Can a homeless person get a deduction for shelter expenses?

Homeless people can get a “homeless shelter deduction” instead of the regular excess shelter deduction. [MPP § 63-502.351.] The homeless shelter deduction allows people who are homeless, and expect to spend or have spent any amount of money on shelter. [7 C.F.R. § 273.9(d)(6)(i); MPP § 63-502.351.]

No proof is required before or after the fact. [MPP § 63-502.353; ACIN I-15-23.] If the person gets the homeless shelter deduction, no utility cost is allowed (such as a “telephone utility allowance”). [MPP § 63-502.351.]

If the household spends more on shelter than more than the homeless shelter deduction amount, and can show it, then it can deduct the higher amount (i.e., towards the excess shelter deduction). [See MPP § 63-502.353; ACIN I-73-04.]

If a household experiencing homelessness is living in a vehicle, reasonably anticipated or recurring maintenance costs of the vehicle, including vehicle payments, and collision and comprehensive insurance premiums, are allowable shelter costs.  [ACIN I-15-23.]  Costs of overnight parking and camping fees are also valid shelter expenses.  [Id.]  Expenses that occur less than monthly can be averaged over the period for which they are paid.  [Id.]

Costs of fuel to operate a vehicle are not allowable shelter or utility costs.  [Id.]  However, the cost of gasoline for a generator, propane or firewood are allowable utility expenses.  [Id.]  Liability and medical insurance premiums are not allowable shelter costs.  [Id.]  The cost of ice for keeping food fresh is not an allowable deduction because ice is a food item that can be bought with CalFresh benefits.  [Id.]

Households experiencing homelessness that have utility costs but not shelter costs may claim a utility allowance.  [Id.]

A household that is eligible for the Homeless Shelter Deduction is not eligible for the $20.01 State Utility Assistance Subsidy.  If a household would receive a higher benefit allotment with the Standard Utility Deduction than with the Homeless Shelter Deduction, the household is eligible for the State Utility Assistance Subsidy.  [Id.]