Changes to CalWORKs Homeless Assistance

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has issued guidance regarding changes to the CalWORKs Homeless Assistance program.  16 days of temporary homeless assistance no longer needs to be used consecutively.  Families will be able to receive 16 days of Homeless Assistance cumulative in a 12-month period.  The 16 days of temporary Homeless Assistance will not be exhausted until all 16 days are used, the family resolves their homelessness or 12 months have passed.  The first three days of temporary homeless assistance must still be issued the day the family applies, followed by weekly issuances not to exceed 16 days.

However, this change will be not be effective until it is automated.  CDSS estimates that will take six to nine months.  Counties are encouraged to implement this change using a manual workaround as soon as possible.  CDSS will release the official implementation date later.

Families must still provide receipts verifying temporary Homeless Assistance was spent on shelter.  Counties are encouraged to offer good cause or accept a sworn statement when benefits are not received consecutively and families have not kept their receipts.  Counties are also encouraged to grant good cause or accept a sworn statement of permanent housing search when they do not have proof of their search.

Removal of the consecutive day requirement also applies to Homeless Assistance for persons fleeing domestic violence.  However, those benefits will still be issued in 16 day increments.

Effective January 1, 2020, families will no longer be required to use Homeless Assistance to rent from a person in the business of renting properties.  Families now can use Homeless Assistance to rent from any person or establishment with whom the family executes a valid lease, sublease or shared housing agreement.  This change also allows temporary Homeless Assistance to enter into a short-term lease, sublet or sharing housing arrangement to meet temporary housing needs.  (ACL 19-118, January 2, 2020.)