New law provides free IDs for homeless

Local News

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) said that those who experiencing homelessness are now able to obtain a free initial photo ID or renew a photo ID.

According to a release, this is the result of Act 131 of 2020, which Governor Tom Wolf signed into law in late 2020.

“All Pennsylvanians deserve access to the basic needs we all have: adequate food, safe housing, quality health care and clean water,” DHS Secretary Teresa Miller said.

PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian also added that this law will make “significant changes” to increasing residents’ independence.

The law covers initial issuance and renewals for photo IDs for those who qualify for free issuance due to homelessness as defined in Section 103 of McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act.

“Difficulty getting IDs, including because of lack of funds, is a huge barrier for our clients who are homeless,” Amy Hirsch, managing attorney for Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, said. “Not having an ID makes it very difficult to get housing, medical care, to find a job and to get other types of help.”

She said that getting an ID will help stabilize their lives.

More information can be found on the Driver and Vehicle Services’ website.

Help is also available for Pennsylvanians who need assistance with paying for food, accessing health care and other essential needs. Applications for public assistance programs can be submitted online at

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