Justice Birthed: Clients at needle exchange site take a step forward

Twice a week, the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania holds clinic hours at Prevention Point Philadelphia (PPP), the city’s only legal syringe exchange. We offer free legal services to clients who don’t usually seek assistance, despite their need for it. Many of these clients have no identification documents. Without these documents, clients struggle to find legal employment or stable housing or to even get health care.

The first step to obtaining identification documents is getting a birth certificate.

Recently, we were able to provide assistance in obtaining birth certificates for two women at PPP.

We met the first woman almost 22 months ago. She requested help getting a birth certificate. We ordered it, but we didn’t see her again until two weeks ago. When she finally showed up, she reported that she had been drug-free for 6 months and was committed to staying clean. She was delighted that we had her birth certificate waiting for her. We wish her well as she continues with her recovery.

The second woman was in a hurry to get her life in order. She wanted a birth certificate so she could get a driver’s license and a job. Even though we told her it would take 8-12 weeks to arrive, she checked with us frequently to see if we had it. By the time it arrived two weeks ago, she had found a job. She smiled broadly when we handed it to her and rushed out to get her driver’s license.