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Comprehensive plan to help homeless may be updated

Meeting set for Wednesday to discuss homeless issues

SAN ANTONIO – The city's homeless population may soon find help through an updated comprehensive homeless plan.

The plan was first introduced in 2015 and is being updated. It could now include an identification verification letter that would serve as a proper form of ID. It's something many of the homeless population struggle to obtain without a Social Security number or birth certificate.

"That's the brightest idea so far. Keep on giving us some help, and we can go work and get off the streets and become a successful part of the community," said a homeless man who wanted to be identified as John.

The ID would be in the form of a letter issued by police. The San Antonio Police Department is currently working with Sen. John Cornyn, Rep. Lloyd Doggett and the Social Security Administration to have letters recognized as legal ID.

"ID or no ID, it's still going to be hard," said a homeless man who did not want to be identified.

If the changes are made, the homeless could apply for government programs and services.

"I've ran into a few that don't have (ID), but they don't seem to be worried about it," said Richard Cook, a homeless man.

Some homeless people are hopeful the changes will help them get ahead in life.

“It's honestly a good idea because we can't work without an ID. I don't have an ID myself, so I've been struggling for many years," John said.

The Criminal Justice, Public Safety and Services Committee meeting will happen at City Hall Wednesday. The panel members will talk about crisis intervention training for officers. The training focuses on de-escalation techniques when encountering mentally unstable people.

The commission is also asking business and homeowners to put up no trespassing signs to keep panhandlers from hanging out. They will also address the homeless count. It’s a survey of just how big the homeless population is to help the city get funding to provide services to all who need it.