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CalWORKs Handbook: 44-02.07: Homeless Assistance

Revised Date: October 18, 2011

Effective Date: December 18, 2007

Published Date: December 18, 2007

Published By: E117

 

PURPOSE

This handbook is being republished to remind staff of the Domestic Violence/Abuse protocol outlined in CalWORKs Handbook 42-7.7 when a HA applicant identifies himself/herself as a victim of domestic violence, including when qualifying for an exception to the once-in-lifetime rule. See section VI. below. Changes have been highlighted in blue.

 

SUMMARY

This Handbook includes the regulatory changes as of July 12, 2006 in the Homeless Assistance (HA) program, and is a revision to the previous Handbook issued 10/28/99. Incorporated within this handbook are the new CalWIN instructions which became effective May 8, 2007.

  TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. Definition
II. Liquid Resources
III. Shelter Available at Low Cost
IV. Once-In-A-Lifetime Homeless Assistance
V. Incidence of Homeless
VI. Exceptions To Once-In-A-Lifetime
VII. Verification of 12 Month Exception
VIII. Homeless Assistance Statement of Facts
IX. Payment Information
A. Rules

B. Eligible Providers
X. Mismanagement
XI. Vendor Pay
XII. Homeless Mail
XIII. Temporary Shelter (TS)
A. Verifying Homelessness
B. Apparently Eligible
C. Search for Permanent Housing
D.
Failure to Provide Evidence of Searching for Permanent Housing
E.
Good Cause for Not Searching for Permanent Housing
F.
Temporary Shelter Payment Time Frames
G.
Acceptable Temporary Shelters
H. Fraud Referrals
I. Temporary Shelter Payment Amounts
J.
HA Payments for Customers Residing in Shelters

XIV. Permanent Homeless Assistance
A.
Permanent Housing (PH)
B. Permanent Homeless Arrearage (PHA)
C. Total Monthly Household Income (TMHI)
D. Payment Time Frames for PH and PHA
E.
Verification of Permanent Housing
F. Shared Housing
G. Subsidized Housing
H.
Security Deposit
I. Utility Deposit
J. Verification of Permanent Housing Payment
K. Return to Former Residence
L. Security Deposit Refund
XV. Inter-County Transfer (ICT) Cases
XVI. Overpayments
XVII. Aid Paid Pending
XVIII. IEVS System Record of HA Payments
  References

Updates to HA Program

1. The daily rate for Temporary HA has increased from $40 per day to $65 per day for a family of 4 or less. Add $15 per day for each additional family member up to a maximum of $125 daily.
2. The homelessness criteria has been redefined to include families who have received a notice to pay rent or quit.
3. The rent threshold for Permanent HA has changed from 80 percent of the Maximum Aid Payment (MAP) level to 80 percent of the Total Monthly Household Income (TMHI).
4. Counties must provide for payments up to two months of back rent or arrearages to prevent homelessness. Each month of rent arrearages is also limited to 80 percent of the TMHI.

 

Important Reminders:

  • The temporary shelter and permanent homeless assistance payments are available "once-in-a-lifetime", with certain verified exceptions.
  • A family that becomes homeless as a direct and primary result of a state or federally declared natural disaster is eligible for temporary shelter and permanent homeless assistance regardless of when they previously received HA.
  • The AU must provide verification of exceptional circumstances for the "once-in-a-lifetime" 12-month exceptions from third-party governmental or private health and human services agency.

 

GENERAL

Homeless Assistance (HA) is granted for a continuous period of homelessness that is caused by the same specific circumstance to a CalWORKs eligible Assistance Unit (AU) or apparently eligible CalWORKs applicant. The period of homelessness is limited to one period of up to a maximum of 16 consecutive calendar days of temporary shelter (TS) and one payment of permanent housing (PH). THA is available once-in-a-lifetime to prevent eviction, to meet the costs of temporary shelter while the AU is seeking permanent housing and to meet the reasonable cost of securing permanent housing. There are exceptions to the once-in-a-lifetime rule.

 

I. DEFINITION

An AU is considered homeless when the AU:

  • Lacks a fixed and regular nighttime residence; or,
  • Has a primary nighttime residence that is a supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations; or,
  • Is residing in a public or private place not designed for , or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings, such as a hallway, bus station or car; or,
  • Receives a notice to pay rent or quit (Limited to those that meet certain criteria. Refer to Section XIV. B).

In addition, the AU must have a need for housing:

  • In a commercial establishment;
  • In a shelter;
  • In a publicly-funded transitional housing; or,
  • From a person in the business of renting properties who has a history of renting properties.

Note: The cause of the AU's homelessness is irrelevant to HA eligibility unless the homelessness is due to one of the once-in-a-lifetime exceptions.

