Thursday, February 23, 2017
SAMMINISTRIES PLAYS MAJOR ROLE IN PATHWAYS TO EMPLOYMENT ACT
SAMMinistries is assisting Texas Senator Kirk Watson and Representative Elliott Naishtat with legislation which would improve economic self-sufficiency among the homeless by providing these individuals with a basic necessity for gainful employment – a valid Texas photo ID.
Senate Bill 876 was sponsored by Senator Watson (District 14 in Austin) and House Bill 1675 by Representative Naishtat (District 49 in Austin) which are known as the Pathways to Employment Act. The bills specify that no more than 10,000 homeless people may receive an exemption per biennium.
Both bills instruct the Texas Department of Public Safety to waive the $16 fee associated with obtaining a Texas photo identification card if applicants verify their homeless status with an affidavit.
SAMMinistries assisted both legislators to understand the severity of homelessness in the state. In addition, the charity provided homeless data on a statewide basis which shows an increase in homeless families as well as major unemployment increases.
“It is not uncommon for individuals facing homelessness to lose or leave behind many of their belongings, including personal identification,” Rep. Naishtat said. “This legislation is crucial because without an ID, people do not have access to services, access to permanent housing, or access to employment opportunities. This proposal will help to lift individuals out of the cycle of homelessness.”
Navarra Williams, president and CEO of SAMMinistries, says, “We applaud Sen. Watson and Rep. Naishtat for sponsoring a bill that would encourage economic self-sufficiency to the most vulnerable of our population...homeless individuals.”
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