Landsman Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Provide College Housing Assistance to our Most Vulnerable Students Including Foster, Former Foster, and Emancipated Youth

Cincinnati, OH – Today, Congressman Greg Landsman (D-OH-01), Congressman Mike Lawler (R-NY-17), Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (D-OH-03), and Congressman Don Bacon (R-NE-02) introduced bipartisan legislation to help low-income students pay for college campus housing.

Congressman Landsman, Congressman Lawler, Congresswoman Beatty, and Congressman Bacon have introduced H.R.8925 – the Campus Housing Affordability Act – bipartisan legislation that would allow eligible students in, or formerly in, foster care and emancipated youth to use the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Housing Choice Voucher Program – known as Section 8 vouchers – to pay for college campus housing.

Currently, the HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher Program cannot currently be used by college students, whether they live on or off campus. The Campus Housing Affordability Act would allow the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to waive requirements and provisions in the program, allowing foster care and emancipated youth the ability to use Section 8 vouchers for housing on college campuses – lowering the barriers these students face due to the cost of college campus housing.

The Campus Housing Affordability Act has been endorsed by the National Center for Housing and Child Welfare, National Foster Youth Institute, Foster Care Alumni of America.

Congressman Landsman:

“We have a real opportunity to change lives. I’m confident this bipartisan legislation will help thousands of low-income students afford college because their housing is covered. They can live in a dorm with their peers instead of feeling isolated off-campus, which could lead to better academic performance and greater overall success.”

Congressman Lawler:

“People across our nation are struggling to navigate the skyrocketing cost of housing. This is especially true with student housing, which has nearly doubled in price in the last two decades. The inability of emancipated youth, those raised in foster care, and other low-income students to afford this student housing is a massive barrier to higher education for a demographic already severely underrepresented at America’s colleges and universities. That’s why I’m proud to be joining colleagues in both parties to introduce the Campus Housing Affordability Act, which will enable certain students facing these particular challenges to utilize Section 8 vouchers. For hundreds of thousands of young Americans who lack the means, this legislation represents a gateway to opportunity and a chance to achieve the outer reaches of their potential.”

Congresswoman Beatty:

“Throughout my time in Congress, I have worked across the aisle to shine a light on youth homelessness. That’s why I am pleased to join Representative Landsman in introducing this bipartisan legislation. By waiving HUD Housing Choice Voucher Program Section 8 restrictions for emancipated youth and students currently or formerly in foster care, this legislation will help reduce housing instability—giving these young people one less thing to worry about as they navigate other common barriers to higher education.”

Congressman Bacon:

“As a foster care parent, I understand it can be challenging for foster youth students to attend college. This legislation removes restraints on college students from receiving housing assistance. With a high rate of homelessness prevalent amongst foster youth amongst youth transitioning out of foster care, this bill will help remove a barrier and ensure more foster youth can complete college. I am happy to join Rep. Landsman on this bipartisan legislation to help foster youth.”

National Center for Housing & Child Welfare:

“This thoughtful legislation eliminates artificial barriers within HUD’s regulations that close off the typical college experience for otherwise eligible young people. Research indicates that freshman and sophomores who live in college dorms have higher GPAs, graduation rates, lifetime earnings, and build more lifelong friendships than their off-campus counterparts.  We are proud to support Rep. Landsman’s efforts to ensure that youth with Housing Choice Vouchers are not prohibited from immersing themselves in the academic experience just like their higher income peers.”

National Foster Youth Institute:

“Addressing college housing costs is crucial in making higher education more accessible, especially for vulnerable populations like foster and former foster youth. With Section 8 vouchers currently unavailable for college housing, many foster youth students face significant barriers that jeopardize their academic success. Nearly half of all foster youth college students experience housing insecurity, which severely impacts their academic performance and ability to graduate. By allowing Section 8 vouchers to be used for student housing, we can remove a major obstacle and support the educational and career aspirations of thousands of young people.”

Foster Care Alumni of America:

“As the President of Foster Care Alumni of America, we stand in strong support of the current bill that would allow emancipated youth, and current and former foster care youth, to use the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Housing Choice Voucher Program, known as Section 8, to pay for housing while in college.

Over 20 years ago, I faced the harsh reality of homelessness during the summers and breaks while in college. Tragically, today in 2024, young people in similar situations are still confronting this same problem. Despite progress with programs such as the FYI Vouchers, it is simply not enough. No young person should be forced to choose between having a roof over their head and pursuing an education.

This bill is a crucial step forward in ensuring that foster youth are given the same opportunities to thrive and succeed as their peers. By expanding access to housing through the Section 8 program, we can help foster care youth focus on their education and build a brighter future. It is our collective responsibility to provide the necessary support to these young individuals, ensuring they have a stable foundation to achieve their dreams and aspirations.

We must come together to address this pressing issue and create a system where education and housing are not mutually exclusive but are instead a combined pathway to success for all foster youth.”

The full text of the Campus Housing Affordability Act can be found here.

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