More than 1,500 Fort Wayne residents request Community ID Cards

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — More than 1,500 residents have contacted Catholic Charities, expressing interest in obtaining a Fort Wayne Community ID Card since the program was announced about a month ago.

“We knew that there was going to be a lot of interest. We just weren’t sure how many people would show up right away,” said Nicole Kurut, the Mission Advancement Manager at Catholic Charities. “The interest indicates how much these cards are needed.”

Fort Wayne Mayor, Tom Henry, signed the Community ID card program in a mayoral executive order on Oct. 14. The program’s goal is to help members of the community, who otherwise couldn’t, access city services. Some of those services include the being able to get a library card at the Allen County Public Library or needing a form of identification to pick up your children from school, according to Kurut.

Catholic Charities is serving as the fiscal agent and issuer of the cards.

Mayor Henry posted an Instagram photo with his Community ID Card on Tuesday.

Kurut said many residents are still confused about the card’s purpose. To better explain it, she used the analogy of being on a college campus and getting a college ID.

“These are much more like a college ID than a driver’s license because you can only use these IDs within the city limits of Fort Wayne to access services,” said Kurut. “So, just like if you’re on a college campus, [the ID] gives you a form of ID to say you’re a student that you belong there and then you’re able to access specific services just at the college and this is really what that identification is also for now.”

The IDs cannot be used to drive, vote or board a plane. It’s up to each individual establishment to decide if they are going to accept the cards as a valid form of ID.

So far, about 500 cards have already been distributed in Fort Wayne. Kurut said she expects this number to grow much higher because Catholic Charities in South Bend launched the same program in 2016 and has issued more than 6,000 ID’s since.

“If we suddenly just threw out our driver’s license and no longer had a form of it of identification? What would we do?” said Kurut. “There’s so many people in our community that face this struggle every single day. So, we need to make sure every person in the community has a way to identify themselves for their own personal safety and safety.”

To inform the community about the use of the cards, Kurut said Catholic Charities has been talking with “a lot” of different groups.

“So, they are well informed on what goes into these IDs,” said Kurut. “I know we have a lot of grocery stores and gas stations call us for more information to figure out if this is something that they are able to accept… Like all new things, it takes time and a lot of questions to work out all the particular details, but so far, they’ve been really well received by a lot of organizations and businesses in town.”

Anyone seeking a card needs to call and make an appointment to get one. Walk-ins are not welcome. Kurut said if Catholic Charities doesn’t answer, to leave a message.

“There’s some people that have been a little frustrated because it’s taking a little to get a call back but with 1500 calls, there’s a lot to sort through,” said Kurut. “So, we asked the public’s patience on getting back to them. We’re booked through about the beginning of December but we will continue to run this program year after year.”

To see what documents are needed to get a Community ID Card, click here.

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