Low-income housing bill worth a look

One popular housing program for low-income Americans has a provision that, at first glance, makes a lot of sense. It stipulates that people living in certain housing units meant for low-income tenants cannot be full-time students. If they switch to part-time status to keep their low-cost housing, they risk loss of student financial aid.

Taxpayers should not subsidize housing for most people who, because they chose to be full-time students, do not have income-producing jobs.

But U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, have a concern about the rule. They have proposed it be changed so it does not apply to full-time students who are homeless or have been during recent years.

Why discourage those who — by their very homelessness or previous experience with it — are trying to improve their educations to get jobs, the two senators wonder. They think such people should be able to get both low-cost housing and student aid.

Providing their bill has safeguards to keep unscrupulous students from gaming the system, it is worth a look. They are right that those who have experienced homelessness may need more help, not less.