 

Example 1

A CalWORKs family is evicted from their apartment. A friend offers to let them stay until some other temporary shelter is found. The family meets the definition of homelessness because:

  • They lack a fixed and regular nighttime residence; and,
  • They have a need for housing in a commercial establishment.

Example 2

An otherwise eligible AU, who temporarily resides with another family, requests HA payments to obtain separate housing. The client meets the definition of homeless because:

  • They lack a fixed and regular nighttime residence; and,
  • They have a need for housing in a commercial establishment.

 

An AU is not considered homeless in the following situations:

 

Example 1:

A pregnant mother and two children are receiving CalWORKs and are living in a home. The mother leaves for no apparent reason, so the grandmother moves into the home to care for the children. The pregnant mother requests HA for herself. Since the mother has a home, which she could return to at any time, she is not considered homeless.

Example 2:

The recipient states that the home she has been living in has an electrical problem, so she doesn't want to live there. The AU is not considered homeless. HA payments are not available as a means to upgrade a person's living accommodations when they already have a home.

Example 3:

An AU has a home in Los Angeles. The mother and child arrive in Alameda County for medical treatment. They are not considered homeless, but instead, temporarily absent from their home.

Note: Although an AU may meet the definition of homeless, a HA payment is not issued to an AU if it is established that:

  • the AU has shelter at no cost;
  • If it has over $100 in nonexempt liquid resources.

 

II. LIQUID RESOURCES

The AU cannot have liquid resources in excess of $100 to be eligible for HA.

Note: Money received in a given month, which meets the definition of income, is not counted as a liquid resource until the following month, and then only to the extent it is retained.

 

The resource limit for HA is determined at the time of application for HA. Liquid resources include those resources which are, or can be made immediately available. This includes:

  • Cash;
  • Bank Accounts;
  • Stocks, bonds, etc.

Note: Items such as the cash surrender value (CSV) of insurance, mortgages, trust deeds, household furnishings, automobiles, etc. are not considered liquid resources.

 

III. SHELTER AVAILABLE AT NO COST

HA cannot be issued if the Eligibility Technician (ET) determines that the AU has shelter at no cost, even if they meet the criteria above. The ET will deny the HA application and send a denial Notice of Action (NOA).

 

IV. ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME HOMELESS ASSISTANCE

The first time an AU receives a temporary shelter and/or permanent housing payment is considered the once-in-a-lifetime HA payment regardless of the reason for the homelessness.

  • A homeless assistance payment may be granted for either, or both, temporary shelter or permanent housing.
  • An AU may be granted temporary shelter assistance, if eligibility requirements are met, after a permanent housing payment has been received when the AU still needs temporary shelter prior to assuming occupancy of the permanent housing, provided that the temporary shelter 16-day limit has not expired.
  • A permanent housing payment may be granted whether or not a payment for temporary shelter has been issued.

 

V. INCIDENCE OF HOMELESSNESS

If eligible, an AU will be granted HA for one incident of a continuous period homelessness that is caused by the same specific circumstance.

Example

On 6/13, an AU applies for HA. They receive TS benefits for the full 16-consecutive calendar-day period 6/13-6/28. On 8/10, the recipient completes the CW 42 requesting the PH benefits as she has found permanent housing. The ET determines that the AU qualifies for the PH benefits because the AU has been continuously homeless since 6/13. The AU's homelessness is still caused by the same circumstances for which they received TS benefits, and the new housing amount is not more than 80% of the TMHI.

 

VI. EXCEPTIONS TO THE ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME RESTRICTION

A. Temporary shelter and permanent housing payments are each limited to once-in-a-lifetime, with the following exceptions:

  • When the direct and primary cause of the AU's homelessness is a state or federally declared natural disaster, there is no time limit for receipt of HA benefits.

B. HA payments are limited to only one incident of homeless assistance in a 12-month period when homelessness is the result of any of the following exceptions:

  • Domestic abuse by a spouse, partner, roommate;
  • Uninhabitability of the former residence caused by sudden and unusual circumstances beyond the applicant/recipient's control which includes, but is not limited to:
    1. fire;
    2. natural catastrophe; or,
    3. condemnation.
  • A medically verified physical or mental illness, excluding alcoholism, drug addiction or psychological stress.

Note:
1. The applicant must provide written statements of copies of reports from: Police departments; Fire departments; The Red Cross; Health department; or, any other agencies authorized to verify uninhabitability of the former residence.
2. There is no 12-month waiting period between receipt of the once-in-a-lifetime benefit and when an AU may receive HA under an exception.
3. Payment for temporary shelter and permanent housing under an exception will only be authorized for a continuous period of homelessness caused by the same specific circumstances.

