Lack of IDs add to difficulties for homeless people and make it difficult to break the cycle of unemployment, alcoholism, drug use, transience and a myriad of other issues, supporters say.
For Glen Cloward, now community relations liaison at Exodus Peer to Peer Native Recovery Center, the issue hit close to home.
Cloward spent three months trying to get an ID while living on the streets.
"Without an ID, you can't get a job," he said. "They have no way of doing anything. It would help a lot of them get off the street."
Cloward presented a scenario in which a homeless person has lost all forms of identification such as Social Security card, driver license and birth certificate. To get a new driver's license, that person would not only need to prove their identity, but also provide two proofs of New Mexico residency, such as utility bills, rental agreements, insurance bills, bank statements or pay stubs.
The homeless population is unlikely to have any of those documents, he said.
David Velasquez, of the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, agreed that getting an ID can be nearly impossible for the homeless without help. He works with some of these individuals at his office.
"They do not know what to do," Velasquez said. "They come in and they're lost."
Homeless people are often forced to visit a number of government offices and other organizations to get the necessary documentation to qualify for identification.
That process needs to be streamlined, he said.
Karen McPheeters, Farmington Public Library director, suggested utilizing the library's resources, such as free email and technology literacy classes, and free cloud storage services.
The homeless would be able to upload their important documents for permanent storage, she said.
Group members agreed that an action plan is needed to address the problem. Velasquez was nominated to coordinated interagency efforts.