Homeless people in Pennsylvania can get a free photo ID starting Friday. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) said that a new state law will provide opportunities that will give Pennsylvanians experiencing homelessness the ability to be issued a free identification card.
Homeless advocates are praising the new law that made it happen as Pennsylvania has more than 13,000 homeless people, and now, according to PennDOT’s Diego Sandino, they can get that document that could make their lives easier.
“Act 131, which Governor Tom Wolf recently signed into law, will make it possible for individuals who are experiencing homelessness to be issued a free photo ID,” Sandino announced.
According to a KYW News Radio report, Julie Dees, chief executive officer of Family Service Association of Bucks County, said the new law will bring significant changes to these people. “Getting that identification is really the first step in opening the door to all sorts of help that this person might need,” she said.
“If an individual doesn’t have a state issued photo ID, it creates a significant barrier on so many levels. First of all, they aren’t able to complete an application process to get the ball rolling on housing support,” explained Dees.
She added ID is also a document necessary in applying for food stamps, Medicare, social security, and more.”Any other sort of application they would want to fill out for various types of support, to apply for a job, really without a photo ID, it’s a dead end,” Dees said.
Making life easier
The executive officer explained that living on the street, or even in a shelter, makes it almost impossible to keep track of important documents.
“For folks that have been street-homeless especially, it’s incredibly hard to hold on to identification or any sort of paperwork,” she said. “You know they’re out there, survival is their number one focus. They aren’t thinking about making sure they don’t lose important things.”
Homeless individuals can apply for a free photo ID at any PennDOT Driver’s License Center in the state.