Reminder:
If the applicant mentions Domestic Violence (DV) in their HA request, they must be referred to a Social Worker via form 50-160. The Social Worker will make the determination if they qualify for an exception to the homeless once-in-a-lifetime rule due to DV. Refer to CalWORKs Handbook 42-7.7 CalWORKs Domestic Violence/Abuse Policies and Procedures for Waivers and Exemptions.

Example

An AU receives temporary shelter payments in January 2007 for a verified exception of domestic violence. After receiving the temporary shelter payments, the AU returns to the former residence. In March 2007, the AU requests permanent housing with a CW 42 showing uninhabitability as the reason for homelessness. Since the AU had not been continuously homeless and the exception is different from that under which temporary shelter payment was issued, the ET determines the AU is not eligible for the permanent housing payment.

 

VII. VERIFICATION OF 12 MONTH EXCEPTION

The AU must provide verification of the exceptional circumstance(s) described above, which resulted in the AU's homelessness before a homeless payment is issued. These circumstances must be verified through a third-party governmental or private health and human services agency. Example of acceptable verification includes, but is not limited to:

Exception

Verification

Domestic Violence

Effective January 1, 2008, the recipient can verify domestic violence by sworn statement for up to two periods of temporary and two periods of permanent homeless due to an exception, after which DV will then be verified by the following by the Social Worker:

Copies of records or reports from:

  • Police departments;
  • Medical facilities;
  • Adult and Child Protective Services;
  • Family Service Bureau;
  • Crisis Counseling Service Agencies; or,
  • Statements from battered women shelters, signed by an administrator, counselor, or designated staff member.
  • Physical or Mental Illness Excluding Drug Addiction, Alcoholism, or Psychological Stress

  • Medical verification from the appropriate treating physician;
  • State certified nurse;
  • Nurse practitioner;
  • Physician's assistant;
  • Therapist;
  • Psychologist;
  • Licensed counselor; or,
  • Medical or clinical personnel with access to the patient's records who can verify the diagnosis.
  • Uninhabitability of Residence

    Written statements or copies of reports from:

  • Police departments;
  • Fire departments;
  • The Red Cross;
  • Health department; or,
  • Any other agencies authorized to verify the uninhabitability of the former residence.
  •  

    Example

    An AU applies for HA under the exception of a mental condition. The AU had been homeless for some time, and had no interim contact with any governmental or private health or human services agency which could verify that homelessness was caused by the mental condition. The AU was able to provide proof of the mental condition from a psychologist and a written statement from the former landlord stating that the AU was evicted because of disruptive behavior toward the other tenants. Based on the verification provided by the AU, the county determines that the AU is eligible for homeless assistance due to the mental illness exception.

     

    VIII. HOMELESS ASSISTANCE STATEMENT OF FACTS

    The AU must complete a separate Statement of Facts for Homeless Assistance (CW 42) to apply for temporary and permanent homeless assistance. The Statement of Facts for Homeless Assistance is designed to gather information specific to the elements of eligibility for the nonrecurring special need for homeless assistance.

    • The CW42 informs HA applicants that these benefits are limited to once-in-a-lifetime, with exceptions, and that the temporary shelter payment of up to 16 consecutive days is only available during this period. Also, once this period ends, these benefits are exhausted, even if the AU has not received all 16 days of temporary shelter payments.

    Note: A SAWS1/SAWS2 must be completed, if necessary to determine apparent eligibility for CalWORKs.

     

     

    IX. PAYMENT INFORMATION

    A. Rules:

    An otherwise eligible AU that has received a homeless assistance payment at any time on behalf of an eligible child, is not eligible for further homeless assistance payments, except under the following conditions:

    • There is a new caretaker relative who was not living with the AU at the time the original homeless assistance payment was issued; and,
    • The caretaker has not previously received temporary and/or permanent homeless assistance on behalf of or as part of another AU; and,
    • The former caretaker is no longer living in the home with the AU.

    Any adult living with an AU at the time HA is authorized who later becomes the caretaker for that AU is not eligible for additional HA, unless the AU qualifies under an exception.

    Example 1

    The parent of the mother in the AU (i.e. the grandmother of the child) resides with the AU at the time when the AU becomes homeless and receives TS and PH payments. After locating an moving into permanent housing, the mother leaves the home and the grandmother becomes the caretaker relative. The AU once again become homeless. Since the grandmother lived with the AU at the time HA was received, she is not eligible for further HA benefits for the AU unless the AU qualifies under one of the exceptions.

    Example 2

    Both parents are in the home and receive HA. The mother leaves the home and becomes the needy caretaker relative in another AU/case for her two nephews. She cannot receive HA again, unless the HA payment is made based on an exception.

     

    B. Eligible Providers:

    Another criteria to receive HA is that the provider of the housing must be one of the following:

    • A commercial establishment;
    • A shelter;
    • A publicly funded transitional housing; or,
    • A person in the business of renting properties, who has a history of renting properties.

