Legislation has been introduced to allow formerly homeless youths to pursue a four-year education and still qualify for a low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) apartment.
Currently, homeless youths cannot do both and must decide between pursuing an education or being homeless, according to Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), who introduced the bill along with Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.).
The bill would change the “student rule” in the LIHTC program, which prohibits tenants from being full-time students. The original intent of the rule was to prohibit LIHTCs from being used to build dormitories and to prevent college students who temporarily have low incomes from benefiting from the resources meant for those with even more serious housing needs.
A number of individuals are currently exempt from the rule, including former foster youths, single parents, and parents receiving public assistance. The bill would add homeless youths to this exemption, allowing these individuals to get an education while living in a LIHTC property.
“Education remains the best hope for homeless youth to escape poverty as adults,” McDermott said in a statement. “Today, our homeless youth must choose between being homeless or pursuing a full-time education. That is wrong, and this simple fix would have a significant impact in ensuring these youth can reach their educational goals.”
The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates the bill will cost less than $1 million over 10 years.