BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó


          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                        AB 309|
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          Bill No:  AB 309
          Author:   Mitchell (D)
          Amended:  6/25/13 in Senate
          Vote:     21

           SENATE HUMAN SERVICES COMMITTEE  :  6-0, 6/11/13
          AYES:  Yee, Berryhill, Emmerson, Evans, Liu, Wright

           SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE  :  Senate Rule 28.8

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  76-0, 4/25/13 (Consent) - See last page for  

           SUBJECT  :    CalFresh:  homeless youth

           SOURCE  :     MAZON - A Jewish Response to Hunger
                      National Association for the Education of Homeless  
          Children and Youth

           DIGEST  :    This bill clarifies that there is no minimum age  
          requirement for CalFresh eligibility and requires information  
          and training about CalFresh that is developed for the homeless  
          to include information about unaccompanied homeless children, as  
          specified; requires county welfare departments (CWDs), upon  
          receipt of a signed CalFresh application from an unaccompanied  
          minor, to determine eligibility of benefits without delay; and  
          requires CWDs to notify the child or youth in writing of the  
          reason, if the application is denied.

           ANALYSIS  :    


                                                                     AB 309

          Existing law:

          1.Establishes under federal law the Supplemental Nutrition  
            Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, to  
            provide food benefits to needy families and individuals.

          2.Establishes in California statute the CalFresh program to  
            administer the provision of federal SNAP benefits to families  
            and individuals meeting specified criteria.

          3.Provides in California law that the eligibility of households  
            shall be determined to the extent permitted by federal law.

          4.Generally, provides in federal law that participation in SNAP  
            shall be limited to those households whose incomes and other  
            financial resources, held singly or in joint ownership, are  
            determined to be a substantial limiting factor in permitting  
            them to obtain a more nutritious diet.

          5.Defines "household" as an individual who lives alone or who,  
            while living with others, customarily purchases food and  
            prepares meals for home consumption separate and apart from  
            the others; or a group of individuals who live together and  
            customarily purchase food and prepare meals together for home  

          6.Specifies in federal law that parents and their children  
            21-years of age or younger who live together are to be treated  
            as a group of individuals who customarily purchase and prepare  
            meals together for home consumption even if they do not do so.

          7.Under federal law, the term "unaccompanied youth" includes a  
            youth not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian.

          8.Defines "homeless individual" as an individual who lacks a  
            fixed and regular nighttime residence; or an individual who  
            has a primary nighttime residence that is a supervised  
            publicly or privately operated shelter, an institution, a  
            temporary accommodation for not more than 90 days in the  
            residence of another individual, or a public or private place  
            not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping  
            accommodation for human beings.



                                                                     AB 309

          9.Requires the California Department of Social Services (DSS) to  
            develop CalFresh information on expedited services targeted to  
            the homeless population to be made available to homeless  
            shelters, emergency food programs, and other community  
            agencies that provide services to homeless people.

          10.Requires each CWD annually to offer training on CalFresh  
            application procedures to homeless shelter operators.

          11.Requires local educational agencies to designate an  
            appropriate staff person as a local educational agency liaison  
            for homeless children and youths. 

          12.Requires each local educational agency liaison for homeless  
            children and youths to ensure that homeless children and  
            youths are identified.

          This bill:

          1.Requires, in determining eligibility for CalFresh, that no  
            minimum age requirement be imposed other than those that exist  
            under federal law.

          2.Requires DSS, in its existing outreach program that provides  
            targeted information about expedited benefits for the  
            homeless, to specifically include information about homeless  
            children and youths, as defined.

          3.Requires DSS to make CalFresh information available to local  
            educational agency liaisons for homeless children and youths,  
            as specified, in addition to existing outreach targets.

          4.Requires each CWD to include eligibility criteria and specific  
            information regarding the eligibility of unaccompanied  
            homeless children and youths in the established annual  
            training on CalFresh application procedures.

          5.Requires each CWD to determine CalFresh eligibility without  
            delay upon a signed application from an unaccompanied youth  
            under age 18, as specified.  Requires this determination to  
            include whether the youth is eligible to apply as a household  
            of one or if he/she must apply with members of a household  
            with whom he/she is regularly purchasing and preparing foods.



                                                                     AB 309

          6.Requires each CWD to screen an application from an  
            unaccompanied youth under age 18 for entitlement to expedited  
            service, as specified.

          7.Requires a CWD to provide the child or youth a written notice  
            explaining the reason for the denial, if the application of  
            the child or youth for CalFresh benefits is denied.

