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County to Explore Creating User Identification Cards

Staff will Report Back on Feasibility

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. – During its meeting on September 11, at the request of Supervisor Dave Cortese, the Board of Supervisors directed staff to explore the feasibility of creating a uniform user identification system for County services, as well as County-issued identification cards.  Staff is expected to return to the Board with options for consideration in late October.

In various initiatives, the County has reviewed the efficiency and effectiveness of services provided to clients by multiple County departments.  Among these efforts are the Special Study of the Highest Users of County Services issued by the County’s Management Audit Division in January of 2012, and forthcoming studies on the effectiveness of housing vouchers provided to the chronically homeless and the effectiveness of services provided to former State prisoners through the County’s AB 109 realignment programs.  Previous efforts to conduct analysis of this type have been hampered by the lack of use of a consistent identifier for individuals served by County departments. 

At the same time, a number of populations served by the County do not have easy access to photo identification.  Specifically, the chronically homeless, individuals leaving state prisons, and undocumented individuals frequently have difficulty obtaining government-issued identification cards.  This not only makes it difficult for them to obtain housing, bank accounts, employment, and other basic necessities, but it also hampers the County’s ability to accurately identify the persons to whom it provides services.  A number of cities and counties in California and elsewhere in the U.S. have created successful local ID programs to meet similar needs.

Staff was also asked to come back with options and recommendations that also address potential obstacles and issues of concern such as privacy, cost, and data security.

Media Contact: Gwendolyn Mitchell/Laurel Anderson, Office of Public Affairs, (408) 299-5119; Steven Blomquist, Supervisor Cortese’s Office (408) 299-5030
Posted: September 12, 2012