Formerly Homeless Student and Veteran Housing Legislation

Education & Training with Adhi Schools, LLC

Homelessness is a serious problem. Despite efforts to curb it—from government housing programs to charitable organizations and shelters—it persists. A recent federal House bill (with bipartisan cosponsorship) has been written that aims to help homeless and formerly homeless students and student veterans attain housing.

H.R. 5290 would amend the Internal Revenue Code to “qualify low-income building units that provide housing for homeless students and veterans who are full-time students for the low-income housing tax credit.” The full-time student must have been a homeless child or youth during any portion of the seven years prior to occupation of the housing unit in order to be eligible. Veterans are eligible if they have been homeless at any point in the previous five years and are full-time students. 

So what is the low income housing tax credit (LIHTC) and how would this bill impact affordable housing? The LIHTC frees up funding for the development costs of low-income housing. Investors receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit that directly lowers owed income tax. These investors propose a project to the state housing finance agency. A certain percentage of units in the development are committed to being both rent restricted and occupied by individuals under a certain income threshold compared to the median gross income in the area.

This commitment includes a number of years (typically 30) that the rent restrictions and availability will exist, meaning that landlords cannot take advantage of a tax credit, then remove rent restrictions. The specific scenarios are outlined hereThese projects can be new construction or acquisition and/or rehabilitation of existing housing developments. Once the state housing finance agency approves the project, the credits are claimed over a ten year period.

To summarize: a landlord-investor set aside a certain number of units that have lowered rent to be made available to renters with low income. H.R. 5290 would automatically qualify students that were homeless children or youths within the last seven years and veterans that have been homeless within the last five years as eligible tenants for the rent-restricted units.

If H.R. 5290 is passed and signed into law there would be more incentive for landlords and developers to subsidize housing for formerly homeless veterans and youths while they are in college. This makes it easier for those who have escaped homelessness to stay out—a very real problem, especially in more expensive areas of the country. It is difficult to succeed in higher education while earning enough money to support oneself. It also provides a pathway out for those currently homeless. If they can become a full-time student, they can gain access to cheaper housing.

Will it pass? No way to tell yet, but bipartisan cosponsorship is always a good sign. In an increasingly divided legislature and an election year, cooperation is not something we hear about too often. Because this bill has Democratic and Republican support it may have a better chance of being passed. But the Senate is not currently in session, so any movement by the House will not be matched in the Senate until at least September. We will be certain to keep our readers updated as this legislation progresses or falters.

What do you think about this legislation? If you are in favor of it I strongly encourage you to contact your elected representatives and voice that support. 

Posted by

Cody Carmen

Comments (15)

Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Interesting.  I had no idea this Congress was doing bi-partisan!  Let's see if it gets through the Senate!

Aug 19, 2016 12:01 PM
Cody Carmen

Definitely an interesting one to see if they will cooperate Patricia Kennedy. It is not high-profile, so hopefully they don't ignore it because it doesn't provide as much good press.  

Sep 02, 2016 01:58 AM
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

My state had some property go to "unused" from some state facilities closing in the past 8 years and they are working toward making some of that property a "get back on your feet" shelter.  I'm so very proud of the efforts of local and state leaders on this cause.   Not sure if I actually believe anything will actually get passed on a national level.

Aug 20, 2016 05:39 AM
Cody Carmen

Tammy Lankford, that's a great point. Federal and state government own so much land and property that is never used.  

Sep 02, 2016 01:59 AM
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

How will adding this low housing option into neighborhoods affect long term value for homeowners? It might affect not only home values but re-saleability too.

Aug 22, 2016 11:50 AM
Chris Lima

This is exactly what I was thinking.


Aug 23, 2016 03:31 AM
Cody Carmen

Evelyn Johnston great question. I think it will vary a lot by the area. And frankly very few of these options will end up being in upper or even middle class neighborhoods. People don't build expensive condos and apartments and then ask for low rent. 

Sep 02, 2016 02:00 AM
Chris Lima
Atlantic Shores Realty Expertise - Port St Lucie, FL
Local or Global-Allow me to open doors for you.

Thanks for bringing this subject to light.  I will be keeping an eye on this.

Aug 23, 2016 03:33 AM
Cody Carmen

Always happy to help Chris Lima !

Sep 02, 2016 02:00 AM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

When I read homeless student... it brought back some memories. There was this eccentric student who got his PhD in mathematics w/o a job. He was seen sleeping in auditorium and most janitors will wake him up at closing hour.  He would be seen in the fraternity living rooms. If booted out he went to another house without making any noise and people would feed him sometimes. He will tutor calculus in return.

