Identification, or “ID” as it’s known, is one of the basics we all need in life, to confirm we are who we say we are.

Without ID, anything from cashing a cheque to renting an apartment becomes almost impossible.

And that’s why the Greater Victoria Public Library and Our Place host ID Clinics twice a month.

Shayli Robinson is the coordinator of the Victoria ID Project.

“We have clinics twice a month,” says Robinson, “from October through March.

“We have [UVic Faculty of Law] student volunteers and a supervising lawyer who donate their time, and we come either to the library or to Our Place Society on Pandora, and we help people get their ID.”

Alysen Cameron, registered for the ID clinic, says “it is a very good idea because those of us who are low income, be we working poor, Persons with Disabilities, whatever, we need our ID.  It’s required for everything.  So I’m glad that they’re here and they made it available.”

Another gentleman registered for the clinic agrees.

“I think it’s a great program. I mean, you know, you can’t really do anything without ID, so, and I’m kinda in an ID situation right now, so I’m just trying to get everything up to par.”

The ID Project is a partnership between the Central Branch of the Greater Victoria Public Library, MLA Carole James’ office, and the University of Victoria’s law students.

“We’re seeing a lot of people who are really vulnerable,” says Robinson, “especially folks who are street entrenched, having barriers to accessing ID — one of those barriers being funds.

“The first step is always connecting, to see what it is they actually do need, because some people think they don’t have any ID but they actually do have ID that will help them.”

“That can be anything from a bank card with your signature on it, to a non-photo card, a student ID, a work ID that has your photo and name on it…but if they don’t have anything like that then we start from the beginning.  And typically that means a birth certificate” Robinson explains.

“On average,” says Devon Tatton from the Greater Victoria Public Library, “we see about 25 people for registered spots, and then we have about an hour of drop-in space as well available after that, so sometimes up to 30 or 40 people.

“It’s one of the basics that you need in life” Tatton adds, “and for us to be able to help them with that, it’s a really great feeling, and I’m really glad the library can help with that.”

 

Veronica Cooper