By Bob Katzen
The Senate 39-0 approved and sent to the House legislation that would make it easier for homeless youth and adults to secure free state ID cards. The measure would allow homeless service providers or other state agencies to provide the individual with documentation to prove residency.
Supporters said that currently, a person experiencing homelessness faces prohibitive fees and documentation requirements when trying to obtain an ID card.
They noted that ID cards are necessary for applying for jobs, enrolling in school, interacting with law enforcement, accessing government buildings, opening financial accounts and many other basic services that many take for granted.
“As the state begins to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn, the Legislature must ensure that individuals experiencing homelessness have the same fundamental opportunities to live happily,” said the measure’s sponsor Sen. Harriette Chandler (D-Worcester). “One fundamental key to accessing basic services are state-issued IDs. Currently, people experiencing homelessness face significant financial and bureaucratic barriers when they attempt to obtain an ID. Now is the time to break down bureaucratic barriers that fuel the cycle of poverty and to ensure equality for all the commonwealth’s residents as we look towards a post-pandemic world.”