I just found this really cool article about some people who are wards of the state in Las Vegas and have no identities. Either severely mentally ill or suffering from brain damage, they are unable to provide anything like birthdates or Social Security numbers, and their names, if they have them, don’t pop up on databases anywhere. The county keeps them in institutions and care homes, but they’re ineligible for benefits like Medicaid because no one knows who they are.
The article tells the story of Monika Jenkins, a woman with schizophrenia who was on the Charley Project. She was living on the streets in Las Vegas. Her parents would periodically go looking for her, find her and try to convince her to come home with them, but she didn’t want to go. Monika turned out to be one of those unknown people the county was looking after.
These are very sad stories. Probably these people have someone, somewhere, who cares about them and just doesn’t know where to start looking. I hope this article leads to identifying all the other unknown wards.