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How Does Safe at Home Work?


Submit an Application
Eligible people may apply to Safe at Home by submitting an application with the help of a Safe at Home Application Assistant. When Safe at Home receives a completed application with all the required information, it is certified within three business days. One requirement is that the applicant must disclose to the Office of the Secretary of State their real residential address. That information, along with all other participant information, is kept under security and is maintained as private data.

 

Assignment of Address
Upon certification, the new Safe at Home participant is assigned a new legal address which is a post office box address. They are also mailed an information packet, which includes a Safe at Home program participation card for each household member listed on the application. The participation card displays the participant's complete Safe at Home address and other important information.

 

Using the New Address
It is the responsibility of the new participant to update others and give their newly assigned Safe at Home post office box address. Minnesota Statutes Chapter 5B allows a Safe at Home participant to use their Safe at Home address for all purposes in the state of Minnesota. All private and public entities must accept a participant’s Safe at Home address as the person’s actual address of residence, as their school address, and as their address of employment. During interactions with other entities, a Safe at Home participant cannot be required to answer questions about the circumstances regarding his or her participation in the program.

Because the participant uses their Safe at Home post office box address for everything, all of a Safe at Home participant's mail goes to that address. The post office box is an address in Saint Paul and is managed by the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State. The participant does not pick up their mail from that post office box. Safe at Home staff pick up the mail and the Safe at Home office forwards all of a participant's First Class Mail to the participant's real residential address. If a participant is using the program effectively, the only mail they receive at their real address is mail sent by the Safe at Home office. For the program to be truly effective, only the Safe at Home office should know a participant’s real address.

 

Mail is Forwarded
First Class Mail is forwarded to a participant’s home by the Safe at Home office. Mail such as Standard Mail ("junk mail"), or Periodicals (magazines, newspapers, etc.) is not forwarded. Safe at Home does not forward packages unless the packages are clearly marked that they are being sent by a state or county government agency or unless they are clearly identifiable pharmaceuticals. This policy is in place for security reasons.

 

Participant Data is Private and Secure
All participant data is classified and maintained as private data by the Safe at Home office. Measures are in place to secure participant data, which is extremely sensitive.

The Safe at Home office will only disclose a participant's real residential address to a third party in response to a valid court order, or to a law enforcement agency upon verification that the release of information will aid in responding to an emergency situation or a criminal complaint or a criminal investigation. The law enforcement agency must make the request by utilizing a formal procedure that requires them to make the request through the Duty Officer at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Before any disclosure is made, the request is screened by both the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State.