7 CFR § 271.2 & 7 CFR § 273.1(b)(7)(vi)(E) & 7 CFR § 273.11(h)

Homeless shelters are exempt from institution rules. Homeless shelters are public or private nonprofit facilities that provide temporary housing for homeless individuals.

Homeless individuals are individuals or groups without a fixed and regular nighttime residence, or whose primary nighttime residence is:

  • A halfway house or similar institution providing temporary residences for individuals intended to be institutionalized;
  • Temporary accommodations in:
    • hotels,
    • motels, or
    • shelters;
  • Temporary accommodations in the residence of another individual, for not more than 90 days; or
  • A place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings. 


    • Bus Stations
    • Hallways
    • Lobbies

Homeless meal providers are: 

  • Public or private nonprofit establishments, authorized by FNS and approved by an appropriate State or local agency that feed homeless individuals. 


    • Halfway houses
    • Soup kitchens
    • Temporary shelters
  • Restaurants contracting with an appropriate State agency to offer meals at low or reduced prices to homeless individuals. 

Submit information to the SNAP Public Assistance Consultant assigned to your field office for a determination of eligibility if the meal provider’s eligible status is unknown.

Applying for SNAP

7 CFR § 273.1(b)(7)(vi)(E) & 7 CFR § 273.2(n)(4)(D)

Homeless EDGs may apply for benefits separately from others living in the homeless shelter. See Household Composition and the EDG/CG, Homeless Shelters.

Homeless EDGs may pick an A-Rep to act on behalf of the EDG to access benefits for the EDG’s use. 

Exception: Homeless meal providers cannot act as the homeless EDG's A-Rep.


7 CFR § 273.1(b)(7)(e) & 7 CFR § 273.2(f)(1)(vi)

Homeless EDGs are eligible for the same service and processing standards as other SNAP recipients.

Homeless EDGs are not required to have a permanent dwelling or fixed residence. Ask the EDG to provide a mailing address where notices can be mailed. See Residency.

Homeless EDGs must meet the same eligibility requirements as other SNAP recipients. 

Work Requirements for Homeless ABAWDs

7 CFR § 273.24(c)(2)-(6)

Exempt chronically homeless ABAWDs from time limits if they are determined unfit for work.

Use of Benefits

7 CFR § 273.11(h)

Homeless EDGs may use SNAP benefits to purchase and prepare their own food, or prepared meals from authorized:

Last Update

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