ID cards for the homeless could open doors to health care, housing

Written by on February 12, 2021

ID cards for the homeless could open doors to health care, housing

By Chloe Nouvelle

February 12, 2021

Photo |NPR

Pennsylvania is making it easier for people who are homeless to get free, state-issued ID cards. The Wolf administration says this removes a barrier to getting healthcare and housing.

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More than 13,000 Pennsylvanians were homeless in 2019 according to federal figures. So, late last year, Gov.Tom Wolf signed a law that made state-issued photo IDs free for people who are homeless. The cards usually cost around $31.

“Eliminating barriers to basic needs for individuals experiencing homelessness is simply the right thing to do,” says Teresa Miller, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services.

Miller says given the current economic crisis, there’s never been a more critical time to remove hurdles for people.

“Those IDs may be the key to unlocking a door to services an individual really needs,” she says, including healthcare and housing.

To get the card, people need to go to a PennDOT License Center and meet other requirements. Like providing identification documents which can be a challenge for people who have been evicted. 

“Our identity documents are critical to how we navigate the world,” says Yassmin Gramian, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, “And having an accurate and valid ID is critical for access to health care, housing, employment, and so much more.

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