Letter: Our Support for the Housing for Homeless Students Act
On March 13th, 2019, Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Robert Portman (R-OH) and Angus King (I-ME) reintroduced the Housing for Homeless Students Act (S. 767). First Focus Campaign for Children wrote a letter of support for this legislation during the 114th Congress.
Excerpt from the Letter: According to the National Center for Homeless Education, there were over 1.3 million homeless children and youth enrolled in public school during the 2016-2017 school year.1 On top of that, a survey conducted on college students in 2018 found that 36 percent of college students were housing insecure, 9 percent were homeless, and 1 in 4 former foster youth enrolled in higher education had experienced homelessness in the past year.2 Currently, homeless youth, or those who have experienced homelessness in the past, who attend a four-year college or university full-time cannot take advantage of housing built with funds from the Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) Program due to the “student rule."
This “student rule” was put in place to prevent LIHTC dollars from being used to build dormitories, as well as to prevent college students with temporarily low incomes from taking advantage of resources reserved for individuals and families with more serious housing needs. However, homeless and previously homeless youth experience unique housing needs and lack the access to housing and financial resources that many other college students have available to them through their families.
This legislation would amend the Internal Revenue Code by changing the “student rule” in the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program to allow homeless and formerly homeless youth who are attending a college or university full-time to qualify for housing built with these low-income housing tax credits. These populations would now be exempted from the “student rule”, along with former foster youth, single parents, and parents receiving public assistance.