Identifying homeless people

California’s counties must provide homeless people with birth certificates, IDs for free

Under Assembly Bill 1733, counties in California are now required to issue free birth certificates and identification cards to people who can demonstrate that they are homeless.

The bill, effective July 1, intends to help homeless people access basic services, John Bauters, policy director of Housing California, told The Sacramento Bee. Without documentation, homeless people in California are often unable to apply for assistance programs through shelters or other service providers.

“The irony is that programs are created to serve people of the lowest means but actually create barriers,” Bauters said.

A person's homeless status must be verified by a homeless service provider. In Butte County, the cost of a birth certificate is $25, according to the clerk recorder's website, and ID cards are $28 at the Department of Motor Vehicles in Chico—though they're available to certain low-income individuals for $8.