Building a Community of Practice for the Future of Public Housing

April 3, 2019

HUD Budget & RAD—Dejà vu Obfuscation All Over Again?
Now three years running, HUD’s annual budget proposal that Secretary Carson recently defended before the House and Senate THUD Appropriations committees continues to be a puzzling contradiction of claims, which can no longer be chalked up to not understanding how RAD—and public housing more generally—work.  
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.  
Northwest Regional RAD+ Convening Highlights Critical Roles of States & Promise of Cross-Sector Partners
Over 140 attendees gathered in Portland and Vancouver over three days from February 27 to March 3 to explore the latest practice and policy insights into what’s become known as “RAD+” — an impressive array of mixed-income/mixed-use/preservation developments and cross-sector collaborations being undertaken along with RAD and Section 18 conversions of assistance.
Attendees heard from HUD’s Recap Office and SAC directors about the forthcoming RAD notice revisions and other news; learned about the growing roles of the states of Oregon, California and Washington in supporting RAD+ and cross-sector collaborations in healthcare, education, employment and more; and joined in wide-ranging discussions with leading practitioners about an impressive array of preservation and redevelopment projects being undertaken by PHAs and their partners throughout the Northwest—looking at both what’s been achieved and what’s needed ahead for RAD.

See an overview of the Convening and materials discussed on the Collaborative’s Events web page.

Thanks to our local hosts below—as well as our national supporters at the bottom of this Update—for making the Northwest RAD+ Regional Convening possible!

Practitioner News & Notes
  • FY2019 Allocations for RAD Rents? Heard at the recent Northwest Regional RAD+ Convening—HUD has no plans to use what appear to be slightly higher allocations for Public Housing Operating and Capital funds in the recent FY2019 budget allocations in potentially re-setting RAD rents. When newly mandated uses of Capital Funds and other factors in HUD’s FY2019 budget are accounted for, any possible changes compared to the FY2018 allocations now being used to set RAD rents are reported to be negligible.
  • RAD Notice Revisions: Also learned at the Convening—final revisions to RAD Rev4 were still in internal HUD and OMB clearance processes. While completion of these processes is unpredictable, a good bet now would be that the full RAD Rev4 changes won’t be published before the end of May.
  • RAD for PRAC: Prior to finalizing RAD Rev4, HUD sought comments on the draft component of the new RAD-for-PRAC authority. See the CLPHA/Reno & Cavanaugh comments here. Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future, National Church Residences, Leading Age among other experienced PRAC practitioners also offered comments. See their respective web pages for further information.
  • Section 3 Revisions: The Federal Register published on April 3, HUD’s much-needed draft revision to the longstanding Section 3 notice for comment. See HUD’s accompanying press release and new proposed rule. An initial review suggests promising changes that could better support Section 3’s goal of increasing economic opportunity for low-income residents affected by HUD funding. Comments are due June 3.
Useful Links
455 Massachusetts Ave, NW | Ste 425 | Washington, D.C. | 20001