On June 15, HUD published a greatly revised Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) Notice. The revision, PIH 2012-32 REV-2, incorporates changes authorized by the FY15 Appropriations Act, including increasing the number of public housing units that can be converted through RAD from 60,000 to 185,000 units (see Memo 1/12). The Notice also includes lessons learned from the past two years of RAD implementation, and weaves in answers to frequently asked questions. The Notice is effectively a program regulation.
RAD is intended to preserve and improve low income housing by enabling public housing agencies (PHAs) to leverage Section 8 rental assistance contracts to raise private debt and equity for capital improvements. RAD has two components. The first allows up to 185,000 public housing units to be converted from their existing public housing assistance to project-based Housing Choice Vouchers (PBVs) or to Section 8 project-based rental assistance (PBRA) by September 30, 2018. The second component allows private properties assisted through the Rent Supplement (Rent Supp), Rental Assistance Program (RAP), and Moderate Rehabilitation programs to convert an unlimited number of Tenant Protection Vouchers (TPVs) to PBRA, or as of the FY15 Appropriations Act, to PBVs.
Pages 3 and 4 of the 235-page Notice list 15 major revisions for the public housing component and five major revisions for the second component. Below is a preliminary summary of key changes in the public housing component pertinent to public housing residents. More detail about the following items is at http://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/RAD_Supplement_061515.pdf.
Several provisions are at the front-end of the Notice under “Project Conversion Requirements,” including:
- The relocation requirements of Notice PIH 2014-17 (see Memo, 7/18/14) are highlighted. (page 26)
- “Right to return” language from the previous Notice is repeated in the revised Notice; however, now this language also applies to PBRA conversions, not just PBV conversions. (page 27)
- Federal accessibility requirements apply to all RAD conversions. The most typical requirements are those of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Fair Housing Act. (pages 27-28)
- Requirements regarding site and neighborhood standards are spelled out. (pages 28-29)
- The meaning of “ownership and control” of post-conversion projects is refined. This improvement has the potential to address concerns expressed by many residents that their public housing homes could be privatized after RAD conversion. (page 30)
- HUD may allow ownership of a project to be transferred to a Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) entity controlled by a for-profit entity to enable the use of LIHTC assistance, but only if HUD determines that the PHA preserves sufficient interest in the property. The Notice describes how a PHA can preserve sufficient interest. (page 31)
Fair Housing. In addition to the two fair housing items mentioned above, a variety of fair housing features are presented upfront in the Notice under “General Program Description.” (pages 19-20)
- The Notice states that “as with the administration of all HUD programs and HUD-assisted activities, fair housing and civil rights issues must be considered in the administration of RAD transactions. This includes actions and policies that may have a discriminatory effect on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, religion, disability, or familial status, or that may impede, obstruct, prevent, or undermine efforts to affirmatively further fair housing.”
- Most RAD conversions will entail activities that trigger a required HUD front-end review for compliance with civil rights and fair housing requirements.
In the section on “Resident Notification,” the Notice provides details regarding a PHA’s obligation to:
- Use effective communications for persons with hearing, visual, and other communications-related disabilities when providing notices and conducting meetings.
- Hold resident meetings at facilities that are physically accessible to persons with disabilities.
- Provide meaningful access to programs and activities for persons who have a limited ability to speak, read, or understand English. (page 79)
New RAD Application Priorities. HUD will use six levels of priority when considering which RAD applications should receive a preliminary approval. The first priority is for properties that are physically or functionally obsolete that a PHA proposes to fully or partially demolish and replace with new units. The second priority is for applications that are part of a comprehensive neighborhood revitalization plan. (pages 86-87)
Significant Amendment to the PHA Plan. The revised Notice changes the timing for a PHA to carry out the resident and public engagement activities required when there is a “Significant Amendment” to a PHA Plan. In 2012, NLIHC commented that the timing was too late – two months after HUD had given preliminary approval to a RAD application (see Memo, 4/6/12). The revised Notice requires the RAD Financing Plan to include a letter from HUD approving the Significant Amendment. Financing Plans are due six months after HUD has issued a preliminary approval for RAD conversion.
NLIHC continues to stress that decisions regarding whether to apply for RAD conversion, and if so, which developments should be converted, ought to be discussed as a Significant Amendment by all PHA residents and the surrounding community before an application is submitted.
HUD will be holding live Question and Answer sessions on Friday afternoons. Check the RAD website for dates and access information.
Notice PIH 2012-32 REV-2 is at http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=PIHNotice_2012-32_062015.pdf
Webinar materials explaining the REV-2 changes are on HUD’s RAD website at http://www.radresource.net/webinars.cfm
HUD’s RAD website is http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/RAD
Basic information about RAD prior to REV-2 is on page 4-21of NLIHC’s 2015 Advocates’ Guide, http://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/Sec4.07_Public-Housing-Rental-Assistance_2015.pdf