MHA Applauds Senate Passage of Bill Facilitating RMV Identification Cards for the Homeless

SPRINGFIELD — As a long-time provider of services to the homeless, the Mental Health Assoc. (MHA) issued a statement welcoming the state Senate’s passage of Bill 2612 to allow the Commonwealth’s Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) to issue a state identification card to the homeless while waiving accompanying fees. It allows a homeless individual or an unaccompanied homeless youth to submit proof of state residence from a homeless services provider or from a state agency that has provided them with services.

“As states have become compliant with Congress’ 2005 REAL ID Act, which requires several proofs of identification, such as a Social Security card and birth certificate, for a REAL-ID compliant identification card, the ability for the RMV to issue a second type of state ID has become increasingly important,” said Christine Palmieri, vice president, Recovery & Housing at MHA. “Allowing the RMV to accept alternative residency documents for this enables a homeless individual to have proof of residence without having to spend countless hours navigating other systems to obtain such proof.

“A recent state survey found more than half of the responding young people who met the definition of an unaccompanied homeless youth had no valid ID,” she went on. “MHA understands, firsthand, the significance of having a valid ID that supports those experiencing homelessness in their ability to become stabilized, and to live their best life. MHA applauds senators for moving this legislation forward and hopes the House — where similar legislation, Bill 3515, is in the Ways and Means Committee — will do the same. It can be the key that unlocks the door to housing and other services for thousands in need.”