Identifying the Need
Located on Manhattan’s Lower East Side in New York City, the Bowery Mission has served the area’s homeless population for 130 years. Today, the Bowery Mission serves 18,000 meals every month through a variety of in- house programs, including a residency program, an overnight shelter, a food bank and park outreach.
Until recently, the shelter had very little in the way of a secure ID card program. Staff members received cut-and-paste IDs, and creating them was both time-consuming and labor- intensive. No IDs were available for the shelter’s residents or guests. When the shelter’s chaplain saw a guest’s full-color photo ID card from another local soup kitchen, however, he realized better technology was available.
“When I saw that badge, I got curious about what we could do with a real ID system,” said Pastor Reggie Stutzman, director of compassionate care for the Bowery Mission. Stutzman contacted Datacard Group, who connected with local ISG dealer Metropolitan Data Solutions to put together an appropriate solution for the Bowery Mission. Datacard donated the system and supplies, and Metropolitan Data Solutions donated the time required to deliver, set up and install the solution, as well as train staff members how to use it and set up an initial batch of card designs.
The ISG Solution
The solution for the Bowery Mission includes a Datacard® CP60™ Plus card printer with full-color, two-sided printing capabilities, as well as Datacard® IDCentre™ Silver identification software, a Datacard® Photo Pointe™ solution for image capture and an initial batch of color ribbons and card stock.
According to Stutzman, the Bowery Mission will use the solution to create photo IDs for staff members and two other key groups: men in the shelter’s nine-month residential program and its overnight guests.
“It is important to give our homeless guests a free, legitimate photo ID they can use outside our facility,” Stutzman said. “Acquiring any kind of full-color ID card can be difficult, so many of our guests do not have one. Now we can give them one and make their lives that much easier.”
Improving security is a secondary advantage of having the Datacard solution in-house. Currently, the Bowery Mission is building a photo database of its guests, which include a very high volume of people.
“We see so many people every day,” Stutzman said. “The photo ID database will be very helpful. It will allow us to create a photo roster of guests, and help us differentiate residents from non- residents. It will also help us identify people who have violated our policies and have been asked not to return for 30 days. Also, if the police need our help locating someone, having a current photo to work from is much easier.”