“Access to identity documents is critical to connecting people with employment and housing opportunities, healthcare, and public assistance programs, among others” —John Bauters in a special report on HousingCA.org
On September 29, 2014, Governor Brown signed a bill into law (Assembly Bill 1733), making the California homeless community eligible to receive a birth certificate or state issued photo identification card at no cost. For the homeless community and its supporters, this is a huge success and something worth celebrating.
Based on the information share, we put together a list of the facts to share with you.
- According to the Affidavit of Homeless Status for Fee Exempt Certified Copy of Birth Certificate:
A birth certificate may be obtained from the local registrar (to state registrar) or county recorder office in the county where the registrant was born.
- Each person can only get one birth record per application
- Applications may be obtained by contacting the vital records office in the county where the birth occurred
- To be eligible:
- Requests for birth certificates can be made by a homeless person (on behalf of themselves, or by any person lawfully entitled to request record of birth on behalf of a homeless person), child or youth — (who can verify their status as homeless)
- A homeless service provider must provide verification through completion of the affidavit
The affidavit must be signed by both the homeless services provider and the person requesting the record
For those who don’t know which county they were born in, the state registrar, local registrar, or county recorder will help to verify their place of birth. With sufficient information, the state will be able to determine where they were born.
When Can The Homeless Get a Birth Certificate & State ID?
- July 1st, 2015: As of July 1st, 2015, the State Registrar and Department of Public Health were required to start accepting fee waivers for birth records
- January 1st, 2016: On the first of January, the Department of Motor Vehicles will be required to begin providing fee waivers for state identification cards.
Who Helped Make This Bill Happen?
With the support of over 100 organizations, Housing California was able to successfully sponsor this groundbreaking legislation. Their dedication led to the policy director John Bauters being selected to serve on a national expert panel convened by the Federal Substance Abuse & Mental Health Service Agency. According to the Housing California website, “this panel is currently working to create a sustainable implementation guide for service providers and consumers nationally to help people experiencing homeless better access identity documents across the US.”
All information from this post was sourced from the Housing California website. To learn more about their efforts in helping with the issue of access to identity documents for the homeless community, click here.
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