Residents who live in public housing owned and operated by public housing agencies (PHAs) on the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) waitlist need to be prepared to understand the RAD process, demand full and genuine involvement in decision-making, and demand complete, timely, and ongoing access to information. Residents also need to be prepared to be engaged throughout renovation (or demolition and new construction), temporary relocation, and return to the renovated or new property. As authorized by Congress, 40,000 more public housing units will be converted from public housing to project-based vouchers (PBVs) or project-based Section 8 under RAD.
HUD published a notice in the Federal Register on August 23 formally notifying PHAs on the RAD waitlist that have submitted a Letter of Interest (LOI) that they have 60 days to submit a complete RAD application. There are also a number of PHAs on this waitlist that have already submitted a RAD application and have previously received preliminary approval, called a Commitment to enter into a Housing Assistance Payment (CHAP). See pages 1-8 of the first portion of HUD’s waitlist for these PHAs. Another 48,000 units are on a second portion of the waitlist (pages 9-15) that will be considered after the first 42,000 have been considered.
HUD also issued a sample Resident Information Notice (RIN) that PHAs may use to provide basic information to residents about a proposed RAD conversion. PHAs must provide a RIN to all residents of a converting project before the first of two meetings that must be held with residents before the PHA submits an application.
Residents and advocates working with residents should ensure that their PHA complies with the resident protections in RAD law, RAD implementation requirements in Notice PIH-2012-32 REV 3, and fair housing and relocation responsibilities in Notice PIH 2016-17. It is important that residents seek more than the two meetings required before a PHA submits a RAD application because RAD is complex and residents deserve adequate opportunities to obtain sufficient information, ask questions, and help guide the redevelopment of their homes. Residents should demand more than the one meeting required after an application has received a CHAP; there ought to be ongoing status meetings so that residents are aware of progress and any changes to RAD plans. Residents should be prepared to ask questions and demand meaningful information throughout the process; assistance from legal services is often necessary.
Residents will want to engage property owners in the development of a required set of House Rules, which owners must submit to HUD before official conversion to RAD. Advocates learned that owners have not been submitting House Rules, and HUD has not sought them. Residents at a number of RAD locations have encountered illegal, conflicting, and unreasonable house rules. Therefore, residents and advocates need to engage owners to ensure that House Rules:
- Have RAD-required language about lease termination, notification, and grievance procedures.
- Are reasonable, fair, and not excessive or extreme.
- Are reasonably related to the safety, care, and cleanliness of the building, or the safety and comfort of the tenants.
- Comply with HUD requirements, such as those pertaining to pet rules, incidental business in a unit, and extended absences.
Ongoing monitoring by residents will be essential to ensure the resident protections in the RAD law and the implementing Notices are being honored. For residents living in a converting public housing property, there must be no involuntary displacement of current residents and there must be a right to return to the property without any rescreening after renovation or new construction. The owner of a converted property must continue to provide $25 per unit for resident participation activities. The owner must recognize legitimate resident organizations and allow a wide variety of resident participation activities spelled out in Notice PIH-2012 REV3. Also spelled out in the Notice are resident grievance procedures that owners must follow.
- The Federal Register Notice is at: http://bit.ly/2vv2Fpk
- NLIHC has an outline of key RAD provisions at: http://bit.ly/2vvQusb
- More information about RAD is on page 4-15 of NLIHC’s 2017 Advocates’ Guide at: http://bit.ly/2pVNhjn
- The National Housing Law Project has a wealth of RAD information at: http://nhlp.org/RAD
- HUD’s RAD webpage is at: http://bit.ly/2ht2w2C