Legislation that would allow formerly homeless full-time students to be eligible for a low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) apartment has been introduced by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.).

The Housing for Homeless Students Act of 2012 seeks to change a restriction in the LIHTC program that prohibits full-time students, including homeless and formerly homeless youths, to qualify for affordable housing.

"I've met with some very impressive young Minnesotans who have overcome great obstacles in their lives?like poverty, homelessness, and a lack of a stable family support system?who, despite their situations, are striving to get an education," said Franken in a statement. "I've seen that often low-income federal housing is their only alternative to homelessness. But if they decide to go to school full time, they lose their housing benefits. We need to change that so that they can pursue an education and better their lives."

Franken’s legislation seeks to exempt individuals who have experienced homelessness at any point in the five years prior to moving into a LIHTC unit from the student rule.

The original intent of the rule was to prohibit LIHTC funds from being used to build dormitories and to prevent college students, who may have temporary low incomes, from benefitting from resources meant for individuals and families with more serious housing needs.

A similar bill (H.R. 3076) was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) last year but has not been passed.