During the last decade, capital fund appropriations have dwindled, while ongoing accrual needs have increased dramatically. For many PHAs, RAD is already an invaluable tool for leveraging private capital and stabilizing vulnerable projects. The existing statutory cap on the number of RAD units converted should be lifted entirely so that RAD can be a long-term planning and asset management tool for PHAs. Moving away from a competitive program will allow PHAs to more rationally determine when and which projects to put in the RAD pipeline.
Greater flexibility in using federal assistance is essential since rigid adherence to narrow program rules prevents the responsiveness and adaptability needed to use resources in the most effective way possible. Particularly as funding dwindles, we believe greater flexibility in using federal assistance is essential. Rigid adherence to narrow program rules prevents the responsiveness and adaptability needed to use public housing resources in the most effective way possible. Models where PHAs can flexibly combine funding sources and use them in ways that are more effective locally, such as the ability to combine operating and capital funds and “rent bundle” in the RAD program, should be taken to scale and replicated across the public housing program.
The nation’s investment of more than $100 billion in the public housing infrastructure, which houses more than two million of our poorest, most vulnerable people, is at risk due to a lack of funds for capital improvement and replacement needs, as well as the cost and effect of excessive federal regulation. Moving forward, innovative models such as RAD should be taken to scale and replicated across the public housing program. RAD has already transformed portions of this vital infrastructure into viable affordable housing assets by stabilizing operations through access to private financing, transitioning to a Section 8 funding and regulatory platform, and through local public-private partnerships that preserve or replace housing developments.