MILWAUKEE -- For people who live in Milwaukee, a new kind of identification is available: City ID cards. Supporters say it will allow a number of residents to use city services or get help if they need it. Advocates say this will benefit people like undocumented immigrants, the homeless and transgender people who either cannot get a state ID or cannot get one that reflects their identity.
For a number of Milwaukee residents, Friday's roll out of municipal ID cards is cause for celebration; celebrating the sense of belonging here.
"That's what we're trying to do with this municipal ID, give them an opportunity to come out of the shadows to receive municipal services and be a part of our broader community," said Milwaukee Alderman Cavalier Johnson.
The $10 cards differ from state IDs in that people can get one with documents like foreign birth certificates, drivers' licenses and visa papers. Applicants can also use the gender with which they identify.
Supporters say it will make holders more likely to call police if they're a victim or a witness.
"When you're in a situation where an officer is involved or anything like that, your gender is generally not something you want to be an issue of importance," said Livia Rowell-Ortiz, transgender woman with city ID.
In this story
"Any city department must accept the identification," said Alderman Jose Perez.
Alderman Jose Perez says more than 700 applications have come in so far. The new IDs cost the city $150,000.
Supporters say it's a small price to give more residents peace of mind.
"We should just be celebrating today. We should not feel like we're fighting upstream to provide for our neighbors to have their basic human identity," said Milwaukee Alderman Nik Kovak.
Officials say it's up to individual businesses to decide whether they'll accept the city IDs. They hope to work with banks and pharmacies and anyone else who provides important services.