    Note: The provider must be the legal owner or the legal owner's representative.

     

    Important: If the AU fails to pay a provider, the ET will issue any further payments as restricted (vendor) payments.

     

    X. MISMANAGEMENT

    The worker must comply with an AU's written request to make payments to the AU or to the providers of temporary shelter, permanent housing or utilities unless money mismanagement exists.

    The worker must make direct payments to providers of temporary shelter, permanent housing or utilities for any future HA payments associated with the incident of homelessness when the worker establishes that mismanagement of CalWORKs cash assistance exists.

    A. Mismanagement exists when:

    • The worker determines that the HA payment was not used for shelter; or,
    • The AU fails to provide verification that the temporary shelter payment was spent on shelter and/or that the permanent housing payment was spent appropriately; or,
    • The AU provides verification that shows the homeless assistance payment was not paid to a commercial establishment, shelter, publicly funded transitional housing, or person in the business of renting property; or,
    • The recipient's homelessness is the result of the failure to pay rent, with the exception of:
        1. A rent increase which results in the AU's share of the rent being over 80 percent (%) of the Total Monthly Household Income (TMHI), without special needs, for an AU of that size;
        2. Reasonable cause to withhold rent as part of tenants' right; and,
        3. Domestic violence by a spouse, partner, or roommate.

     

    XI. VENDOR PAY

    The ET will set up the split payment in CalWIN and do the following when restricted (vendor) payments are issued:

    • Arrange for office pick up of vendor check by AU; or,
    • Mail warrant directly to the provider.

    Note: For instructions on how to set up split payments, refer to CalWIN How To # 221 Set Up Vendor Payments.

    XII. HOMELESS MAIL

    Homeless recipients have the option of:

    1. Using a mailing address; or,
    2. Pick up their Social Services county mail at the county Social Services office which is located in the area in which they reside.

     

    The mailing address will be the actual office address. We DO NOT use the P.O. Box address. Refer to CalWIN How To # 133 for intake and #134 for district on how to enter the homeless mailing address in CalWIN.

    Form 50-67 will be given to homeless recipients notifying them of their responsibilities including but not limited to:

    • Pick up mail at least once a week;
    • Pick up monthly grant check if exempt from cash EBT;
    • Pick up Medi-Cal card;
    • Pick up, complete and submit a QR 7  by the 11th of the month in which it is due, but no later than the first of the following month;
    • Report within ten days the following:
      1. Any household member convicted of a drug felony;
      2. Combined earnings and unearned income exceed the IRT for your family size; and,
      3. New Address.

    Note: Recipients must provide identification upon picking up their homeless mail.

     

    XIII. TEMPORARY SHELTER (TS)

    The Temporary Shelter (TS) payment is available only once-in-a-lifetime, unless the applicant/recipient meets an exception. Temporary Shelter may be available for a period not to exceed 16 consecutive calendar days beginning the first day a TS payment is issued. The AU must request all temporary shelter before the end of the 16-day limit. Once this period ends, these benefits are exhausted, even if the AU has not received all 16 days of temporary shelter benefits.

    To receive a TS payment, the AU must:

    • Provide verification of the family's homelessness;
    • Be eligible or "apparently eligible" for CalWORKs;
    • Provide evidence of a search for permanent housing;
    • Meet the technical conditions of eligibility as specified in Section 40-129.214(a).

     

    A. Verifying Homelessness

    The worker must verify the AU's homelessness within the first three workdays. If the worker is unable to verify that the AU is homeless, the AU must complete and sign a statement under penalty of perjury which includes the following information:

    1. Location where the AU is currently staying.
    2. Name, address and phone number of previous landlord.
    3. A statement of liability for providing false information.

    Note: If the AU is not issued TS benefits because the worker is unable to verify its homeless due to failure to cooperate, but subsequently the AU meets the requirements, the AU shall continue to receive TS benefits as otherwise eligible. No payment shall be issued for days during which non-cooperation existed.

     

    B. Apparently Eligible:

    "Apparently eligible" means that the evidence and/or information provided on the SAWS1/SAWS2 indicate that there would be CalWORKs eligibility when verification is complete.

    In determining an apparently eligible AU, do not include the following:

    • An applicant who does not provide verification of his/her eligible alien status; or,
    • A woman with no eligible child(ren) who does not provide medical verification of pregnancy; or,
    • Excluded individuals including: drug felons; undocumented noncitizens, timed out and sanctioned individuals.

    Note: The daily rates for temporary homeless assistance do not apply to excluded family members and only apply to eligible members in the AU.

