Rental Assistance Demonstration

In 2014, the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) received approval from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to convert a portion of its public housing properties to project-based assistance under the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program. RAD offers PHA flexibility to preserve affordable housing, leverage new resources to address capital needs, and provide a more stable and reliable funding source in the face of continued federal cutbacks to the public housing program.

What is the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program?

RAD is a HUD demonstration program through which public housing units can be converted to long-term project based assistance.  RAD does not provide any new HUD funds; rather, it combines public housing operating and capital subsidy into payments under a long-term RAD Section 8 Project-Based Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract. For more information on RAD, visit HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration website.

What are the benefits of converting public housing to the RAD program?

PHA estimates that upwards of $1 billion in new funding is needed to ensure the long-term preservation and viability of existing public housing developments. While no new HUD funds are being made available, converting public housing to the RAD Section 8 Project-Based subsidy program enables PHA to secure other, non-HUD financial resources to address the large backlog of deferred maintenance and other capital needs.  RAD conversion allows PHA to leverage funds that are not available in the traditional public housing program, while ensuring the protection of tenants’ rights and preserving long-term affordability. With these funds, PHA plans to renovate and restore old housing stock, keeping them viable and affordable.

RAD also allows PHA to expand the supply of affordable housing through “transfer of assistance” from vacant scattered site public housing units.  Through RAD conversion, PHA is able to transfer assistance from these vacant units to new affordable housing units developed by PHA and qualified development partners.

How will PHA ensure that public housing converted under RAD will continue to be available to low-income households?

As part of the conversion process, HUD requires that each housing development have a RAD use agreement, long-term ground lease, deed restrictions and other recorded restrictions to ensure that the housing continues to serve low-income families, seniors, and people with disabilities.

How will RAD impact PHA’s current public housing residents?

Ensuring the long-term preservation of affordable, quality housing for current and future residents is PHA’s primary goal under RAD.  Residents of existing PHA developments that are converted under the RAD program will have an absolute right to return to their development following conversion, provided that they continue to remain in good standing with their current lease obligations. Most residents will see improvements made to their developments.  PHA is committed to maintaining substantially the same operational rules, rent structure, and tenant rights that are in place now. Residents should feel very little day-to-day impact in how PHA manages its properties.

RAD residents will become participants in the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, and subject to the policies described in PHA’s HCV Administrative Plan.  A key benefit of RAD is “Choice Mobility”, which ensures that residents who wish to move will be given a preference for a tenant-based voucher after the initial year of occupancy.

Under RAD, residents have the right to form resident organizations.

Will current residents have to move because of RAD?

Current public housing residents have an absolute right to continue to live at the development following conversion to RAD, provided that they remain in good standing with all lease obligations. Some, but not all, households may be relocated temporarily by PHA to complete major construction work. In those cases, PHA will provide relocation benefits and support to minimize any disruption.

How will RAD residents be impacted by Low Income Housing Tax Credits?

Some RAD developments will receive funding through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC). When LIHTC is used to finance construction, the development becomes subject to LIHTC rules, which requires an annual income certification and has additional unit inspection requirements. Some households may experience rent increases as a result of RAD conversion. However, increases may be phased in over a period of years. Any household whose rent may increase will be made aware prior to conversion.

How will RAD impact new applicants and those currently on PHA’s waitlists?

If the development has a pre-existing site-based public housing waitlist, applicants on the list will be transferred to the new site-based list.

What is RAD Transfer of Assistance Projects (TOA)?

Transfer of Assistance involves the transfer of subsidy from long-term vacant and non-viable scattered sites units in order to subsidize new affordable housing.

So Far:

Subsidies from 820 units were transferred to 17 developments.
Subsidies from 191 units pending closing will be transferred to 5 developments
Transfer of subsidies from up to 38 more units are in the planning stages.

RAD Transfer of Assistance – Developments Closed to Date

For information on how to apply to these developments, click on the Organization Name in the table here to go to the organization’s homepage.

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