Local officials consider idea to help homeless people get ID

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – Homelessness and mental health care are two issues cities across the country are facing.

Sedgwick County officials are working with community faith leaders to address these issues and implement solutions.

One of these solutions can be a local identifier. This type of identification would have fewer requirements to obtain than a state-issued ID and could potentially allow people without a state-issued ID to access city services.

The Justice Together Committee for the Homeless posed a question to city leaders at a Nehemiah meeting on Thursday: How can we remove barriers to access for underserved members of the Wichita community?

Lory Mills, reverend at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church and co-chair of the Justice Together homeless committee, says more people in Wichita need access to ID.

“We take it for granted to have a photo ID, but when you don’t have one, you run into a lot of problems,” said Rev. Lory Mills.

“We want a municipal ID card that would cover all of Sedgwick County, and that would have a lower barrier than a state ID card,” Mills said.

Two years ago, state lawmakers passed a law prohibiting municipalities from creating a local form of ID.

“We need to work with our state partners to say ‘Hey, there’s a legitimate concern, a legitimate barrier to access and how can we create laws and how can we create statutes that can help us overcome this ” said Sedgwick County Commissioner Ryan. Baty.

Supporters say the municipal card would not be considered an official state ID, but could still guarantee some local rights.

“It will take time to really understand what this municipal map will look like and to talk with council members and commissioners about how this can be something that we can all agree on,” the mayor said. Wichita, Lily Wu.