Police handout new ID’s to homeless, help a man who lost everything in a recent fire

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- The Topeka Police Department and Rescue Mission launched a new initiative to get proper identification to people who are homeless.

People who are homeless often have vital documents like a driver’s license and birth certificate lost or even stolen.

“I have to have ID to anything,” said Rob Rangel who has been homeless for two years.

He lost his identification, which makes it hard for him to find a job. Now, he can find one thanks to a new city-issued ID.

“The city ID currently you can get temporary day jobs for the day temp services. You can also cash payroll checks with some banks,” Sgt. Josh Klamm explained.

The ID also is a start to getting needed documents to find a permanent job, a home, and a new beginning, which the Topeka Rescue Mission says is their goal.

“There will be information. Helping people. Educating them. Making sure they understand and then be there to support them to follow through. And understand that this doesn’t stop their homelessness today. Doesn’t stop everything. It’s a step towards breaking that cycle,” said the Mission’s Executive Director Barry Feaker.

TPD and the Mission have been focusing on issuing the ID to those in camps like Rangel. When Klamm visited, he found out his tent recently burned along with what little he had.

“All my things. All my pictures I had of my kids. All my cloths. Any food that I had to eat,” Rangel explained.

He hopes to use his new ID to get help from the Red Cross. Plus, Klamm and the Mission gave him what he needed to stay warm on these cold days.

“I know your tent and everything burned down, so, emergency blanket. Some hand warmers. What this is, this is a temporary emergency shelter,” Klamm told Rangel as he handed them the items.

Rangel says he’s thankful for the help, and is touched by the new way police are reaching out to the homeless.

“It’s cool to see them on the aiding side and reaching out, which is way cool,”

The Rescue Mission also gave Rangel a heavy coat, and hopes to find him a tent.

They also need help getting supplies especially for those in the cold. You can drop off hand and foot warmers, instant oatmeal and even large tarps at the Topeka Rescue Mission.

As for the ID’s they are free. Police and the mission will be visiting more camps to help those in need get them.