Homeless people in Toronto now have safe storage for their identification

Toronto, June 11, 2003 – Street Health Community Nursing Foundation, a community agency that has helped homeless clients replace lost or stolen identification for the past 14 years, has launched the ID Safe program to provide safe storage of identification documents and cards. The Government of Canada, through the National Homelessness Initiative (NHI), has provided a total of $167,895 in funding for this project, to be administered by the City of Toronto. The Honourable Bill Graham, Minister of Foreign Affairs, made the announcement on behalf of the Honourable Claudette Bradshaw, Minister of Labour and Federal Coordinator on Homelessness.

“Without identification, survival is difficult and getting off the street and on with one’s life is nearly impossible,’ said Project Co-ordinator Jane Kali. “ID Safe gives homeless people a place to store and access their identification.”

Without proper ID, homeless people may have trouble accessing many essential services, particularly health care. Through the NHI, Street Health Community Nursing Foundation received $52,895 for initial research and an additional $115,000 for renewal of the project. This project will enable Street Health to provide storage that is secure, private and easily accessible. ID Safe is located at 2 Homewood Avenue, near Carlton and Jarvis Streets. Already, the program has made over 1,000 referrals, of which 612 were for identification. The ID safe currently stores identification for 33 people.

“This program provides an invaluable service to homeless people in Toronto,” said Minister Graham. “The Government of Canada is proud to partner with Street Health to improve accessibility to services and supports for all Canadians.”

“With the launch of Street Health’s ID Safe, some of Toronto’s most vulnerable people now have a secure place to protect their personal documents,” said Councillor Kyle Rae (Ward 27, Toronto Centre-Rosedale). “By having a physical location and process for homeless people to store their identification, one more barrier has been removed.”

Street Health Community Nursing Foundation is responsible for the Access to Health Cards for the Homeless Project, and is one of the lead agencies for the Partners for Access and Identification (PAID) Project offering ID clinics throughout Toronto.

The Government of Canada launched the National Homelessness Initiative in December 1999 to support communities’ efforts to help Canadians out of homelessness. Building on the successes achieved by communities, the February 2003 federal Budget announced $405 million for three years to continue its commitment to addressing homelessness in Canada.

The Government of Canada’s homelessness initiative is making a difference in addressing homelessness by encouraging the development of local solutions to help alleviate it. Funding for the Initiative was provided for in the February 2003 federal Budget.

For more information on the Government of Canada’s National Homelessness Initiative, visit http://www.homelessness.gc.ca.