County Homeless Get Connected

Video, Malcolm Marshall

Project Homeless Connect aims to connect services to those in need. It was sponsored by the City of Richmond, Chevron and West Contra Costa Transportation Advisory Committee.

Staying Safe This Summer

Video, Sean Shavers

Summertime brings rising temperatures, but unfortunately it can also bring a tremendous rise in crime to urban communities. Reporter Sean Shavers talked to young people to find out how they plan to stay safe in Richmond this summer.

Taqueria La Estrella

Video, Ann Bassette, Michael Jones, Karina Guadalupe

EDITORS’ NOTE: Situated at 325 23rd Street between MacDonald Ave and Nevin Street is Taqueria La Estrella, a quaint little restaurant adjacent to a large parking lot which now accommodates their new taco truck. Since the city committed to beautifying this business district, via the 23rd Street Streetscape Project, initated in 2008, this modest restaurant has experienced a spike in business

Danny McLane is College Bound

Video, Ann Bassette

EDITORS’ NOTE: Danny McLane, 17, graduated from Richmond High School and will be attending San Jose State University to study biological engineering. He was honored at the College Bound Brotherhood Graduation Celebration.
College Bound Brotherhood develops untapped and overlooked potential for broader community benefit.

Advocates Pushing for Richmond Municipal ID Cards – UPDATED

News Report,  Erika Benton-Martin

[Breaking News Update: Since this report was written, the City of Richmond has approved the use of municipal ID cards. You can read about this new development, here.]

If community advocates have their way, city-issued identification cards may soon be made available to thousands of Richmond’s most vulnerable residents.

The idea came up during Safford Strand Incorporated’s second annual conference on homelessness, “Sustainable Solutions to Homelessness:  Integrating Employment, Healthcare and Housing,” held in the City of Richmond on May 16th and 17th.  The goal of the conference was to examine new, cost-effective, employment-focused solutions to homelessness while identifying gaps and areas of growth for existing homeless programs in Richmond.


Among the solutions was the idea of creating municipal identification cards. Many in Richmond lack proper ID, mainly because there are large populations of immigrants, homeless, transgender, elderly and run-away youth. Many homeless and runaway youth do not have access to personal records and documents needed to apply for state IDs, while undocumented immigrants are simply not eligible for state-issued IDs.  Trust of state agencies is also a contributing factor for all groups.

Although there is no law in Richmond requiring citizens to carry identification of any kind, IDs are often required to gain access to goods, services and facilities, to participate in events and to verify eligibility for programs.  Specifically, the ID card could possibly be used to access the following services:

·     The Richmond Library System

·     City fees and permits

·     Richmond Museum

·     East Bay Center for the Performance Arts

·     West Contra Costa Unified School District

·     AC Transit

·     Contra Costa College

·     Contra Costa Health Plan

In addition to these services, the ID card could be used as a debit card, to pay bills and make transfers money between bank accounts.

The IDs would be an officially recognized form of identification, available to all residents of the city, regardless of immigration status. But not everyone attending the homelessness conference agreed on who should have access to the ID cards.

“Veterans and the homeless should be the main beneficiaries of this program. As a whole, the government has already invested too much money in the growing problem of trying to accommodate illegal immigrants,” said San Francisco resident David Kee.

Others in attendance said the cards could be a big help to many Richmond residents, including immigrants, but anticipated that lack of trust in the government could be a barrier to making them effective.

Candace Antoine, who has been a Richmond resident since 2003 said, “I think municipal ID cards are a good idea but I worry that those who may qualify for the program won’t take advantage of it out of fear of the government.”

The campaign for Richmond municipal identification cards is being modeled on a similar program that already exists in Oakland. Advocates of a Richmond municipal ID say the initial cost for residents who wish to obtain the identification card would be $15 for adults and $10 for children.

One idea is for the city to issue the ID cards at official intake centers located throughout the city.  Based on the requirements already established by the city of San Francisco and Oakland, those who wish to apply for a municipal ID in Richmond would most likely need to provide some other verification of their identity and proof that they live in Richmond.



Community Hero: Gonzalo Rucobo

Video, Nancy Yabarra// Malcolm Marshall

Gonzalo Rucobo went from being part of the problem to part of the solution when he changed his life and co-founded Bay Area Peacekeepers in 2005. BAP seeks to help save lives by bringing hope and change to those that society has discarded and that have been negatively impacted by gangs and neighborhood violence.