A local church helps homeless population obtain IDs needed for shelter stays this winter

NOW: A local church helps homeless population obtain IDs needed for shelter stays this winter

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - One local amnesty shelter has opened to help the homeless population stay warm, but to receive shelter, they'll need to prove their identity first.

The Center for the Homeless is seeing more homeless through their doors as the winter chill sets in, housing up to 50 men, 16 women, and 2 families, and offering a roof over their heads, a shower, the opportunity to do laundry and sleep. 

There's even a detox center to help those in need of help get sober.

The newly expanded amnesty center, which opened its doors in November, houses individuals from 8:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m., however, there's a few "barriers" in place before being let in. 

For entry, they will need to be breathalyzed and drug tested and have some form of ID for safety purposes.

"We just want them to come off the streets, there are less barriers to get in, we still need identification to do that," said Steve Camilleri, the Executive Director for the Center for the Homeless. 

Camilleri lists a driver's license, ID, hospital band or a letter with the phone number from another agency to call as forms of identification they can use to offer shelter.

This low barrier lifesaving facility differs from the center's other more long-term programs that aim to get folks back on their feet.

Having a form of identification can be difficult for some of the homeless population, which is why one local church hopes to help.

Broadway Christian Parish says they’ve already seen an increased need this November, feeding 120 folks Monday through Thursday.

Broadway allows 500 people to use their address for mail and identification, in addition to a program assisting the homeless population of St. Joseph County receive IDs for free.

"They have an address to use and that’s here on Broadway,” said Brenda Emmerth, the church’s office manager.

The Center for the Homeless and Broadway Christian Parish are in need of help in the form of donations and volunteers to keep up with the increased need they already have seen this winter season.

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