Hartford Foundation Submits Testimony to Support Efforts to Provide Homeless Youth with Access to Legal Identification

The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving has submitted testimony to the General Assembly’s Public Health and Transportation Committees in an effort to provide easier access to legal identification for homeless youth and young adults.

The Hartford Foundation’s new strategic framework includes a focus on efforts to ensure that all Greater Hartford residents have access to quality, affordable housing in high opportunity neighborhoods. Significant portions of our past and current investments have focused on preventing and reducing homelessness in the Greater Hartford region. While there has been significant progress in addressing homelessness, there are also continuing challenges, particularly among homeless youth and families. In 2018, the Foundation granted $325,000 to resource the Greater Hartford Homeless Youth Collaborative to address and reduce mitigating barriers that often lead youth into homelessness.

The Foundation supports Senate Bill 248, which will allow the Department of Public Health and registrars of vital statistics to waive the fee for a certified copy of a birth certificate for youth and young adults who are experiencing homelessness.

The Foundation supports changes to sec 11 of HB 5192 that will allow youth experiencing homelessness, as verified by their school or a provider, to obtain a copy of a state ID free of charge.

Both proposals include a definition of homelessness consistent with the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, which includes those who are doubled-up, and specifically includes youth age 24 and younger.

We know that the lack of access to identity documents including associated fees, such as birth certificates and state issued ID’s, are a significant barrier for youth and young adults who are experiencing homelessness and housing instability. The result is that many young people are unable to work or participate in workforce development programs, unable to access, or experience delays accessing, Job Corps and housing, and have difficulties in accessing supports such as mental health, benefits, or athletic activities.

Read the testimony in support of Senate Bill 248.

Read the testimony in support of HB 5192.