Tax Reform Impacts Homeless Youth

Aeon joins Minnesota Housing Partnership

Aeon joins Minnesota Housing Partnership in support of revising the Low Income Housing Tax Credit’s “Student Rule” as part of comprehensive tax reform. Here’s why this is so important:

The Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) is responsible for most of the affordable rental housing produced nationwide, including some properties like Aeon’s Archdale Apartments and St. Barnabas, that are home to formerly homeless youth.

To prevent LIHTC properties from being used as college dormitories, legislators enacted the “Student Rule,” which stipulates that full time students cannot live in a LIHTC low-income unit as head of the household. While this seemingly common sense rule was meant to prevent precious housing resources from being used for dormitories, the Student Rule also prevents formerly homeless students living in LIHTC units from attending high school or college full time.

Students therefore find themselves choosing between dropping to part time student status, and taking advantage of safe, affordable housing, or attending school full time but remaining homeless.

Students who choose part time school over homelessness also face other obstacles, including educational programs and scholarships that do not accommodate part time enrollment. Jordan, a teen resident who lives at Archdale Apartments in downtown Minneapolis, recently told Representative Erik Paulsen that he chose safe, affordable housing over full time status. This delayed his graduation by an entire year. There are approximately a dozen students in Jordan’s situation every year in Minneapolis alone.

There is already an exemption for a group of young people with identical life circumstances – youth in foster care. Homeless youth should not be penalized because the child welfare system did not meet their needs when they were younger.

At a time when 46% of Minnesota’s homeless population is aged 21 or younger, amending the Student Rule is needed now more than ever. Doing so will cost no extra money to the federal government and will equip our nation’s homeless youth with the ability to pursue brighter futures and become productive members of society.

Excerpted in part by Minnesota Housing Parntership’s statement to House Ways and Means Committee, Hearing on Tax Reform and Residential Real Estate, April 25, 2013

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