The Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) is a voluntary program of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). RAD seeks to preserve public housing by providing Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) with access to more stable funding to make needed improvements to properties.
Public housing units across the country need more than $26 billion in repairs. HUD refers to these repair costs as capital needs. Congress has not provided enough funding for PHAs to keep up with capital needs. As a result, PHAs have had to make tough choices between things like repairing roofs and replacing plumbing—or worse, demolishing public housing. RAD provides PHAs a way to rehabilitate, or repair, units without depending on additional money from Congress.
RAD allows PHAs to manage a property using one of two types of HUD funding contracts that are tied to a specific building:
- Section 8 project-based voucher (PBV); or
- Section 8 project-based rental assistance (PBRA).
PBV and PBRA contracts are 15- or 20-years long and are more stable funding sources.
This shift will make it easier for PHAs to borrow money and use low income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) as well as other forms of financing. These private sources of additional money will enable PHAs to make improvements essential for preserving public housing.
As a voluntary, limited demonstration program, less than 60,000 public housing units can be selected for RAD. PHAs must submit applications to convert some or all of their public housing assistance to PBV or PBRA contracts through RAD by September 30, 2015.
You will not lose your housing assistance and you will not be rescreened because of a RAD conversion.
Even though a RAD property can use private money to make big repairs, it will still receive money from HUD. With this subsidy from HUD, PHAs will manage RAD properties through either the PBV or PBRA programs. RAD requires that converted properties be owned or controlled by a public or nonprofit entity.
If your building or development is converted to PBV or PBRA, your rent contribution will most likely be the same as it was under public housing—generally no more than 30% of your household’s adjusted gross income.
Since the project-based Section 8 programs also set resident rents at 30% of adjusted income, most residents will not have rent increases as a result of a RAD conversion.
However, if you are paying a flat rent in public housing, you will most likely have to gradually pay slightly more in rent over time. In these limited cases, if your rent increases more than 10% and requires you to pay more than $25 per month in additional rent, your new rent will be phased in over the next 3 or 5 years depending on your PHA’s policy.
HUD encourages residents and their PHAs to work together during the RAD application and conversion process.
Before PHAs can apply to participate in RAD, HUD requires them to:
- Notify all residents in a development proposed for RAD conversion about their plans; and
- Conduct at least two meetings with those residents.
These meetings are an opportunity for you to discuss the proposed conversion plans with your PHA, ask questions, express concerns, and provide comments. The PHA is required to submit your comments and its response to them as part of the RAD application.
Once HUD selects the PHA and property to participate in RAD, the PHA must have at least one additional meeting with all residents of the property before HUD approves the final conversion. This is another opportunity for you to provide comments about the conversion plan.
HUD considers a RAD conversion to be a “Significant Amendment” to the PHA Plan. Once a PHA is selected to participate, the PHA will have to comply with the resident and public notice, consultation, and public hearing requirements associated with a Significant Amendment before the final RAD conversion is approved.
This means that your Resident Advisory Board (RAB) will also be consulted and have an opportunity to make recommendations.
After notifying residents as outlined above, PHAs can apply to HUD to convert assistance under RAD. Some PHAs have already begun this process. The application period will remain open until the 60,000- unit conversion cap is reached, or September 30, 2015, whichever is sooner.
Most needed repairs made as part of RAD are likely to be small and you will be able to stay in your home during construction.
However, some apartments and buildings will require more extensive rehab. In these cases, you will be temporarily relocated as provided by the Uniform Relocation Act (URA). You will have the right to return to your development once construction is completed. Generally, temporary relocation should not last longer than 12 months.
In a few cases, your current housing may be too old or deteriorated and past the point where it can be effectively rehabilitated, requiring that it be demolished and replaced. In these instances, you will be provided temporary relocation and you will have the right to return to the replacement housing that is constructed.
If you do not want to wait for replacement housing, the PHA may offer you comparable housing in another public housing property or a Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) to enable you to move to other available private housing.
Whether you are asked to move temporarily due to rehab work or to move permanently to new replacement housing, the PHA will help you find the best possible option for you and cover your moving expenses.
In addition to improved, better quality housing, you will have greater choice in where to live through the RAD “choice-mobility option.” If you would like to move after your development undergoes a RAD conversion, you may request and receive a Housing Choice Voucher (HCV).
Under the PBV program, this option will be available after living in a RAD property for one year; under the PBRA program, you may request a HCV after living in a RAD property for two years.
Overall, your experience as a resident should not change very much, if at all, due to a RAD conversion. RAD keeps many of the resident processes and rights available under public housing, such as the ability to request a grievance process and the timelines for termination notification.
Whether HUD begins funding a development through PBV or PBRA, residents will have a right to organize and resident organizations will continue to receive resident participation funds, up to $25 per occupied unit according to their PHA’s current policy.
If you are a current participant in the Resident Opportunities and Self Sufficiency-Service Coordinators (ROSS-SC) program, you can continue to participate until all of the current program funding is used.
You will also still be able to participate in the Family Self-sufficiency (FSS) program. If your property converts assistance to PBV, you will be automatically moved from the public housing FSS program to the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) FSS program. The rules in both programs are very similar.
If your property converts assistance to PBRA, you may continue your participation in the FSS program until your current contract of participation ends.