    C. Search for Permanent Housing

    To be eligible for subsequent TS payments, the AU must:

    • Provide verification of shelter expenditures and a housing search to receive reimbursement for TS assistance for expenses incurred within the 16-day period;
    • A minimum of one contact with prospective landlords for each day the AU receives TS benefits is required unless the AU has good cause for not searching for housing. The AU may contact prospective landlords in person, by telephone, or in writing.

    The ET will:

    • Provide a Permanent Housing Search form CA 74 to the customer to document the search for housing.

     

    Note: These contacts do not need to be made one on each day. If the client received a 3-day payment, three contacts are required, but could all have been on one day.

     

    Example

    A client requests TS benefits on Monday and is issued three days of benefits and a Permanent Housing Search form (Form CA 74). The client returns on Thursday with Form CA 74 which indicates that the client made two contacts on Wednesday and one on Thursday. If otherwise eligible for HA, the worker will issue an additional TS payment of up to 7 days.

    D. Failure to Provide Evidence of Searching for Permanent Housing

    No subsequent TS payments will be issued if the AU has not searched for or provided evidence of searching for permanent housing. If the AU subsequently meets the search requirements within the 16-consecutive day period, the AU can continue to receive TS benefits as otherwise eligible. No payment shall be issued for those days during which noncooperation existed.

    Example

    A client requests, and is issued 5 days of TS benefits beginning Friday. The client comes in on Wednesday, but did not document any housing contacts. The client cannot be issued additional TS until the 5 contacts are documented. If client provides the completed form on Wednesday, additional TS can be issued for up to 7 days beginning Wednesday. If the client comes in on Thursday with the documentation, additional benefits can be issued beginning Thursday

    E. Good Cause for Not Searching for Permanent Housing:

    Good cause includes, but is not limited to, these situations:

    • The AU does not have access to a telephone, either having one itself, or through a friend, shelter or public place, and the AU also has no transportation and is living in a rural setting that makes public transportation unfeasible; or,
    • The permanent housing located by the AU is not yet available for occupancy.

     

    F. Temporary Shelter Payment Time Frame

    • A payment for TS must be issued or denied within the same working day in which the AU requests HA.
    • When the ET arranges interim shelter, the payment may be made no later than the close of business on the working day following the request.
    • When it is known, with reasonable certainty, that an otherwise eligible family will become homeless during a weekend or holiday, (e.g., when an eviction notice is effective on a Saturday or Sunday), the worker must issue the homeless payment or arrange interim shelter on Friday, or the last working day in order to cover the weekend or holiday.
    • After homelessness has been verified, benefits will be issued on a weekly basis thereafter up to seven days for a maximum of 16 consecutive calendar days.
    • If homelessness has not been verified, an initial TS payment will be issued for up to three (3) working days plus any nonworking days (i.e. Holiday or weekend) that fall within the three (3) working days.

    Example

    An AU requests TS on a Thursday. The following Monday is a holiday, and the County will be closed. The worker will issue TS benefits for six (6) days to pay for Thursday through Tuesday night's shelter.
    • An AU may receive the TS payment after the PH payment has been issued if the permanent housing will not be available until a future date provided that the TS 16-day limit has not expired.

     

    G. Acceptable Temporary Shelters

    TS payments will only be made to acceptable providers. The AU must verify that TS payments were made to acceptable shelter providers. The provider of the TS must be one of the following:

      1. Commercial establishment, such as a motel;
      2. Shelter (with cost);
      3. Publicly-funded transitional housing; or,
      4. Person in the business of renting property with a history of renting property.

    Note: If a TS payment is made based on the expectation that the client will get shelter with cost from a commercial establishment, etc.; and the client subsequently obtains unacceptable shelter or shelter at no cost, NO overpayment exists.

    Important: Failure to provide verification that the TS payment was paid to an acceptable shelter provider will result in subsequent TS payments being vendor paid. (Refer to Section X. Mismanagement above.)

     

    H. Fraud Referrals

    The ET will make a referral to the Fraud Early Detection (FRED) unit to verify homelessness when:

    • An allegation of fraud has been made; or,
    • The ET observes conditions, which based on knowledge of the case, provide reason to suspect that fraud exists or has been attempted.

     

    Note: Other than for fraud referrals, the worker will obtain the AU's consent for the release of information to verify homelessness.

     

    I. Temporary Shelter Payment Amounts

     

    Effective July 12, 2006, the new daily amounts paid to an AU for TS is based on the number of persons in the AU. The current payment amounts are as follows:

    Assistance Unit (AU) Size

    Temporary Shelter Payment (TSP) Per Day

    4 or less

    $65.00

    5

    $80.00

    6

    $95.00

    7

    $110.00

    8 or more

    $125.00 Maximum

    • The daily rates for temporary homeless assistance do not apply to excluded family members and only apply to eligible members in the AU. If the cost of TS for the AU is less than the amount(s) indicated above, the County must still pay the full daily amount.
    • When TS payments are being vendored, and the amount for shelter is less than the amount indicated above, a separate check must be issued to the client for the difference.
    • Failure to provide verification constitutes CalWORKs mismanagement, and all additional HA payments must be made directly to the providers of the TS for this incident of homelessness.
    Example The AU receives three nights of Temporary Shelter in the amount of $195. The AU returns on the fourth day and provides receipts showing they stayed in a shelter for three nights at the cost of $60. The AU has met the requirement for staying in a commercial establishment and there is no restricted payment needed.

