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State Representative introduces bill to help homeless community obtain IDs, birth certificates

Posted at 4:42 PM, Jan 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-21 22:00:39-05

A state representative out of the Austin area introduced a bill aimed to help members of the homeless community obtain important documents for employment and housing.

House Bill 1196, introduced by state Rep. Gina Hinojosa (D-Austin) on Tuesday, would prescribe the necessary documentation necessary for homeless people to be issued a driver's license or personal identification certificate, as well as a certified copy of their birth certificate.

"Without it, it’s hard to do anything," said Branch Seevers, a homeless Corpus Christi man who said its a struggle to even trudge to the DPS office several miles away. "I mean, anything without some type of identification, you’re kind of stuck in a loop."

Those who meet the criteria would also exempt them from any fees, the bill states.

H.B. 1196 further adds that homeless people would not need to provide a physical address in order to obtain an ID.

Some members of the homeless community in Corpus Christi believe that push could further lay the groundwork for future employment.

"The bill you’re talking about would be a wonderful thing to help us," said Seevers, who's also a native to Corpus Christi. “If this bill gets passed through the state Congress, its going to benefit a lot of people who really want to get off the streets and work — it really will."

"At least from my point of view, because I know a lot of people that want to work but they run into the same barriers I do. No birth certificate, no ID — no work.”

If approved, the bill would take effect on Sept. 1.