PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The capital city announced a new initiative Wednesday that would reinstate resident’s licenses that were suspended due to unpaid fines, fees and missed court dates.
The city is partnering with OpenDoors to offer the new “Driver’s License Restoration Program,” which will provide driver’s license reinstatement services for up to 600 Providence residents over a two-year period.
“Being able to drive is critical to so many people in our city, whether it’s getting a job, taking kids to childcare, or just accessing food and other essential items,” Mayor Jorge Elorza said. “We can, and should, help our residents get back on their feet, especially when the city has played a role in imposing fines and fees inequitably.”
The program, according to the city, will provide case management, legal support and financial aid to residents whose driver’s license was suspended as a result of a missed traffic court hearing, unpaid fines from municipal or state court and other monetary-related suspensions.
“We are going to help hundreds of Providence residents that are stuck with suspended licenses and mountains of debt start driving again, start working again, and get home safe,” OpenDoors Community Organizer Brandon Robinson said. “Four years ago, OpenDoors helped me get put on a payment plan and reinstate my license and it changed my life.’
Video Now: Mayor Elorza discusses the new driver’s license restoration program (Story continues below video.)
“I’m excited we will be able to help so many others have the same opportunity,” he continued.
To be eligible, applicants must be Providence residents and have incomes at or below 65% of the area median income. Applicants must also have the proper identification documents, such as an ID, Social Security card or birth certificate.
Applicants won’t be considered for this program if their license was suspended for a moving violation that resulted in a felony conviction.
The applications will be evaluated for financial need and ability to pay related expenses, such as car insurance.
“Driver’s license restoration is critical in removing barriers,” Providence Councilwoman Rachel Miller said. “License restoration fees are one of the hidden costs of being poor in our city — I have seen many men and women shut out of life-changing economic opportunities because of large accrued license restoration fines and fees.”
The program is being funded by the American Rescue Plan Act.