By Ali Heinen, Case Intake Coordinator
CCH’s Youth Futures mobile legal aid clinic and the JPMorgan Chase legal department ran a Legal and Identification Clinic for homeless youth Wednesday afternoon. Hosted by the Center on Halsted, an LGBTQ community center in the Lakeview neighborhood, 20 Chase volunteers participated as a part of Chase’s National Day of Service.
Twenty-seven youth and three adults received assistance with identification documents such as birth certificates, Social Security cards, and homeless verification letters for state ID cards. CCH staff were also available to enroll youth in public benefits, such as Medicaid and SNAP enrollments, and to assist with other legal issues.
Said Christine Feaks, a mother of three who attended the clinic, “I came to get a birth certificate for myself and my 6-month-old daughter as well as apply for a Social Security card. This will help in my search for a job that I need to help support my family.”
Lack of ID documents is a huge barrier for homeless individuals. Many youth leave home without any of these vital documents, or they are lost or stolen while living on the street or in shelters. Birth certificates and state IDs help homeless youth access employment, housing, and other vital services.
Near the close of the two-hour clinic, three attorneys obtained birth certificates from the Department of Vital Records, delivering them to many of the young clients before they left the clinic. William Lavinder, a homeless youth who received his birth certificate, said it brings him “one step closer to success.”
This was the second time in 10 months that CCH and Chase collaborated on a Legal and ID Clinic at Center on Halsted.
“Many of us don’t think about the barriers that are created by not having ID documents. Having ID documents opens many doors that would have otherwise been closed to these clients,” said Sharlita Davis. The CCH Board member chaired CCH’s school outreach project with Chase, where she is assistant vice president and contract officer for the IP & Technology Law Group.