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South Bend ID program exceeds all expectations and is model for many other cities

As another Westside Wednesday comes around, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and community leaders are coming together to make sure the West Side is a place where business and families thrive.

ABC57 News first told you that South Bend implemented an ID program and we’re learning that program has exceeded all expectations.

The program launched January 3rd and is now expected to produce five times the expected number of ID cards.

“We were thinking maybe 500 ID’s processed in one year. That seemed like a reasonable number for a new program,” says Juan Constantino, the development coordination at La Casa de Amistad. “We weren’t sure how the community was going to react or accept the program…and within the first four months we had over 850 ID’s processed.”

Constantino adds his organization knew identification was a priority in the city, “We have this program because it is a need for this community.”

Because of that need, South Bend residents surprised all working at La Casa when it came down to printing these ID’s.

“I can say that we weren’t entirely prepared for all of that but we made adjustments quickly to handle all that capacity,” says Constantino.

Right before Westside Wednesday kicked off this week, there was a networking lunch. Many there say South Bend is a great example for the whole county.

“We are the central model for the state and even the county, that have been modeling a hybrid program,” explains Constantino.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg agrees, “I’ve presented this to mayors from around the country because they were asking about this program, it’s attracted a lot of interest.”

Mayor Pete, a big advocate for the South Bend ID’s says some perks will also come with obtaining it. “We’re also encouraging local businesses to begin offering discounts for people who present those ID’s.”

Constantino adds these ID’s are a way to make sure every group, not just Latinos, feel included and part of the city.

“Depending how things move forward, we hope to continue the program for the sake of inclusion and diversity in the city of South Bend.”

La Casa de Amistad tells ABC57 they have a meeting set up in Goshen on Thursday, in hopes of starting the same program.


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