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The Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD)

Join Us for Our Don't Get RAD-dled Series!
30-Minute Trainings on What You Need to Know about RAD

HUD is permanently privatizing 185,000 public housing units nationwide through the RAD program. RAD conversions have a profound impact on tenants’ everyday lives, as well as the long-term affordability of our housing stock nationwide. Learn about how to ensure the greatest protections for RAD tenants and the availability of affordable housing in your community. Legal aid attorneys, tenant advocates, and tenant leaders are all welcome to attend.

The 30-minute segments will provide a brief overview of issues that tenants and advocates will encounter in RAD conversions nationwide, with an additional 10 minutes of Q&A. During each session, NHLP staff will discuss the protections guaranteed by RAD, relevant legal authorities, advocacy tips, and other resources.

What is RAD?

Public housing is a key part of affordable housing programs throughout the United States. However, public housing units across the country have been underfunded by Congress for many years. As a result, necessary maintenance and repairs for public housing units have been perpetually delayed. In fact, public housing units across the country need more than $26 billion in repairs. Because of this, an average of 10,000 public housing units are lost per year, primarily due to disrepair and unsafe housing conditions.

In response to these serious needs, Congress enacted the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) in 2012 to preserve and improve public housing buildings. RAD is the voluntary, permanent conversion of public housing to the Section 8 housing program. Unlike the public housing program, the Section 8 housing program allows for more funding flexibility, including the use of other funding sources like tax credits in addition to public funds, to maintain and improve existing public housing buildings. RAD also guarantees strong tenant protections that tenants had under the public housing program.

The RAD program has two components. Under Component 1, only public housing units may convert to RAD. The number of these conversions under Component 1 is currently capped at 185,000 units nationwide, and the converting units are chosen through a competitive selection process. As of December 2015, the 185,000 unit cap has been met, so all RAD applications will be placed on a waitlist until the cap is raised or lifted entirely. The RAD Component 1 Wait List, updated through December 2015, can be found here. Under Component 2, only Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation, Rent Supplement, and Rental Assistance Payment properties may convert to RAD. Unlike Component 1, there is no cap and thus no competitive selection process for the Component 2 conversions; however, the number of Component 2 conversions to project-based vouchers is subject to the availability of Tenant Protection Vouchers.

Achieving these lofty goals for the RAD program will require significant tenant involvement, national coordination among tenant advocates, and ongoing discussions with HUD about ways to improve the RAD program. This website seeks to provide a starting point for tenant advocates to learn about RAD conversions and how to secure enforceable tenant protections in their jurisdiction, using examples and lessons learned from communities nationwide and highlighting several areas for continued attention and advocacy.

Authorizing RAD

RAD is governed by both its authorizing statute and HUD Notice PIH 2012-32 (HA) (REV-3). Congress authorized RAD as part of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2012 (“RAD authorization statute”). After the RAD authorization statute was passed, HUD issued HUD Notice PIH-2012-32 (HA), subsequently updated and revised by HUD Notice PIH-2012-32 (HA) (REV-3) (“RAD Notice”), which governs HUD’s implementation of RAD. Authorization for RAD lies solely in the appropriations bill and has no other statutory basis. The RAD Notice provides the only implementation details for both RAD Component 1 and Component 2.

On January 12, 2017, HUD released HUD Notice 2012-32, REV-3, which contains several updates and changes to the RAD program that became effective upon publication in the Federal Register on January 19, 2017. This new notice revises and supersedes HUD Notice 2012-32, REV-2. The new RAD Notice also supplements the requirements described in the HUD RAD Notice on Fair Housing, Civil Rights, and Relocation (HUD Notice 2016-17). NHLP has written this memo describing the major changes enacted by HUD Notice 2012-32, REV-3.

Other important RAD authorizing and implementing documents include:

FY 2012 Committee on Appropriations. This Committee bill adopted on September 21, 2011 briefly discusses the importance of public housing choice mobility in RAD.
Public Law 112-55 (as amended). Public Law 112-55 (as amended) establishes RAD and authorizes the conversion of 185,000 public housing units.
HUD Notice 2016-17. This Notice provides information about required relocation assistance when planning for, or implementing, resident relocations under the first component of RAD.

Is RAD happening in my community?

Each month, HUD posts an updated “List of Unit Reservations” on its RAD website. This list includes the RAD project name, PHA name, PHA size, number of units converting to RAD, and the type of RAD conversion (PBV or PBRA).

Additionally,, a collaboration between NHLP and the American Federation of State, Country, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), contains a clickable map by state and additional data about the key dates for each RAD-converting property.

Advocates who have not yet been involved in RAD in their local jurisdictions should consult both the HUD RAD website and for the latest information about RAD conversions in their area.

Where can I learn more about RAD?