          8.Deletes redundant language in the Welfare and Institutions  

           CalFresh  .  The SNAP program, known in California as CalFresh, is  
          a federal food benefit administered by the U.S. Department of  
          Agriculture (USDA) and, at the state level, by DSS.  Overall  
          caseload for the program in California has grown steadily since  
          2001, and approximately 4 million people are currently receiving  
          CalFresh, up from just over 3 million in 2010.  According to  
          USDA data, California has the lowest participation rate in the  
          country - only 55% of all eligible persons receive CalFresh  

           Household .  Federal law requires states to consider parents with  
          a child under 21-years of age to be treated as a group of  
          individuals who customarily purchase and prepare meals together  
          for home consumption, even if they do not customarily do so.   
          However, this household definition does not apply if the child  
          does not live with their parent.  In that circumstance, a child  
          may apply for benefits as head of household.  Under federal law,  
          unaccompanied youth are not in the physical custody of a parent  
          or guardian.

           Homeless Youth  .  According to a report by The California Youth  
          Project, every year, about 200,000 young people in California  
          become homeless.  By definition, homeless individuals lack a  
          fixed and regular nighttime residence; have a primary nighttime  
          residence that is a supervised publicly or privately operated  
          shelter, or in an institution; live temporarily (for 90 days or  
          less) in the residence of another individual, or in a public or  
          private place not ordinarily used as a regular sleeping  
          accommodation for human beings.

          Unaccompanied youth include young people who have run away, have  



                                                                     AB 309

          been forced out, and/or have been abandoned by a parent or  
          guardian.  Many unaccompanied youth flee their homes as a result  
          of physical and sexual abuse or neglect, are forced out because  
          they are pregnant, gay or lesbian, or are leaving the child  
          welfare or juvenile justice system.  According to the author,  
          some of these youth have reported being denied CalFresh food  
          benefits although they are eligible under state and federal law.

           McKinny-Vento Liaisons  .  The McKinney-Vento Act requires school  
          district liaisons to ensure that homeless children and youths  
          are identified by school personnel and through coordination with  
          other agencies.  The purpose of identification is to offer  
          appropriate services to the family, child or youth, including  
          assisting in applying for CalFresh benefits.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  Yes    
          Local:  Yes

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  6/21/13)

          MAZON - A Jewish Response to Hunger (co-source)
          National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and  
          Youth (co-source)
          American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
          California Association of Food Banks
          California Black Health Network
          California Catholic Conferences of Bishops
          California Coalition for Youth 
          California Communities United Institute
          California Federation of Teachers
          California Food Policy Advocates
          California NAACP
          California School Employees Association
          California State PTA
          Coalition of California Welfare Rights Organization, Inc.
          County of San Diego
          County Welfare Directors Association of California 
          Housing California
          Junior Leagues of California State Public Affairs Committee
          National Association of Social Workers
          San Diego Hunger Coalition
          San Francisco Unified School District 
          Service Employees International Union 
          Silicon Valley Community Foundation



                                                                     AB 309

          United Way of California
          Western Center on Law and Poverty

           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    According to the author, AB 309 will  
          end the denial of CalFresh benefits to unaccompanied homeless  
          minors by clarifying state law.  The author states that CalFresh  
          food benefits are denied to these minors inconsistently across  
          the state. 

          According to the author, the federal SNAP does not place age  
          restrictions on a head of household applying for or receiving  
          benefits under the program and unaccompanied youth can apply for  
          and receive food assistance benefits without a parent's or  
          guardian's signature.  However, the author states, in practice  
          many CWAs are unaware that a youth under 18 years can receive  
          SNAP benefits through the CalFresh program and may deny these  
          benefits to youth under 18, including unaccompanied homeless  

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  76-0, 4/25/13
          AYES:  Achadjian, Alejo, Allen, Ammiano, Atkins, Bigelow, Bloom,  
            Blumenfield, Bocanegra, Bonilla, Bonta, Bradford, Brown,  
            Buchanan, Ian Calderon, Campos, Chau, Chávez, Chesbro, Conway,  
            Dahle, Daly, Dickinson, Donnelly, Eggman, Fong, Fox, Frazier,  
            Beth Gaines, Garcia, Gatto, Gomez, Gordon, Gorell, Gray,  
            Grove, Hagman, Hall, Harkey, Roger Hernández, Holden, Jones,  
            Jones-Sawyer, Levine, Linder, Logue, Maienschein, Mansoor,  
            Medina, Melendez, Mitchell, Morrell, Mullin, Muratsuchi,  
            Nestande, Olsen, Pan, Patterson, Perea, V. Manuel Pérez,  
            Quirk, Quirk-Silva, Rendon, Salas, Skinner, Stone, Ting,  
            Torres, Wagner, Waldron, Weber, Wieckowski, Wilk, Williams,  
            Yamada, John A. Pérez
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Cooley, Lowenthal, Nazarian, Vacancy

          JL:ej  6/24/13   Senate Floor Analyses 

                           SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

                                   ****  END  ****



                                                                     AB 309