In most places, homeless people can use food stamps to buy fresh eggs, but not an omelet; they can buy a frozen pizza to heat in a microwave, but not a hot slice from a pizzeria. Now, officials in Orange County, California, are being urged to approve the Restaurant Meals Program, which would allow homeless, disabled, and elderly SNAP participants in the county to use their benefits at participating restaurants.
The program is a state option permitted under federal SNAP rules. Each county determines if it wants to participate in the program, and then determines client eligibility, which is automatically verified through the point-of-sale equipment at the time of the transaction. San Francisco County was the first to join the program in 2003. The program became so popular in Los Angeles County the county froze the number of participating restaurants because resources were stretched thin.
Source: Orange County Register, 10/18/16, Hot Food for Homeless People