The March 15 panel discussion on the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program provided CLPHA members with the opportunity to share their experiences with RAD and gave the RAD team the opportunity to share information about the program’s implementation. Stephen Holmquist, counsel to CLPHA and partner at Reno and Cavanaugh, moderated the panel, whose presenters included Denise Wise, CEO, Housing Authority of the City of San Buenaventura (HASCB); Roy Johnson, Executive Director, Vancouver Housing Authority (VHA); Jeffery Patterson, Executive Director, Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA); Pat Costigan, Senior Advisor to the Secretary, HUD; and Greg Byrne, Senior Project Manager, Public and Indian Housing, HUD.
Costigan thanked CLPHA for being instrumental in the enactment of RAD. He acknowledged that RAD is not the program that HUD and housing authorities originally proposed, but stated that Secretary Donovan is committed to doing whatever it takes to make RAD work for housing authorities. Costigan noted that there is flexibility to revise RAD program features now that the open competition period has closed, and he encouraged housing authorities to contact the RAD team to discuss programmatic changes and exceptions that might allow for their participation. In response to concerns about the effects of sequestration on RAD, Costigan explained that HUD will honor the rent levels set forth in PIH Notice 2012-32 despite sequestration. Specifically, HUD will allow housing authorities to use available public housing and other funds to close the gap between the 2013 appropriations and established contract rent levels. Further details on the relationship between FY 2013 appropriations and RAD can be found in the most recent RAD Blast.
Member presentations provided good insight on RAD’s implementation. In general, member panelists were pleased with the RAD team’s assistance and flexibility during the application and conversion processes. Each member also described why their housing authority decided to participate in RAD and the particulars of their RAD deals. Member panelists had a variety of reasons for opting to convert projects under RAD. CMHA found that inconsistent public housing funding and limited access to debt within the public housing program prevented the replacement of severely distressed public housing. HACSB decided to participate in RAD because it allowed for capital improvements without the demo-dispo application. VHA, an MTW agency, chose to participate in RAD because it allowed for greater flexibility in a project replacement than the Sec. 18 draft approval received from HUD. Member panelists seemed to agree that although RAD conversions did not increase their projects’ subsidy levels, RAD’s flexibility made project rehabilitation and replacement more feasible when compared with other options. Further details on presented deals can be found in member panelists’ presentations.
Questions on RAD can be directed to CLPHA Research & Policy Analyst Carmen Brick.