     

    J. HA Payments for Customers Residing in a Shelter

    Even though shelter providers ask their clients to sign an agreement to have their HA payment made payable to the shelter, the customer has the right to have the HA payment made payable to himself/herself, unless mismanagement exists.

    If the applicant/recipient requests that the HA payment be made payable to himself/herself, the ET must explain to the applicant/recipient that refusing to make the shelter provider payee may create a problem with the contract shelter provider.

     

    XIV. PERMANENT HOMELESS ASSISTANCE

    A. Permanent Housing

    A once-in-a-lifetime permanent housing (PH) payment, with exceptions, is available to assist an AU in obtaining permanent housing that has had a continuous period of homelessness . The PH payment is intended to pay the reasonable costs of security deposit when it is a condition of securing a permanent residence.

    Example

    An AU received their 16 days of temporary shelter 8/6 - 8/22. The AU finds a place which rents for $375. A CW 42 is submitted on 9/10 requesting PH. 80% of her TMHI is $392. The ET determines that the AU qualifies for the PH benefits because the AU has been continuously homeless since 8/6. The AU's homelessness is still caused by the same circumstances for which they received TS benefits. In addition, the rent is within 80% of the AU's TMHI.

     

    B. Permanent Homeless Arrearage (PHA)

    Effective July 12, 2006, the homelessness criteria has been redefined to include families who have received a notice to "pay rent or quit". A once-in-a-lifetime permanent homeless assistance payment is available to pay up to two months of back rent to prevent eviction. Each month of the rent arrearage payment must not exceed 80 percent (%) of the total monthly household income (TMHI).

    In order for an AU to be eligible for Permanent Homeless Arrearage (PHA) payments, payment of the back rent must be a reasonable condition of preventing eviction. A family who applies for arrearage payments due to receipt of a notice to pay rent or quit, must demonstrate and provide verification that the eviction is the result of a verified financial hardship that resulted from extraordinary circumstances beyond their control, and not due to other lease or rental violations. The family must be experiencing a financial crisis that could result in homelessness if preventative assistance is not provided. However, if the arrearage payment will not prevent an eviction the family is ineligible for the PHA.

    Examples of financial hardship included, but are not limited to:

    • Losing a job;
    • Delay on UIB payment;
    • Funeral expenses; or,
    • Unexpected medical payment.

    Note: If the family shares housing, the arrearage payment will only cover the AU's share of the rent providing it is within 80 percent of the TMHI.

     

    C. Total Monthly Household Income (TMHI):

    TMHI must include income of all AU members and of any other persons whose income is currently used in calculating the AU's grant. Including but not limited to:

    • Timed out, sanctioned and penalized household members; and,
    • Persons who are excluded by law for their undocumented noncitizen or drug felon status .

    Income to be counted towards the TMHI includes gross earned and unearned income, including the CalWORKs grant, but does not include Food Stamps, CalWORKs Special Needs or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and State Supplemental Payment (SSP). If an SSI/SSP recipient living in the home contributes toward the monthly rent, the family's total monthly rent amount to which the 80% standard is applied would be reduced by the amount contributed from the SSI/SSP recipient.

    Example 1

    An AU, whose monthly rent is $750, applies for Permanent Homeless Arrearage (PHA) to pay two months of back rent payments totaling $1500. The AU's TMHI is $1000 and 80 % of the TMHI is $800. This AU is eligible to receive the PHA payment as the amount of back rent for each month ($750) does not exceed 80 percent of the TMHI ($800).

    Example 2

    An AU, whose monthly rent is $900 applies for PHA to pay two months of back rent payments totaling $1800. The AU's TMHI is $1000 and 80% of the TMHI is $800. The AU is not eligible for PHA as their monthly rent ($900) exceeds the TMHI ($800).

     

    D. Payment Time Frames for PH and PHA

    The ET has one working day from the time the AU provides the following information to issue or deny a payment for PH or PHA. Before a PH or PHA payment can be issued the ET must have:

    • A completed homeless application CW 42;
    • Be a recipient of CalWORKs;
    • A determination that the AU has a continuous period of homelessness caused by the same specific circumstance;
    • Evidence that permanent housing is available;
    • The rent amount for the permanent housing or monthly back rent cannot be more then 80 percent (%) of the AU's TMHI, without special needs; and,
    • A follow-up phone call to the landlord to verify permanent housing.

