Community-based I.D. offers Miami Valley residents access to critical services
Local organizations led a community identification drive this Saturday. The Miami Valley Community ID program helps residents become integrated in their communities, according to non-profit officials.
The community ID is for those that don't have access to a government issued identification cards.
“If they have the I.D. they feel that they are more important. So for self-esteem it’s also good.”
According to Martha Jeannette Rodriguez, a community engagement specialist with Welcome Dayton, any resident in the Miami Valley can apply. This is including people experiencing homelessness, immigrants or refugees.
With their community identification , community members can do things like get a library card or register their child for school.
Rodriguez said it's especially beneficial to immigrant communities in Dayton.
“If they have the I.D. they feel that they are more important. So for self-esteem it’s also good.” Rodriguez said. “It has multiple benefits for the people who have it and will benefit the organizations or agencies that provide services for the community.”
The Miami Valley Community ID is recognized by public agencies in Montgomery, Greene and Preble counties, and by organizations like the Dayton Foodbank and Five Rivers Health Center. It is also accepted by the Dayton Police as a form of identification.
The community ID program is an effort led by the Hall Hunger Initiative, Welcome Dayton, the Westminster Presbyterian Church in downtown Dayton — where the drives are organized — and several other organizations.
The program has been years in the making, organizers said. The first community ID drive was held last Fall.
John Ey, with Westminster Church, said the program took a while to develop. He said it takes time to meet with organizations and ask them to recognize the ID as valid.
“It's been a long, slow process,” Ey said. “But at the end of the day, these folks are in our community, they're working and we should acknowledge that with some form of identification that will be recognized in the greater community.”
Rodriguez said the community-based ID is not a state government issued ID, and it can’t be used as a driver’s license. Still, she said for many, it provides a sense of security and belonging.
Alejandro Figueroa is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Support for WYSO's reporting on food and food insecurity in the Miami Valley comes from the CareSource Foundation.
FEBRUARY 22 - This story has been revised to reflect the following correction: Due to an editing error, a previous version of this story stated that residents could apply for WIC benefits with a Miami Valley Community ID card. However, the Department of Health—which oversees the WIC program— has yet to sign an agreement to accept the community-based ID.