Thanks to the Financial Justice Project, a San Francisco city initiative, people experiencing homelessness are eligible for several new fine and fee discounts as well as one-time waivers.
Here is a summary of the most recently introduced discounts. Please spread the word so that anyone in need can make use of these.
Discounts for People Experiencing Homelessness:
These three discounts are available for any person experiencing homelessness who has had an assessment done at one of the city’s “Access Points” within the last six months. You can get an assessment done by phone, which you can schedule by calling (415) 487-3300 x7000. Once the assessment is done, you will be eligible for these discounts for six months. People living in single-resident occupancy units are also eligible for the discounts.
1. The ACCESS PASS: Free Muni for unhoused people
The Access Pass lets you ride Muni for free. Once you receive the Access Pass, all your prior transit violation citations (MUNI fare evasion tickets) will be waived. The Access Pass is active for 2 years! You can apply for the Access Pass in four different ways: 1) Completing an application online at https://www.sfmta.com/fares/access-pass 2) Mailing a completed application to SFMTA. 3) Dropping off the completed application at an SFMTA sales kiosk. 4) Dropping off the application in-person at SFMTA Customer Service Center at 11 South Van Ness Avenue. When applying, your immigration status does not matter.
2. One-time waiver of tow and storage costs
This is a one-time waiver of the fees when your vehicle is towed and of the storage fees for up to 15 days. It can save you over $1,000! To get this waiver, go to an Access Point or speak to them by phone. Next, when retrieving your car, bring a valid driver’s license and proof of ownership to AutoReturn, which is at 450 7th Street and open 24/7. AutoReturn can verify ownership for vehicles registered in California, so if the vehicle is registered in California, folks should bring the keys and a valid driver’s license to retrieve the car.
3. One-time waiver of “boot” fine
Sometimes, the City penalizes vehicle owners for unpaid citations by installing a wheel clamp, also known as a “boot,”on the vehicle. Similar to the row and storage waiver, this is a one-time waiver of the “boot” fine, which is normally $505. You are eligible to have this fee waived for six months after contacting an Access Point—if you haven’t already, remember to first schedule an appointment for an assessment. To get this wheel clamp removed, bring a valid driver’s license and proof of ownership to either AutoReturn or to the SFMTA Customer Service Center.
Last but not least:
4. MyCitations Online Tool
This is an online tool you can use to apply for a significant discount—possibly 80% or more—on some citations received in San Francisco. The amount of the discount will be based on your ability to pay. These include discounts on moving violations and “quality of life“ citations. You can access the tool online at https://mycitations.courts.ca.gov/. You are eligible for the online tool and for the possible discounts if you receive public benefits such as: Medi-Cal, CalWORKs, CalFresh, Tribal TANF, General Assistance, SSI, County Adult Assistance Program, Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants, or In Home Supportive Services. You also qualify to use the online tool and for the discounts if your income is less than 250% of the federal poverty level, which is about $32,200 for a single person. Finally, you may be eligible if you have a financial hardship that you can explain and demonstrate in your application.
When filling out the application, you need to indicate your date of birth, your phone number, and a proof that you receive public benefits (e.g. EBT card, MediCal card, WIC Card, SSI checks etc.) with any private information like a social security number crossed out, as well as your case number or ticket number.
Demonstration video on how to apply and use the MyCitations online tool: https://youtu.be/q0z0GYTwmuU