Fig Tree Logo

Tammy Meyers draws together partners to provide homeless with IDs

Homeless Connect LOGO

Tammy Meyers, homeless outreach coordinator for the Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD), believes the best way to express her caring for "people who live outside" is to make sure they have identity (ID) cards.

To find a job, get a mortgage, rent an apartment, begin education, seek medical care, receive state benefits or open a bank account for their Social Security or disability benefits, people need to have an ID.

Talking with folks who are homeless, Tammy often hears they are on housing waiting lists. However, they do not have their ID or Social Security card, which are necessary to get housing.

Some have told her they lost their ID when they had it in their backpack, fell asleep and someone stole it. So, she replaces it. Often, she holds ID cards for people so that won't happen.

"It's one of the first things people need to move to self-sufficiency. Not having an ID card sets folks up for failure. It's easy for people with no ID to lose hope," she said.

 For the SRHD,Tammy teams up with the Department of Licensing (DOL), and they often partner with the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) or CHAS Health's Street Medicine. The state Department of Commerce (DOC) and Molina Healthcare help fund the project.

With the DOL, she spent six weeks at Camp Hope before it closed and restored 398 ID cards for folks there with funding from the DOC through Jewels Helping Hands.

"In October, we did an event with the DOL, Molina, DSHS, CHAS Health Street Medicine and SRHD's Immunization Team at City Gate. In November, we were at House of Charities, and in December, we were at the Spokane Downtown Library," she said.

One day while people were waiting in line to get birth certificates, IDs and Social Security cards, CHAS Health's Street Medicine team provided health checkups for heart disease, diabetes, infections, abscesses, weather-related illnesses and other health needs," Tammy said.

DOL has piloted a program called DOL2Go, where they bring their services to folks living outside. Like anyone visiting the DOL office, they have to prove their identity. If they have had a state ID, DOL will verify this within their department. If they never had an ID in Washington then, before ID events, Tammy helps them get the necessary documents to prove identity—such as a birth certificate, medical records, school records or marriage/divorce certificates.

Tammy walks alongside people living outside to make sure they have the documents they need to get a state ID card.

"I adore the people who live outside. I want the best for them. I want them to feel good about themselves and know someone cares about them," she said.

Along with partnering monthly and quarterly with CHAS, Molina, DSHS, DOL and SRHD to provide IDs, the SRHD now plans to provide other health prevention services such as methadone, needle exchanges and Narcan to reduce harms from substance use, like spreading HIV, Hepatitis C, Shigella infections.

"A disease prevention team also tests folks for STDs, then treats and educates them to increase access to care," she said.

For information, call 216-8455 or email

Copyright@ The Fig Tree, January 2024