Portland police are working to help people living on the streets to obtain identification so that they can file paperwork to access services and find housing.
The limited pilot project with Cascadia Behavioral Health and the Department of Motor Vehicles started in January. It was partially modeled off of Houston's Homeless Outreach Team, which helps people get IDs and then find mental health services, jobs, and housing.
Sgt. Shaun Sahli, who leads the central precinct's neighborhood response team, says his officers and community partners had noticed that a lack of IDs were delaying people's access to services and housing governed in part by federal regulations from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
"It's a big hurdle," Sahli says. "They don't have their IDs and they have to go through the process of getting an ID before they can do any HUD paperwork to get into services [or housing]."
Although the project is limited in scope as officers refine the process, Sahli says Portland police help people get IDs by confirming their identity and helping them fill out the forms they need to get a temporary ID from the DMV. Portland police can help people whether they have previously had an Oregon ID or not.
So far, PPB has helped about a dozen people get new identification.
Sahli says the goal is to eventually expand the program after officers "work out a couple of bugs in the system."