In the United States, we require identification for everything from getting a job, to obtaining housing or services, picking up prescriptions, even entering many buildings. This requirement becomes extraordinarily burdensome for minors experiencing homelessness, often on their own. Many states have requirements for obtaining government issued identification including costly fees, parental consent/signatures, and proof of residency. All of these requirements create significant barriers for youth who may not have access to any of these forms of documentation when the need for ID arises. To further complicate things, obtaining these forms of documentation creates additional challenges which are difficult to navigate, even with mentors or advocates helping.
This resource page and its tools were created with service providers and the youth they serve in mind. Here, you will find a Summary, Field Guide and Appendix.
The Summary provides an overview of the issues facing minors attempting to obtain ID while experiencing homelessness. It also includes recommended language state or local advocates can use as model policy language, based on existing language that has proven successful. It is a great tool to reference when changing state laws or regulations.
The Field Guide is intended to be a toolkit for service providers to be able to have a state-by-state look at what is required in their state for obtaining not only ID, but also proof of Social Security numbers, and Birth Certificates. This guide is filtered for the documents most likely to be accessible to minors experiencing homelessness, but can be used for young adults as well.
Finally, the Appendix is the unabridged listing of all documents accepted in any respective state and includes documents young adults are much more likely to have access to.