult and time-consuming. The benefit to having a Community ID for US citizens without an ID, is that they can access much needed services more immediately, and the Community ID can be used as a stepping stone to getting a state ID (for example – a bank statement is something that can be used to prove residency for a state ID; a Community ID can be one form of identification used to obtain a bank account).
They need an ID for encounters with Police, to visit someone in the hospital, to open a bank account, to get into a gated community for work, and more.
Our Research & Solution
In our research, we found model Community ID Programs from throughout the country. We were particularly impressed with the Greensboro FaithAction ID Program. Legal Aid Society committed to establish such a program, if provided the funding. At our Nehemiah Action last year, West Palm Beach Mayor Muoio publicly committed to lead a coalition of cities who will get this Program funded, and up and running!
Good to her word, Mayor Muoio spearheaded the city of West Palm Beach passing a resolution by which they will accept the ID, and has allocated $40,000 toward the creation of the Program. While the overall cost of the Program is $75,000, this was enough for Legal Aid to move forward with starting it. A full-time Coordinator was hired, and the first ID Drive took place on Saturday, March 30, 2019 at St. Juliana Catholic Church!
In addition to West Palm Beach, the cities of Lake Worth and Belle Glade have also passed resolutions by which they accept the ID for city services, and encourage its acceptance throughout the city.
What is needed to get an ID?
Acceptable proof of identify and proof of local residence are required to secure an ID. The ID has a photo, date of birth, and local address.
Most Recent Update:
For years, PEACE fought for the creation of a Community ID. In 2019, the Community IDs Program, run by Legal Aid, officially began! Since it’s inception, over 3,000 IDs have been issued. These IDs allow community members to access medical treatment, city services, open bank accounts, and pick their children up from school. While the program has been successful, it has unfortunately run out of funding. In our most recent meeting, Sheriff Bradshaw expressed his interest in this program and finding a way to make this work. This year, we will be working to secure permanent annual funding for the Community IDs Program. This requires meeting with County Commissioners and securing Sheriff Bradshaw’s support.
If you are interested in joining the community ID committee and to get updates on the campaign please contact PEACE's associate organizer Kaeli at
(703)-608-3178 or [email protected]
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT SOL COUTO @ LEGAL AID SOCIETY (561.822.9740)