Starting in December, Goshen Resident Identification Cards (GRID) will become available to all residents of Goshen.Monday’s launch of GRID marked a culmination of significant effort by the Center for Healing & Hope and the Elkhart County HOPE network.
The GRID card is available to everyone who lives in the city of Goshen, but will be of particular help to those who are unable to attain other forms of identification or documentation. It is not a valid form of identification for voting or a driver’s license.
Bryan Mierau, the executive director of the Center for Healing & Hope, said the project will “build goodwill and further the common good in our community.”
And while GRID may primarily benefit members of Goshen’s immigrant community, it will also be specifically beneficial for elderly, formerly incarcerated and homeless people, as well as provide benefits for all Goshen residents.
Richard Aguirre, board member at CHH, founder of the Elkhart County HOPE network and director of corporate and foundation relations at Goshen College, played a significant role in making this project a reality.
“We are committed to helping all of our brothers and sisters because together we are Elkhart County and we treat all with dignity and respect,” said Aguirre. “Immigrants are uncertain and afraid. They don’t feel safe even in places they have lived for decades. Despite the many contributions they’ve made, immigrants believe they have been abandoned by Americans, often neighbors and friends. They are calling on us, they are calling on you for help. Today we are answering that call.”
In January 2017 the city of South Bend, in partnership with La Casa de Amistad, began offering the South Bend Community Resident Card (SB ID). Goshen’s initiative is modeled after the SB ID, and La Casa de Amistad played a significant role in informing the GRID creation process.
GRID will serve several purposes, including providing verified identification when cardholders interact with Goshen city officials, such as law enforcement, and when cardholders are purchasing prescriptions and handling money transactions, as well as allowing access to city buildings and services and applying for a public library card. Some local businesses will also offer discounts on products and services for cardholders.
“We hope all city residents will buy one in support of immigrants and because it will provide many benefits,” said Aguirre.
Within the first two months, La Casa de Amistad had issued over 500 SB IDs, and Goshen anticipates similar interest levels.
“[GRID] will send a powerful message to immigrants and other vulnerable people that we stand in solidarity with them, and consider them part of our community,” said Aguirre.
The Center for Healing & Hope began taking appointments for card applications this week, and will continue to do so. The first appointments will be scheduled for December 1, with cards received two weeks after that date. The card costs $25.
Dominique Chew, immigrant resource coordinator at CCH and 2015 Goshen College alum, will be coordinating these appointments. She can be contacted at 574-534-7477, and more information can be found at cchclinics.org.