Homeless people and others who have lost "domestic autonomy" need birth certificates to get state identification cards and apply for benefits.
Giving those born in Ohio birth certificates -- and helping those born in other states obtain them -- is one of the free services homeless people will receive during 1Matters Project Connect Tent City, an annual event at downtown's Civic Center Mall that starts with opening ceremonies at 5 p.m. today and ends Sunday with a pancake breakfast and worship service. Last year, Tent City provided more than $100,000 worth of free medical, dental, and other services to homeless participants.
The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department will be open from 9 to 11 am. tomorrow to provide birth certificates to the homeless through a grant. The general public also can purchase birth certificates during those times for $25.
"Birth certificates are often a gateway to gaining other identification," said Larry Vasko, deputy health commissioner.
At Tent City, the health department also is providing HIV testing and counseling to the homeless from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow and adult flu vaccines starting at 8 a.m. tomorrow.
That is part of an array of free services that will be available tomorrow to Tent City participants, who also will be provided with entertainment tonight and tomorrow evening. Health screenings as well as dental, optical, hearing, podiatry, and other medical services will be provided, and homeless participants will receive food, showers, haircuts, clothing, and hygiene items.
The Davis family of Oregon -- James and Michelle, and their children, Jim and Alisa -- will be the "mayors" of Tent City this year. They lived in a shelter for a month in 2007 before Mr. Davis, a nurse, got a job and they moved into an apartment.