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February 21, 2023 1:06pm

Homeless ID bill advances in House

On Tuesday, the House Transportation Committee unanimously passed House Bill 21 to streamline the process for homeless individuals to obtain state identification cards. HB 21, sponsored by Rep. Randy Bridges (R-Paducah), amends the current process making it easier for those without a fixed address to access much-needed services including housing, medical treatment, and employment.

GLI applauds Rep. Bridges for his leadership on this issue and the Transportation committee members for their support. The bill now moves to the full House for consideration.

House Bill 21 makes three key changes to the process:

  1. Reduces the cost per identification from $10 to $5.
  2. Allows for homeless 16 and 17 year olds to obtain identification without parental consent. This helps youth who have no relationship with their parents or are in state custody to get an ID, stay in school, and begin the process of exploring college or career training.
  3. Allows for a homeless person to renew their drivers license. Oftentimes, homeless individuals working with service providers still have a car and a job; providing them a path to maintain their drivers license allows them to continue to work and provide transportation for their families.

Under this bill, an unsheltered person needs a birth certificate, a social security card, and a social service provided form attesting that they lack a fixed address. There are approximately 6,000 Kentuckians that interact with homeless services across the state and identification could be provided to them at a cost of about $25,000 per year.

In Louisville, the homeless population has risen 41% in the last three years, according to the Coalition for the Homeless. Updating Kentucky’s current laws will ensure that those experiencing homelessness face less barriers to access service and will help service providers, who bear the cost of the ID’s, to meet the growing demand for assistance.