Advocacy

Join Us to Increase Access to Massachusetts Identification Cards for People Experiencing Homelessness

#EveryoneNeedsID

Join Us to Increase Access to Massachusetts Identification Cards for People Experiencing Homelessness
Posted June 13, 2017; last updated August 20, 2018
 

** August 2018 update: Please sign our updated one-minute online action to House Speaker Robert DeLeo and House Ways and Means Chair Jeff Sánchez, asking them to move forward Senate Bill 2568, An Act to provide identification to homeless youth and families.**

Obtaining a state identification card is a critical first step for youth and adults experiencing homelessness to accomplish typical life tasks and access opportunities. ID is required for a broad range of life activities, such as:


·         Applying for jobs

·         Enrolling in education programs

·         Getting a library card

·         Picking up a package from the post office

·         Opening financial accounts

·         Entering certain government buildings

·         Accessing services

·         Interacting with law enforcement

Join our campaign to pass legislation to eliminate fees and reduce barriers to accessing Massachusetts identification cards by people experiencing homelessness: An Act to Provide Identification to Homeless Youth and Families, filed by Senator Harriette Chandler (Senate Bill 2568, formerly Senate Bill 1906) and Representative Kay Khan (House Bill 2737). The bill calls on the Registry of Motor Vehicles to waive the $25 fee for Mass IDs for applicants who are experiencing homelessness, and to accept alternative verifications of Massachusetts residency from state agencies and social service agencies.

The latest fact sheet is linked here as a PDF. Please sign our one-minute online action to House Speaker Robert DeLeo and House Ways and Means Chair Jeff Sánchez, asking them to move the bill forward.

 *If your organization would like to become an official endorser of this campaign, please 
complete this form.*

Bill History:

The Joint Committee on Transportation heard the bills at two hearings, on November 13, 2017 and December 6, 2017. The Committee then reported out favorably House Bill 2737/Senate Bill 1906 on December 27, 2017. House Bill 2737 was sent to House Ways and Means, and Senate Bill 1906 was sent to Senate Ways and Means.

Senate Ways and Means made slight modifications to Senate Bill 1906, and reported it out favorably as Senate Bill 2568 on June 21, 2018. The full Senate unanimously passed An Act to Provide Identification to Homeless Youth and Families, 37-0, on June 28, 2018. The bill officially was assigned to the House Committee on Ways and Means on July 2, 2018. The newest fact sheet is here. The Boston Globe and the Associated Press covered the bill's movement. 

Read more about the November 13th hearing, watch videos from the December 6th hearing on our YouTube channel, and read testimonies from both hearings below: 

- Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless, 11-13-17 testimony (and PDF) and 12-6-18 testimony
- Homeless Empowerment Project
- Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth
- Y2Y Harvard Square
- Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice

Read direct media coverage of the bill:

- Spare Change News: House bill would waive fees, eliminate address requirement for state IDs (8-1-18)
- Beacon Hill Roll Call: Homeless [people] obtaining IDs (S. 2568) - Wicked Local Norwood (7-29-18)
- Boston Globe: State considers new ID for homeless [people] (6-28-18)
- Boston Globe: When public buildings put up a wall (12-21-17)



See related coverage on this issue:

- Boston Globe:When "public" buildings cease being fully public (12-17-17)
- American Bar Association:Proving I exist: Strategies for assisting youth in obtaining identification documents (10-2-17)
- Washington Post: The invisibles: The cruel Catch-22 of being poor with no ID (6-15-17)


For more information, please contact Kelly at kelly @mahomeless.org