    Note: HA payments can only be made if the provider of housing is a commercial establishment, shelter, publicly funded transitional housing, or person in the business of renting properties who has a history of renting properties.

     

     

    E. Verification of Permanent Housing

    The recipient must provide a written rental agreement which demonstrates the landlord's intent to rent to the AU at a cost which does not exceed 80 percent (%) of the AU's TMHI, without special needs. The housing must be located within the State of California.

    • If the validity of the rental agreement is questionable or the rental agreement cannot be provided, the ET will verify that a rental agreement has been made by contacting the landlord directly.
    • If the landlord cannot be contacted directly, or verified by some other means that a  rental agreement has been made, then the recipient must complete and sign a statement under penalty or perjury which includes the following information:
      1. Name and phone number of landlord;
      2. Location of rental;
      3. Terms of rental; and,
      4. Dollar amount of deposits and rent.

     

    F. Shared Housing

    If the family intends to share housing costs, the AU's share of the housing costs cannot exceed 80% of the TMHI. Shared housing includes, but is not limited to the following:

    • Two or more AU's living together;
    • SSI/SSP or CAPI recipients residing with CalWORKs recipients; or,
    • An AU residing with unaided persons, provided the AU's share does not exceed 80% of the MAP.

     

    G. Subsidized Housing

    There is a two steps process to determine eligibility for permanent housing when a customer locates permanent housing through the Housing Authority or through another subsidized agency.

    1. The first step is to determine whether the portion of the customer's housing payment does not exceed 80% of the TMHI.
    2. If the customer's portion of rent is within 80% of the TMHI, then determine whether the security deposit does not exceed two times the obligated rent.

    Note: The portion of the security deposit allocated towards the last month's rent cannot exceed 80% of the TMHI.

    Example 1

    Step 1:
    An AU of two finds permanent housing that rents for $1000 per month. The AU has obtained a monthly subsidy of $550 from HUD. With the subsidy, the family’s share of the monthly rent is $450. In this example, the family’s monthly rent is less than 80 percent of TMHI, which is $467.20. Therefore, this housing arrangement is acceptable under MPP 44-211.531.

    Step 2:
    The same AU from above is also requesting $1,550 for the security deposit, which includes the last month’s rent. The $1,550 requested by the AU is acceptable because it is less than $2,000, which is twice the monthly rent the AU is obligated to pay (prior to HUD) 1000 X 2. The portion of the deposit attributed to last month’s rent is $450, which is within 80 percent of the AU’s TMHI ($467.20).

    H. Security Deposit:

    When the deposit is a condition of securing a permanent residence, a payment that does not exceed two month's rent (where the rent is within 80% of the TMHI), is available to the AU for security deposit .

    • Security deposits include last month's rent and any legal payment, fee deposit, or charge that is required by the landlord as a condition of the AU moving in.
    • The security deposit for last month's rent cannot exceed 80% of the AU's TMHI, without special needs.
    • If the AU intends to share housing, the AU's share of the total housing cannot exceed 80% of the AU's TMHI, without special needs.

     

    I. Utility Deposit

    The permanent housing payment may include the actual costs of utility deposits, in addition to the amount allowed for security deposits.

    • The payment will cover deposits (turn-on-fees) for gas, electricity, and/or water. Telephones are NOT included.
    • This payment CANNOT cover the cost of overdue utility bills.
    • If the AU shares housing and the utilities are included in the housing cost but not identifiable, the total housing cost cannot exceed 80% of the TMHI.

    Note: Some utility companies do not bill their customers until after the utilities have been turned on. It may be necessary, and is allowable, to issue the utility deposit amount at a later date than the initial permanent housing payment.

     

     

    J. Verification of Permanent Housing Payment:

    If the permanent housing payment is made to the recipient, the recipient must provide verification of the amount spent for permanent housing, and that the payment was made to a commercial establishment or a person in the business of renting properties who has a history of renting properties.

    • Verification must be provided within 30 calendar days of having received a direct permanent housing payment. Day 1 is the day after the permanent housing payment is made. If the 30th day falls on a weekend or holiday, the deadline is the next business day.
    • If the recipient fails to provide verification, the worker must determine whether the payment was used for permanent housing. This may be done via telephone contact with the landlord, manager, or owner when the county has the client's permission in writing or through a referral to SIU.
    • If the worker determines that the payment was not used for permanent housing or was not used to pay a commercial establishment, a determination of money mismanagement exists. No overpayment exists. Any additional HA security deposit or utility payment associated with the same incident of homelessness must be vendored.

    Note: Verification is NOT required IF the permanent housing payment was paid as a vendor payment.

