HUD last month heralded with much fanfare the transfer of 100,000 public housing units to the private sector that will be financially supported by the Section 8 housing voucher program over the long-term, a program used by millions of low-income seniors and poor families. That leaves about 1 million units yet to be converted under what is called the Rental Assistance Demonstration program, a device that quickly replaced an Obama administration initiative to create a national rental housing single-payer platform using the Section 8 program, now known as the Housing Choice Voucher program. The name change was made to remove the onus of the military’s use of Section 8 as a discharge category for the mentally unfit. When the single-payer platform was quietly shelved after its creator, Barbara Sard, was unceremoniously told by lawmakers that the concept would fail in Congress, then HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan substituted it with a modified version -- RAD. Donovan thought it would be easier to sell RAD as an attempt to save public housing by injecting private capital. A HUD study in 2010 found that public housing needed at least $25.5 billion for repairs just to make them livable, an amount that has now escalated to $49 billion. The current rate of deterioration is such that 10,000 units a year are lost. The idea behind RAD is to attract private developers, enticed by tax breaks and subsidies, to refurbish and manage the buildings. The u [...]
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10/5/18 5:55 PM