For a lot of people, losing an ID is more about inconvenience than anything else.
But for many TASK patrons, IDs are truly a lifeline – a key to unlocking essential services and life-changing opportunities, from medical care and food benefits to housing, jobs and education.
That’s why TASK invited the NJ Department of Motor Vehicles to bring their mobile unit to Trenton on May 3, allowing some 40 patrons to get their identification applications processed. The event was a godsend for many, since it has been notoriously difficult to secure an appointment during the pandemic.
“Calling the DMV is not an easy thing to do and their website had no slots available!” said Renee Rosina, a Trenton resident who confided she has lost employment opportunities because her ID expired during the pandemic and she hadn’t been able to renew it until the TASK event. “This is going to be good!”
Julie Janis, TASK’s senior case manager, called the event a success. She said TASK had a long waiting list for appointments and many nonprofit partners called to ask if they could send over additional patrons. Janis said TASK hoped to host similar events in the near future. “We had a huge turnout. It should indicate to the DMV that there is a big need for this service.”
TASK case manager Whitney Hendrickson said some 82 people had registered for the event. Those who were lucky enough to make it inside the mobile unit received a temporary ID as well as a free wallet, thanks to generous donation from TASK supporters.
Hendrickson said our patrons were “excited” to get their permanent IDs in the mail. “ID is everything. It’s food, it’s housing, it’s medical, it’s access to financial resources, so not having ID is debilitating. It prevents you from getting a job and doing all those other things. It’s the first step to moving forward and being independent in your life.”
In a normal year, TASK helps between 100-200 people get their IDs but the pandemic has slowed things down considerably. “Every time someone tested positive at the agency, they had to close down,” noted Hendrickson.
This year, TASK plans to hire an ID specialist so we can scale up the number of patrons we help to secure these life-transforming documents.