Whether it's because they lack documentation, can't afford the fee, or fail a diver's test, many in Detroit don't have a driver's license. At minimum, it's an enormous inconvenience. People without a license can't access basic services like opening a bank account, getting a library card, or becoming a member of their local recreation center.
Fortunately, the city of Detroit will soon alleviate some of the challenges associated with not having a driver's license by offering municipal identification cards. These IDs, while not a replacement for a driver's license, are an important step to improving access to all of Detroit's residents.
"This card will help the homeless, undocumented, returning citizens and senior citizens obtain access to services and is a step forward to enabling integration for all of these communities," said Office of Immigrant Affairs director Fayrouz Saad by email. Saad will also administer the program. "All too often do these communities face challenges in day to day activities simply because they don't have an ID."
The legislation was introduced by council member Castañeda-López and passed by the city council with a vote of 7 to 0.
The city hopes to begin issuing IDs in late summer and have it fully operational by 2017, according to Saad. Residents will have many options for proving their identity, from veteran cards to lease agreements, and more. The IDs will be valid for two years and cost no more than $25.
The city also hopes to obtain support from "community partners, foundations, banks, museums, City departments, law enforcement and other institutions to ensure the card is widely accepted and offers different benefits."