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No ID, No Job; The Ministry Working to Give DC's Homeless A Second Chance

No ID, No Job; The Ministry Working to Give DC's Homeless A Second Chance Read Transcript

AMBER C. STRONG: In the heart of Washington,

DC, one of the nation's most prosperous cities,

lies a deep secret.

While tourists see the Washington Monument

and the Lincoln Memorial, what they may not see

are the nearly 8,000 homeless men and women sleeping

on the streets and in shelters.

The good news, dozens of churches and social programs

are working to change that statistic.

And while some of the problems with chronic homelessness

are obvious, a unique ministry in the heart of the district

is tackling an issue most wouldn't think twice about.

A driver's license or a state ID can open up the door

to possibility.

Try losing one of these, and you'll watch those same doors

slam close.

So our whole system in this country

is based on being able to be tracked and prove

who you are even more so since 2001 with the 9/11 attacks.

And so at this point, you can't really do anything

if you don't have an ID.

AMBER C. STRONG: That's where Foundry United Methodist steps


A team of volunteers led by Pastor Ben Roberts,

are working to give the city's homeless

a new ID and a fresh start.

And the main things that we see

is that people are prevented from obtaining employment,

jobs, and education, and then housing as well.

When you have a ministry focused on unhoused individuals,

you want to get them into stable housing.

You want to get them into affordable housing,

but they can't do that unless they

have ID that they can produce.

AMBER C. STRONG: Roberts says there are a variety of reasons

people end up without an ID.

And they probably got there either because they

were robbed, they were living on the street,

and somebody came and attacked them, took their belongings.

It could be that they lost their items,

or their items got soaking wet when they're out

sleeping in the rain.

AMBER C. STRONG: But obtaining new identification

isn't as easy as you think.

So you come in.

You have nothing, no birth certificate, no social security

card, and no ID.

We kind of call that the trinity is what we're getting at.

And when somebody comes with nothing,

we have to start with a medical record,

and we start there because it's the only thing that we've

seen that works in terms of helping somebody

get their social security card.

AMBER C. STRONG: From there, like a network of detectives,

the team at Foundry track down the necessary info,

make the phone calls, file the paperwork,

even foot the bill that comes along

with helping the clients prove their identity.

The process can take anywhere from three weeks to more than a


According to Roberts, besides a few grants

the ministry has been completely funded

by members of the Church.

Cleveland Thompson is proof the mission works.

He says Foundry helped him get his ID,

provided him with clothing, and even

gave him counseling for spiritual needs along the way.

So they told me, as they was helping,

he said, you need anything?

Stuff like that.

Here's my card.

Give me a call and stuff like that.

I'll come by anytime.

Come to our church service, which that helped out too

because I was that at that time of my frame of mind

was like a little lonely.

AMBER C. STRONG: He says now he has

a new car, an apartment, and a job working for the government.

And he's spreading the message about the program too.

Just brought my cousin down.

I didn't need anything today, so I was telling him about it.

So this is his first time going through this, so I told him.

I said, this is a place to go and just

go whenever you need something, stuff like that.

AMBER C. STRONG: So now you're helping other people?

Helping other people, supposed to.

AMBER C. STRONG: Robert says that's exactly

the point of the ministry, to spread love

to their neighbors, both seen and unseen.

Amber C. Strong, CBN News, in our nation's capital.


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