Wings Homeless Advocacy to Take New Steps in Vital Documents Program
March 13, 2019
Santa Cruz, CA —This week Wings Homeless Advocacy expanded their Vital Documents Program to include in-house storage for those who do not otherwise have a safe and consistent place to store important personal identification documents. For those experiencing homelessness, this expansion increases accessibility to ID documents, a vital step towards accessing services and gaining housing and employment.
The new document storage service comes as a part of Wings’ continued expansion of the Vital Documents Program. Through this program Wings volunteers meet one-on-one with clients who have asked for assistance in obtaining a copy of their birth certificate or other ID and help them to fill out the necessary forms. After Wings receives the document from the state, it is delivered to the client or put in document storage for them to pick up when they need it to apply for services. The ability to store paperwork for clients means that Wings is able to provide a secure and stable place for people to access their documents when they need them while they are living on the street, where personal items are regularly stolen. Wings is also in the process of sponsoring volunteers to become licensed notaries so that the organization can provide for their clients through every step and in any stage of the vital document process.
Though it may seem small, obtaining identification records is “one of the most pivotal needs of people trying to escape homelessness,” says Peggy Benedum, Executive Director of Wings Homeless Advocacy. Many of those experiencing homelessness have lost their birth certificate and any other legal form of identification, which means they cannot access emergency services or other assistance programs for which they qualify, including housing vouchers. Not having identification also presents yet another barrier to employment for many. Obtaining legal identification documents is essential to beginning the process of acquiring housing and stability.
Wings is able to cover the cost of vital documents for clients thanks to the generous donations of the Santa Cruz community and all those who support Wings’ mission of ending chronic homelessness in Santa Cruz County. Wings is growing rapidly, and the expansion of the Vital Documents Program is just one example of the way the organization is continuing to work to serve the homeless community through practical, everyday acts of service. To find out more about how to become a Wings donor or volunteer and help lift people out of homelessness and into healing, visit wingsadvocacy.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out this article about Wings in the Santa Cruz Sentinel!
"SANTA CRUZ >> In the storage room of a homeless advocacy nonprofit, baby blue washing tubs of new-home supplies are crammed with practical things such as coffee cups, toilet plungers and paper towels. One item stands out: the potted spider plants.The Felton-based Wings Homeless Advocacy recruits community members to serve as volunteer advocates for those moving out of homelessness.
“To me, it has a message: ‘We believe you’re going to stay here. We believe that you’re successful and that you’re going to stay here and here’s a plant for you to take care of,’” said Peggy Benedum, standing amidst the neatly shelved supplies."
"For 10 years, 72-year-old Ernest Keller was homeless. A few of those years, he was able to crash at people’s homes, but for most of them, he was living in his own 'cardboard castle,' as he puts it.
...Shortly after being housed, Keller received a call from Wings Homeless Advocacy. Volunteers brought him a brand new bed, among other things, including a welcome basket, with basic home supplies like a toothbrush, toilet paper and a plunger. They asked Keller what else he needed, and he told them: a dresser, a dining room table and some chairs, all of which they took care of getting for him.
'I felt like, ‘Gee, I’m starting to feel like I have a home,’' Keller says. 'I feel like I won the lotto. I feel like I got a brand-new life, even though I’m 72.'"
Read the full article here.