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Oregon Legislature passes bill to provide free state IDs to people experiencing homelessness

KTVZ file

Fee waiver would require attestation from homeless services provider

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Oregon Legislature gave final passage Wednesday to HB 3026, a bipartisan bill that will waive application fees for state-issued IDs for people experiencing homelessness.

Here's the full text of a news release from Oregon House Democrats:

The bill was introduced by Rep. Zach Hudson (D-Troutdale) and Rep. Lily Morgan (R-Grants Pass). Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, HB 3026 will prohibit the DMV from charging the $44.50 ID card application fee, and would require it to issue up to two free replacement cards within a card expiration period, to people experiencing homelessness.

Applicants could qualify for the fee waiver by obtaining an attestation from a homeless services provider using a form that will be provided by the DMV. The fee waiver will not apply to a driver’s license application. 

An ID is essential for daily life, yet many homeless people lack an ID card for various reasons, including loss, theft, or damage to the card, or an inability to pay for one. Not having an ID could preclude someone from accessing the most basic services and facilities that each of us relies on to live in society, including banking, housing, jobs, government benefits like Social Security and food stamps, and even government stimulus checks, thereby compounding the difficulties of homelessness and preventing people from getting back on their feet.

“Having an ID is essential in order to earn a living, access public and private services, and do just about anything you could think of that people rely on everyday to live – that includes the ability to do things as basic as opening a bank account and applying for housing,” said Rep. Hudson.

“This is a relatively simple and cheap yet effective solution to a major barrier that many people experiencing homelessness encounter that prevents them from even trying to become self-sufficient. With this bill, we’re trying to help people get back on their feet.” 

The bill is supported by homeless services providers throughout the state, including Central City Concern in Portland, Catholic Community Services of Lane County, and Riverfolk in Astoria.

Many service providers already pay the ID fees out-of-pocket for their clients, which adds up to thousands of dollars per year for those organizations; by shifting the financial burden to the state, those organizations will be able to use that money for other vital services. 

Several states and localities around the country, such as Pennsylvania, Utah, and Washington, D.C., already have similar policies. HB 3026 complements Oregon’s existing law that allows individuals experiencing homelessness to get a free or reduced-cost birth certificate, which is often required to apply for an ID card.

The measure passed 22-7 in the Senate on Wednesday, after earlier House passage. HB 3026 is now awaiting the governor’s approval and signature.

Article Topic Follows: Oregon-Northwest

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