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 July 2, 2018
 

** June 28, 2018 update: Wonderful news! The full Senate unanimously passed An Act to Provide Identification to Homeless Youth and Families today, 37-0.  See Senate Bill 2568 (formerly Senate Bill 1906). Please thank your Senator. Contact information for your Senator: www.wheredoivotema.com; State House switchboard: 617-722-7000. Now the bill will head to the House. The newest fact sheet  is here. The Boston Globe and the Associated Press covered the bill's movement.


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 latest fact sheet is linked here as a PDF. 

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

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.

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

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

See related coverage on this issue:
- Washington Post: "The invisibles: The cruel Catch-22 of being poor with no ID" (6-15-17)
- American Bar Association:
"Proving I exist: Strategies for assisting youth in obtaining identification documents"(10-2-17)
- Boston Globe:
"When ‘public’ buildings cease being fully public" (12-17-17)
- Boston Globe: "When public buildings put up a wall" (12-21-17)

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