Support CalWORKs Homeless Assistance Program
CWDA is requesting support to ensure that homeless families in California’s CalWORKs program can access safe, temporary housing. Homelessness is a critical barrier to self-sufficiency and to the health and well-being of children, families, and society. Specifically, CWDA is seeking to eliminate a requirement that days of homeless assistance must be taken consecutively, increase the daily per diem rate, and clarify eligibility for CalWORKs families impacted by the dependency system.
Temporary homeless assistance can provide payments for a shelter or hotel/motel for families who are homeless and actively searching for permanent housing for up to 16 days, but current statute mandates that these days be consecutive. This means that any break in assistance, even if only for a single day, renders the family ineligible for any remaining days of shelter for which they are otherwise eligible. This requirement can have the unintended consequence of forcing a family to choose between having a roof over their heads or, for example, traveling for a job, seeking alternative arrangements with friends or family, or even vacating the hotel due to its unsuitability for children. By simply removing the requirement that the 16 days be consecutive, families will no longer be disincentivized from making decisions that, under any other circumstance would be positive, but in this situation, could result in their return to the street.
In addition to removing the requirement that days of homeless assistance be taken consecutively or forfeited, we also request your support to increase the daily per diem rate to $85 per day for a family of four or fewer and provide an additional $15 per day for each additional family member up to a maximum of $145 daily. The current statutory per diem rate is $65 for a family of four or fewer, with an additional $15 per day for each additional family member up to a maximum of $125 daily. This daily rate was last increased over ten years ago.