A sample Pennsylvania driver’s license (PennDOT)
Good Tuesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, in partnership with the state Department of Human Services, has started offering free identification cards, and free renewals to people who are experiencing homelessness, the two agencies have announced.
“All Pennsylvanians deserve access to the basic needs we all have: adequate food, safe housing, quality health care and clean water. Eliminating barriers to basic needs for individuals experiencing homelessness is simply the right thing to do,” Human Services Department Secretary Teresa Miller said in a statement.
To get an ID card, people experiencing homelessness have to apply in person at a PennDOT Driver License Center. Once there, they have to tell a clerk that they’re applying for a free ID, or seeking a renewal. They’ll also be required to provide a letter from a shelter attesting that the person is staying there, or uses the shelter as a mailing address, the two agencies said in a statement.
For a renewal of a photo ID, the applicant will be required to certify on their application that they’re experiencing homelessness, and the fee will be waived, the agencies said.
“Difficulty getting IDs, including because of lack of funds, is a huge barrier for many of our clients who are homeless, and not having an ID makes it very difficult to get housing, to get medical care, to find a job, and to get other types of help,” Amy Hirsch, the Managing Attorney at Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, said. “Getting an ID is a tremendously important step forward for people who are homeless that helps people stabilize their lives, and take care of themselves and their children. We are excited that this program removes the barrier caused by needing to pay for a state ID.“
The law is the latest expansion in license services offered by PennDOT. Last July, the agency announced that it would begin offering non-binary designations on drivers licenses and photo identification cards, the Capital-Star’s Cassie Miller reported. With that move, Pennsylvania became the 16th state in the nation to offer a non-binary option on licenses and ID cards.
Rafael Alvarez Febo, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Commission on LGBTQ Affairs, called the change “a very important step toward better serving Pennsylvanians of all gender identities.”
“Your state issued ID is quite possibly the most important identity document you use on a daily basis,” Febo said, “it should reflect your truth.”
And if you’re experiencing homelessness or going through a hard time during the pandemic, there are avenues of assistance.
Applications for public assistance programs can be submitted online at www.compass.state.pa.us. Those who prefer to submit paper documentation can pick one up from their local County Assistance Office (CAO), print it from the website, or request by phone at 1-800-692-7462. While county offices are closed to the public during the pandemic, you can apply through the mail or drop your paperwork into a secure dropbox, if available, officials said. You don’t need to know whether you’re eligible for assistance to apply.
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What Goes On.
Budget hearings get rolling in the House Appropriations Committee today. All sessions will be live-streamed from the state House chamber. Here’s the day’s schedule:
10 a.m: Department of Revenue/Lottery
1 p.m.: Independent Fiscal Office
3 p.m.: Department of Aging
You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.
Best wishes go out this morning to Abby Foster at the Bravo Group in Harrisburg, and to veteran PR hand and broadcaster Nell McCormack Abom, both of whom celebrate today. Congratulations, friends. Enjoy the day.
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Tuesday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link.
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And now you’re up to date.
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