Last contact was he invited himself at U of Wisconsin mathematics dept as an unpaid intern. Hope, he is doing fine today. He will tutor and answer all challenging math proof for free- certainly he was a casulty of overeducation. At UC Berkeley there are a lot of them who will write your paper, grant proposals, even blog for a fee.

Aug 23, 2016 05:35 AM
Cody Carmen

Sam Shueh there are a lot of passionate students who struggle financially. There is a whole other debate there, but thank you for bringing an example most would not think of to the conversation!

Sep 02, 2016 02:01 AM
Tim Maitski
Atlanta Communities Real Estate Brokerage - Atlanta, GA
Truth, Excellence and a Good Deal

It sounds like a lot of red tape.  Why not just give the people in need a housing  voucher?  It seems like that might be more efficient.  

Aug 23, 2016 06:33 AM
Cody Carmen

Tim Maitski I think the voucher is clearly the quick and easy method. However, this bill hopefully provides just a bit more incentive for new construction as it affects the developer/investor directly. I suppose vouchers also incentivize development because the pool of buyers/renters expands, but I think this is the thought process here. Great point

Sep 02, 2016 02:02 AM
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Most government solutions are discriminatory, unreasonable and too expensive to implement and maintain. Simply look at the cost of government agencies and their bloated expense costs. The government isn't the solution, teaching virtues is.

Aug 23, 2016 06:23 PM
Cody Carmen

Kimo Jarrett I would agree that the vast majority of government programs have not done much, if any good. Hopefully this one is simple enough (and doesn't cost money, just tax breaks) that it can have some positive effects if it is passed. 

Sep 02, 2016 02:03 AM
Theresa Akin

Nothing irritates me more than the disrespect that is given to our veterans. All the red tape they have to go through and months of waiting for any kind of approval for having lost limbs and eyes and the head trauma. So many of our veterans are among the homeless, then we have those who are too lazy to get off their keisters and get a job. I could go on and on but everyone knows how the government and it doesn't matter what party it is, they have all disrespected our vets. I'm in favor of reversing the payroll for thegovernment. Let them live on enlisted military pay and give the military their pay. Very few would be homeless.

Aug 25, 2016 02:10 AM
Mike Bjork
Evolve Bank & Trust - Redondo Beach, CA

As always, Cody, great post with lots of information!  I'm certainly glad to hear there is actually something the 2 parties can work together on, and not let politics get in the way of progress.  I hope it passes.  It's unfortunate that a country with so much doesn't help it's own more.

Aug 25, 2016 02:42 AM
Cody Carmen

Thank you Mike Bjork for your kind words. I also think this bill has some promise. It might not address a lot of associated problems, but it is something. 

Sep 02, 2016 02:04 AM
Debbie Reynolds, C21 Platinum Properties
Platinum Properties- (931)771-9070 - Clarksville, TN
The Dedicated Clarksville TN Realtor-(931)320-6730

My state has something similar and it has worked. I would say that this type of program will pass as it is good for both sides to help provide affordable housing.

Aug 27, 2016 10:44 PM
Cody Carmen

Debbie Reynolds glad to hear that some of these programs work!

Sep 02, 2016 02:04 AM
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Awesome bill!  A great benefit for investors and formerly homeless students.  Sharing on G+ and Twitter!

Aug 29, 2016 08:02 AM
Cody Carmen

Thank you so much Jan Green

Sep 02, 2016 02:05 AM
Cody Carmen
Adhi Schools, LLC - Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Market Analysis--Educational Content, Adhi Schools

Sorry for the delayed responses everyone, I have been off work for a stretch with a relocation and just got back at it this morning!

Sep 02, 2016 02:05 AM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Congratulations on your feature recognition. Thank you very much for sharing this information.

Sep 08, 2016 06:07 AM
Cody Carmen

Thank you Roy Kelley, I was happy to see this important topic featured too. Important for us to be aware of these types of developments.   

Sep 08, 2016 06:26 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Congratulations on receiving feature recognition for a very important subject matter! There have always been homeless people and not all are because of drugs or alcohol. It's very sad to know Vets and Students are included. I find that to be a crying shame. I pray legislation will be passed for those who are truly in need. I think the government can do that, but first,they have to fix the welfare problems and the recipients receiving it fraudulently. 

Sep 16, 2016 10:32 AM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

I was looking for your current blogs. I hope all is going well for you.

Nov 11, 2016 11:11 PM
Cody Carmen

Hey Roy Kelley, sorry for the delayed response. I've been less active on AR with a relocation, but I'm still working for Adhi Schools. My first post in awhile was posted today and we're hoping to resume activity at a more regular pace!  

Dec 29, 2016 12:04 PM