Colorado Legal Services helps homeless Coloradans get ID documents

A Colorado nonprofit is on track to help a record number of people in 2023 who need help obtaining identification documents, according to a Colorado Legal Services monthly report.

Colorado Legal Services provides free legal help to eligible low-income and senior Coloradans. This year, the organization recorded an increase in people across the state seeking vital identification documents often required when securing housing, jobs and other necessities, the organization said.

The CLS ID Project helped 481 people, who mostly identified as being homeless, with their identification needs in the first half of 2023, the organization said. That number puts the organization on track for another record year with 676 cases in all of 2022, 571 in 2021 and 556 in 2020.

“Most of our clients are those who get stuck in a loop, because people need an ID to get most of the documents that are required to get a Colorado ID, so we are able to help break up that logjam for clients as legal representatives,” said Casey Sherman, supervising attorney for Colorado Legal Services’ ID Project. “And many of our clients are experiencing homelessness. Without assistance navigating the system and paying the required fees our clients are often unable to take control of their circumstances.”

Metro Caring, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, CLS and Denver Department of Human Services work together on the ID Project, including helping pay the fees needed for people to obtain their documents. So far, CLS has given out 572 vouchers this year to help with the associated ID costs.

“Many people who ask for help simply cannot afford the cost ($12.67 state ID, $33 state driver’s license, $20 state birth certificate), and others face more difficult obstacles to obtaining an ID, including the need to go to court or secure documents through complicated, out-of-state processes,” a CLS news release said. “The barriers faced by people experiencing homelessness become even more overwhelming when they lack identification.”

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