Portman, Franken work together to help eradicate homelessness among students

U.S. Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Al Franken (D-Minn.) introduced a bipartisan bill to make sure that young people and veterans who have faced homelessness don’t have to make the difficult choice between a place to call home and a good education.

This important legislative fix would close a loophole that prevents many full-time students—including veterans—from qualifying for affordable rental housing funded through a key tax credit. Sens. Franken and Portman’s proposal would allow full-time students who experience or have recently experienced homelessness to become eligible for low-income housing.

“Students shouldn’t have to choose between stable housing and going to school full-time,” said Portman. “This commonsense bill will improve the way we help low-income students by giving them access to stable and affordable housing while they attend school full-time so that they can go on to graduate and succeed.”

“We can’t make young people and veterans in Minnesota who have experienced homelessness make the difficult choice between housing or an education,” said Franken. “But right now, they’re being forced to put one above the other. Our bipartisan bill will fix this problem by giving students access to affordable housing while they pursue their education.”

The Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) Program provides a reduction in tax liability for developers that build or rehabilitate affordable rental housing units. LIHTC has been used successfully to build properties intended to house individuals and families who experience homelessness. However, current law does not allow tenants, including homeless and formerly homeless individuals, to be full-time students.

The Housing for Homeless Students Act of 2014, introduced today by Portman and Franken, would fix that problem by allowing full-time students who experience or have recently experienced homelessness to become eligible—or retain eligibility—for LIHTC housing.