Oregon lawmakers pass measure to waive ID fees for homeless people

Civic Affairs

Bill sponsor says it is meant as one small step toward helping homeless get back on their feet

FILE: Oregon state ID samples (Oregon DMV).

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Beginning next year, people experiencing homelessness in Oregon will be able to get a state identification without paying a fee. 

HB 3026 was passed out of the legislature with bipartisan support Wednesday. It will prevent the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles from charging the $44.50 ID application fee for people experiencing homelessness.

The fee will be waived whether it is for an initial issuing of an ID or a renewal. The DMV will also be barred from issuing a fee for up to two replacement cards. 

Individuals will need to present to the DMV a document verifying their status from a homeless provider to be eligible and from there fill out a free form. 

Rep. Zach Hudson, D-Troutdale, who was one of the chief sponsors of the bill, told KOIN 6 News via email that the measure is meant as part of a broader goal to address homelessness. 

FILE: Oregon Rep. Zach Hudson (courtesy Zach Hudson).

“Providing free ID may only be a small step, but one of the things I have learned while working with community leaders on this issue is that there is no one fix for homelessness. Every barrier we remove helps people get one step closer to having safe, stable housing, a steady job, and access to health care,” he said.

Hudson said this current legislative session is his first time being a legislator and came with the desire to help those experiencing homelessness and helping decrease the number of unhoused people. 

“Oregon has one of the highest rates of homelessness in the nation, and it is not limited to big cities. I learned while serving on the Troutdale City Council how extensive the problem is and how difficult it is for people who are homeless to get back on their feet,” he said. 

Hudson said he thinks statewide investments in housing-first models with wraparound services coordinated with counties and cities is what needs to happen in the long term to address the issue, but that smaller immediate changes can help chip away at some of the barriers unhoused people face.

“Unhoused people often don’t have official identification, which is necessary for housing, employment, and many services. You need ID to cash a check, open a bank account or get a library card, but official ID costs $44.50, which can be prohibitive to some experiencing homelessness, so it was suggested that I sponsor a bill to make official ID free as well.”

Hudson said after he filed the bill, Rep. Lily Morgan (R-Grants Pass) approached him saying she had the same idea for a bill, so they decided to co-sponsor it. 

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