Chicago, IL (August 9, 2017)—Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signs Senate Bill 1413 at A Safe Haven Foundation today. The Bill amends the Vital Records Act, which provides that a person shall not be required to pay a search fee for a birth record search or an additional fee for a certified copy of the record upon the person’s release on parole, mandatory supervised release, final discharge, or pardon from the Department of Corrections if the person presents a specified form completed by the Department of Corrections.
Bill 1413 Senate sponsors include Michael Connelly, Patricia Van Pelt, Mattie Hunter and Jacqueline Y. Collins; and House sponsors are Tim Butler, LaShawn K. Ford, Brian W. Stewart and Mary E. Flowers.
“We applaud their efforts, and I would be remiss not to take this opportunity to urge our leaders of the State of Illinois to lead the way to create the most robust fully integrated behavioral healthcare system which allows ex-offenders access to identification, housing, treatment, and job training to reduce the rate of recidivism and improve outcomes both on the criminal justice and healthcare systems. The signing of this bill will save time, money for organizations like A Safe Haven”, said Neli Vazquez Rowland, president and co-founder of A Safe Haven Foundation.
“I paroled from prison to A Safe Haven, at which time I was homeless, helpless and couldn’t get any identification, everything I had got lost while I was in transition. I jumped through hoops to get identification – birth certificate saying who I was – and it was like I didn’t even exist. Once I finally got identification, I was able to get employment, and I found A Safe Haven. I’ve been at A Safe Haven since the 6th of December. I went through the program, did my meetings, got a sponsor and did everything I was asked to do – realizing this was something I should have been doing a long time ago. I met Chef Marshall and enrolled into the Culinary Program – now I have culinary experience in my background. A Safe Haven gave me structure and direction and by doing as I was told, demonstrating all the right fields in what I was doing, I am not employed here. A couple months ago I was asked to help in the culinary class and assist the instructor, where we do catering, and great things for the city of Chicago and people that homeless, helpless. Everything I own now I owe to A Safe Haven, and I am forever grateful.” David, A Safe Haven Resident.