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Reps. Wenstrup and Davis Lead Bill to Expand Housing Opportunities for Homeless Students, Veterans and Foster Youth

Washington, D.C. - Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) and Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) introduced the Housing for Homeless Students Act of 2022 to help homeless students, veterans, and foster youth access affordable housing while pursuing an education.

The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) helps increase availability of affordable housing by reducing the tax liability for developers that build or rehabilitate affordable rental housing units. Under current law, full-time students are prohibited from living in LIHTC-funded properties. This prohibition, also known as the “student rule,” was intended to prevent the building of dorms with LIHTC funds. Unfortunately, it excludes students who currently struggle or recently struggled with homelessness who would otherwise qualify for housing, forcing them to choose between stable housing or a full-time education. The Housing for Homeless Students Act of 2022 would create a limited exception to the LIHTC student rule so as to allow homeless or recently‑homeless individuals who are full‑time students to live in LIHTC units.

“Students and veterans struggling with homelessness should be able to access affordable housing as they pursue a full-time education. This bill empowers those in need to invest in their futures and sets them on the path to achieving the American dream,” said Rep. Wenstrup. “I’m pleased that this bill addresses one aspect of the affordable housing crisis and am grateful to work with my colleague, Rep. Danny Davis, on this bipartisan bill.”

“Housing security is fundamental to physical, mental, and socioeconomic well-being,” said Rep. Davis.  “I am proud to work with Dr. Wenstrup to improve the successful Low Income Housing Tax Credit to ensure that youth and veterans struggling with homelessness do not have to choose between completing a college degree or stable housing.  This fix is needed now more than ever when research shows that over one-third of all college students and almost half of community college students were housing insecure. This bill increases housing opportunities and stability for homeless youth and veterans so that they can complete their education and thrive.”

“At Lighthouse, we see young people forced to choose between safe housing or pursuing their education every day. It’s time to eliminate this barrier preventing young people trying to leave homelessness behind from reaching their full potential. This exception to the LIHTC rule will open doors and give them the opportunity to thrive," said Paul Haffner, President and CEO of Lighthouse Youth and Family Services.

"One out of every six applicants to our family shelter report that they have 'some college' in their history. Of those applicants, the most common reason for leaving college is financial stress.  The Housing for Homeless Students Act would be a positive step in reducing the cost of housing for qualified students. With access to LIHTC housing, fewer individuals and families would have to leave full-time educational opportunities because of income limitations," said Meridith Owensby, codirector of Lydia's House in Norwood, Ohio.

Senators Rob Portman (R‑OH), Sherrod Brown (D‑OH), and Angus King (I‑ME) have a companion bill in the Senate.