     

    K. Return to Former Residence

    Permanent housing assistance is not available to assist recipients to return to their most recent former residence unless there are unusual circumstances beyond the recipient's control.  Only permanent homeless arrearage payments are intended to prevent homelessness and keep the family in their home.

    • Most recent former residence is defined as the house or same unit in a duplex or apartment complex in which the recipient lived just prior to being determined homeless.

    Example

    A family left a residence in Hayward in order to take advantage of a job offer in Fresno. When they arrived in Fresno, they found that the job was no longer available, so they returned to Hayward area and were homeless. Their former residence became available and was less expensive that anything else they could find, so they requested permanent  housing to move into their former residence. This would be granted due to the unusual circumstances which prompted their return to the Hayward area.

     

    L. Security Deposit Refund

    If due to an emergency, an AU must move within the 12-month time limit specified, the AU shall be allowed to transfer deposits to meet the security deposits for the residence.

    • An emergency cannot result from an intentional act on the AU's part, i.e., nonpayment of rent.
    • If the County determines that the transfer was within the 12-month time limit, and was not an emergency, refunded deposits shall be treated as liquid resources.

     

     

    XV. INTER-COUNTY TRANSFER (ICT) CASES

    The county where the AU physically resides and intends to stay is responsible for the homeless assistance eligibility determination and issuance of the homeless assistance payment from the date of the request.

    • The second county must consult with the first county to obtain pertinent information, such as, determining whether the AU has received any HA payments in the previous twelve months.
    • When a client with a pending application in one county applies for HA in another county, the first county must continue the application process. If eligibility is established, an ICT procedure must then be initiated.

     

    XVI. OVERPAYMENTS

    Overpayments of HA are adjustable and collectible following normal procedures.

    Valid HA overpayments may include, but are not limited to:

    • Client receives HA based on fraudulent information (i.e., client was not homeless).
    • County makes administrative error (AE), such as a payment in excess of the amount entitled to.

    Note: Failure to spend TS or Permanent Housing payments as they were intended is NOT an overpayment, but results in a determination of money mismanagement and any subsequent payments are vendor paid.

     

    Example 1

    The applicant/recipient applies for HA and is determined eligible. The ET issues payments for 19 days rather than 16 days. The ET establishes a claim for an administrative overpayment for three days paid in excess.

    Example 2

    The applicant/recipient applies for HA and is determined eligible. Payments are issued for Temporary Shelter. It is later determined that the applicant/recipient was never homeless. The ET establishes a claim for an overpayment for the full amount of HA payment issued.

    Example 3

    The AU receives three days of Temporary Shelter in the amount of $195. On the fourth day, the AU provides a receipt that shows payment was made for two nights at a motel in the amount of $130. The AU provides a receipt that the third night was paid to friend who is not in the business of renting. The ET determines that the third night the AU failed to pay an appropriate provider and establishes that mismanagement of funds exists and makes any subsequent payments vendor pay. No overpayment exists.

     

    XVII. AID PAID PENDING

    Eligibility for Homeless Assistance ceases when CalWORKs eligibility ends.

    • Clients who are eligible to receive Aid Paid Pending (APP) are eligible to receive HA. However, if the client loses the hearing, the HA is considered an overpayment.

    XVIII. IEVS SYSTEM RECORD OF HA PAYMENTS

    Each HA payment is recorded in the Homeless Assistance Payment Indicator accessed through the IEVS system for statewide tracking of Homeless Assistance eligibility . The data entered on the Collect Homeless Detail window and the Collect Permanent/Temporary Homeless Detail windows send the appropriate Add transaction to MEDS. Statewide payment history can be obtained through a MEDS system inquiry as follows:

    • Log onto MEDS system.
    • At the blank screen after sign-on is complete, type HOME, and press enter;
    • Select the option of "I" (Inquiry), and enter the Social Security Number of the caretaker relative requesting Homeless Assistance.

    Reason for Homelessness

    Temporary

    Permanent

    Once-in-a-Lifetime Benefits

    T

    P

     

    IXX. CalWIN INSTRUCTIONS

    • For instructions on how to process Temporary Homeless Assistance in CalWIN click here.
    • For instructions on how to process Permanent Homeless Assistance in CalWIN click here.

     

     

    References:

    EAS Manual Section 44-211

    ACL 99-69

    ACL 06-25

    ACL 06-58

    CalWORKs Newsletter 06-01

    CalWORKs Newsletter 07-01

    CalWORKs Newsletter 07-03

    SSA Bulletin 07-10

    CalWIN How To 133

    CalWIN How To 134

    Attachments

    CW 42 Statement of Facts - Homeless Assistance

    Form 50-67

    CA 74 Permanent Housing Search Form

    How To Issue Temporary Homeless

    How To Issue Permanent Homeless

     




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