On a frigid afternoon this past December, we received an urgent phone call. There was a mother cradling her newborn, desperately waiting outside Carnegie Outreach Centre to get a birth certificate for her baby.

Could FIRST UNITED help spare Mom and baby a long wait in near freezing temperatures?

Our response was immediate: yes, we can help them right away.

At FIRST, we do everything we can to help when urgent needs arise. People in the Downtown Eastside need your help today.

Will you make a gift so that we can continue to respond and adapt to urgent needs?

Mom and baby arrived at our Community Help Desk, just a few blocks away. Within 15 minutes, our frontline staff completed the online application for the infant’s birth certificate, and covered the $27.50 cost for Mom.

Thus began the start of our ID pilot program. We felt so honoured to help our first client—a newborn baby!—get an essential piece of ID. Because of generous supporters, we were able to make a difference in that baby’s future.  

The program is new but since then we’ve helped a dozen people apply for identification.

We’ve heard directly from community that there is a desperate need for ID clinics and ID support in the DTES. We are responding to that need with our new program, and we need your help to do it.

This Easter, will you make a gift? We need to raise $50,000 by April 25 to respond to what the community needs most at any moment and offer brand new services like this.

At FIRST UNITED, we envision a neighbourhood where everyone’s worth is celebrated and all people thrive. We know you do, too.

But we live in a flawed system where the needs of people living in poverty are often overlooked, ignored, and not deemed worthy.

This is evident with the barriers community members face when they don’t own government issued ID. Without it, it’s virtually impossible to participate, let alone thrive in our society.

With your help, people in the DTES can access all of FIRST UNITED’s life-changing services and begin to thrive.

People without ID are denied access to services that help them get back on their feet. ID is required to get a health services card, a SIN to apply for a job, and services like income or disability assistance.

And there are multiple barriers to even obtaining identification in the first place. Some can’t afford to pay the fee required, let alone access a computer or internet connection to apply. 

That’s why programs like the ID clinic are essential, allowing folks to feel seen. It can even be the first step to a new life. It was for Mom’s sweet baby.

When mothers come to us to apply for their baby’s birth certificate, we help them through every step of the process. This builds trust and they know they can come to us for other services if they need.

We’re able to start programs like this because of the generosity of like-minded supporters like you.

Give today to help the DTES today.

We believe that everyone has equal value and deserves to be treated with dignity. That people deserve a space where they know they belong. That they deserve justice and be treated as an equal member of our society.

After basic survival needs like food, shelter, and clothing, identification is one of the first things that folks need to help them get back on their feet.

We continue to provide these crucial services, while also advocating for systems change to break down barriers. But we need your support to ensure that we can continue this important work on the frontlines, because we know that the needs of the Downtown Eastside community have never been more urgent.

Will you make a gift this Easter, so we can continue to create new services as we adapt to new challenges?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *