Once again, on one hand the budget language calls for eliminating the RAD cap and timelines so that additional PHAs and their partners can preserve and rehab more at-risk housing on realistic timelines. But the other hand takes that good proposal away by proposing to completely eliminate the Public Housing Capital Fund and severely cutting the Operating Fund by $2 billion.
RAD for public housing can’t work without maintaining reasonable capital and operating fund levels, since it converts that funding to long-term Section 8 funding contracts. And the modest $100 million once again earmarked for RAD projects in this year’s budget proposal as compensation for those cuts would barely enable 30,000 additional public housing units to convert under RAD. Meanwhile, the remainder of the public housing stock yet seeking to convert funding under RAD would be left with crumbs to work with. This is well shy of the 100,000-plus units per year demand for RAD that HUD has seen—even when constrained by caps and waitlists.
For more details on the HUD FY 2020 budget and proposed cuts to basic programs assisted housing and low-income communities, check out this overview in Affordable Housing Finance.
Once again, none of what the Administration claims about RAD and efforts to preserve much-needed public and assisted housing can be reconciled. And once again, it will be up to Congress, practitioners and other stakeholders to advance RAD’s steady momentum in taking on this task.