TRENTON – Two pieces of legislation sponsored by Senator M. Teresa Ruiz and Senator Fred H. Madden focusing on helping the homeless in New Jersey received was signed into law today.
“It must be a top priority of government to protect the health, safety and welfare of our residents,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “Providing basic government documents to those without a permanent residence free of charge is the right thing to do, since these documents are vital to accessing any number of services and to obtaining housing and employment.”
“This is a small way we can help those who have fallen on hard times and it’s the right thing to do,” said Senator Madden (D-Gloucester/Camden). “Those who are homeless may not have the ability to pay for an identification card or a copy of a birth certificate, which could potentially prevent them from getting the critical services they need.”
The first bill signed into law, S-2350, allows a homeless person to obtain, duplicate, or renew a non-driver identification card without paying fees to the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC). In order for the fee to be waived, the law requires a homeless person to submit proof of temporary residence through a social worker or the coordinator of an emergency shelter for the homeless where the person is temporarily residing.
Currently, residents who are 14 years of age and older may apply to the MVC for a non-driver identification card, for a fee of $24. The card is issued solely for the purpose of providing identification and is not a license to drive.
The second law, S-2351 will permit 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 law would also amend current law to waive any fee associated with attaining a certified copy of a birth certificate.
Both pieces of legislation cleared the Senate and the Assembly unanimously.
S-2350 takes effect in August and S-2351 takes effect immediately.