Homeless rights in the CalFresh program

The homeless have all the same rights under the CalFresh program that any other people do. Homeless people also have some special rights.

Who is homeless? An individual is homeless if the person:

  • Has no fixed, regular place you sleep at night; or
  • Lives in a shelter, an armory, or a welfare hotel: or
  • Lives in a half-way house; or
  • Is living for less than 90 days in someone else’s home; or
  • Lives somewhere that people do not usually live, such as a doorway, a lobby, a bus station, a hallway, a car, or a subway.

[7 C.F.R. § 271.2; MPP § 63-102(h)(2)(A)-(D) (definition of “homeless individual”).]

Here’s the basic drill:

No Address is necessary: The county welfare office cannot make homeless people give a mailing address if they do not have one. [7 C.F.R. §§ 273.2, 273.3(a) ; MPP § 63-401.5.] Homeless people can get benefits even if they have no fixed mailing address or live on the street. [7 C.F.R. § 273.3(a); MPP 63-401.5.]

CalFresh benefits for shelter residents: Homeless people can get CalFresh benefits even if they live in a shelter and get free meals there. [7 C.F.R. § 273.1(b)(7)(vi)(E); MPP § 63-402.46.] To get CalFresh benefits, a homeless person does not have to have any place to cook or store food.[7 C.F.R. § 273.3(a); MPP § 63-402.46.]

No Semi-Annual Reports: Homeless individuals do not have to file a semi-annual SAR 7 Eligibility Status Report.” But to get this exception, the entire household must be homeless. [7 U.S.C. § 2015(c)(1)(A)(ii); 7 C.F.R. § 273.21(b)(1)(ii); MPP § 63-505.214.]

Homeless Youth: The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has issued formal directives about the rights of homeless youth. [ACIN I-39-13 and ACL 13-104.]