November 22, 2022
BRUNSWICK, ME – U.S. Senators Angus King (I-Maine), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) have introduced bipartisan legislation to ensure students are not forced to choose between housing or pursuing an education. The Housing for Homeless Students Act would update current law to ensure students, including veterans, who have experienced homelessness or are currently homeless, can access affordable housing while pursuing their education. The legislation would also benefit youth who age out of foster care who experience higher rates of homelessness and unemployment.
Currently, individuals pursuing full-time education are not eligible for the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program and can lose access to scholarships and grants if they switch to part-time education in order to retain access to affordable housing.
“It should go without saying – no one should have to choose between getting an education or keeping a roof above their head,” said Senator King. “Our youth and veterans pursuing higher education are there to improve their lives and invest in their future and it’s completely unfair for them to lose federal housing support because they are investing their time and energy in seeking a college degree. The Housing for Homeless Students Act is a necessary, commonsense, and bipartisan step to right this wrong and ensure America’s youth and veterans have equal opportunities to grow, learn, and succeed.”
“Students and veterans who have experienced homelessness shouldn’t be forced to choose between pursuing an education and access to affordable housing,” said Senator Brown. “I’m proud to work with Sens. King and Portman on the Housing for Homeless Students Act to ensure the housing tax credit works for students investing in their futures.”
“Students shouldn’t have to choose between stable housing and going to school full-time,” said Senator Portman. “This legislation will provide low-income students access to affordable housing while they attend school. With secure housing we can help to ensure that they are able to focus on their education, graduate, and achieve their God-given potential.”
The LIHTC Program provides tax incentives to developers who build or rehabilitate affordable housing units. Currently, the program does not allow tenants enrolled in the program to be full-time students. If students pursue a part-time education, they risk losing out on scholarships and grants available to full-time students only. The original intent of the rule was to prevent LIHTC funding from being used to construct student housing for students who have temporarily low-incomes at the expense of low-income families with long-term needs. However, current law provides no exception for homeless or formerly-homeless students.
The Housing for Homeless Students Act would also benefit homeless veterans and young people who age out of foster care and often experience higher rates of homelessness and unemployment.