Bills Remove Barriers Preventing Homeless Individuals from Accessing Assistance
Two bills providing fee exemptions for homeless individuals in need of key forms of identification have been signed into law by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
- The first bill exempts homeless individuals from fee for birth certificates (A2106/S2351.) The bill was sponsored by Assemblyperson Raj Mukherji and Senator Teresa Ruiz.This bill permits homeless people to obtain free certified copies of their birth certificates by submitting a request for the certificate to the State Registrar of Vital Statistics through a social worker or through the coordinator of the emergency shelter for the homeless where the person is temporarily residing.
- The second bill exempts homeless from fee for non-driver identification cards (A2107/S2350.) The bill was sponsored by Assemblyperson Mukherji and Senator Ruiz.
Both bills are part of Monarch Housing and the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey’s State Legislative Policy agenda.
Monarch Housing and the Network thank the bills co-sponsors, Assemblyperson Raj Mukherji and Senator Teresa Ruiz, and all who supported these measures and congratulates its members, partners, and supporters for all your advocacy efforts which made this possible.
As background, on November 3, 2016, the New Jersey Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee unanimously passed, 13-0, the two priority homeless assistance bills.
A2107/S2350 passed the Assembly on April 7, 2016 and was unanimously approved. The bill allows homeless people to obtain, duplicate or renew a non-driver identification card without paying a fee.
Once they present proof of temporary residence at a homeless shelter, the individuals will save the $24 fee.
“The administration fee is the only thing prevented many homeless people from acquiring identification, when shelters and social services organizations are willing to help these citizens,” Mukherji said in April.
Removing this financial barrier to obtaining identification will assist homeless individuals in applying for employment, furthering their education, banking and many other activities that will help them rebuild their lives.