NHLP has created the following resources to assist tenant advocates and legal services attorneys who want to become involved in their local RAD conversions:

NHLP Webinar: Protecting Tenants in Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) Communities Nationwide (June 2016)

This webinar provides an overview of the RAD program and explores how legal services attorneys and tenant advocates can secure key RAD tenant rights at each major stage of a RAD conversion. The webinar also draws upon the experiences of tenant advocates in RAD-converting communities nationwide to provide lessons learned and examples of implementation challenges. Click here to view the PowerPoint slides.

Beginner's Guide to RAD Advocacy (March 2017)

NHLP has created an introductory guide for tenant advocates who are just starting to get involved in their local RAD conversion. This document, entitled the "Beginner's Guide to RAD Advocacy," provides a brief overview of the RAD program, information about the HUD RAD guiding documents, additional RAD resources provided by NHLP and HUD, tips on getting involved in local RAD conversions, and preliminary questions that tenant advocates should ask when first getting involved in RAD.

NHLP RAD Advocacy Guide (Jan. 2016)

This advocacy guide is designed to provide legal services attorneys and tenant advocates with information, guidance, model policies, and lessons learned from RAD Component 1 conversions nationwide. This guide specifically discusses ways for advocates to ensure the long-term affordability and enforceable rights of tenants in RAD properties.

NHLP Memo: RAD - Long-Term Affordability (July 2015)

The purpose of this memorandum is to provide a review and analysis of the long-term affordability provisions of the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program. Pursuant to RAD, 185,000 units of federally-subsidized public housing are being leveraged in the private market. Appropriate monitoring and regulation of the new ownership entities will be necessary to help ensure the long-term affordability of the converted former public housing units.

NHLP Webinar: RAD Special Topics for Tenant & Community Advocates

This webinar provided a follow up to our December RAD Basics webinar. The session focused on process issues around public housing conversion under RAD, including resident involvement, ownership and accountability, and other significant issues. The PowerPoint slides are available here.

NHLP Webinar: RAD Basics for Tenant and Community Advocates

This webinar provided basic training on HUD's Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program, including the RAD process, program status, significant issues raised for tenants and advocates, commentary from selected advocates, and some practice tips.

NHLP RAD Resident Issues: A Basic Overview

Provides a general overview of RAD and the layers of legal authorities that are applicable to RAD. It also covers resident rights issues including grievance rights, eviction, subsidy termination, choice mobility, relocation, and resident organizing and participation.

HUD RAD Quick Reference Guide for Public Housing Projects Converting to Project-Based Voucher (PBV) Assistance

Provides guidance to PHAs converting under RAD to PBV assistance and discusses HAP contracts, the Use Agreement, contract administration, resident rights and participation, and the RAD PBV lease.

Other RAD resources, including those created by HUD, include:

• HUD’s RAD Resource Desk

Provides updated and relevant information regarding recent RAD developments. The RAD FAQ is a great resource for many issues not addressed by the Notices and Use Agreement. In addition, the site provides many of HUD’s RAD Webinars. Also note that residents and advocates may submit questions and comments to HUD at and may join the RAD mailing list here.

HUD NLIHC – Resident and Advocate Webinar

Provides background on RAD including the role of residents in developing RAD and general resident considerations.

NLIHC - RAD Key Features

Provides information about the key features of the RAD program, resident provisions and tenant protections.

HUD – RAD Reference Guide to Multifamily Housing Requirements

This guide provides instruction to owners (including Public Housing Authorities) converting their projects to project-based rental assistance (PBRA) authorized under the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD). The purpose of this guide to highlight certain requirements owners converting under RAD should be aware of. The guide is a starting point for owners converting under RAD to become familiar with HUD Multifamily Housing requirements.

Are there RAD resources for residents?

There are several resources that have been created to educate residents about what RAD conversions mean for them, including:

HUD – RAD toolkit

Provides some basic information to public housing residents about the RAD application and conversion process.

• San Francisco RAD Tool Kit for Residents

The Tool Kit, funded by Enterprise Community Partners and developed by NHLP and Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco, consists of a series of FAQs for San Francisco public housing residents and RAD developers to explain the San Francisco RAD program. The FAQs are available in four languages. The eight FAQs include:

FAQ #1 What Is Happening With My Housing?
FAQ #2 Will I Have To Move? Can I Lose My Housing?
FAQ #3 Affordability and Ownership
FAQ #4 Timeline
FAQ #5 New Rules and Changes
FAQ #6 Eviction and Grievance Rights
FAQ #7 Resident Engagement and Organizing
FAQ #8 Mobility, Services and Jobs

Evaluating RAD

In order to ensure that RAD is fulfilling its ambitious goals and to evaluate the results of the RAD program, there must be ongoing monitoring of the RAD program on both a national and local level, even after closing. These documents provide a starting place for this ongoing monitoring and evaluation of RAD:

NHLP Submits Comments on HUD's Draft RAD Resident Factsheets

On behalf of the National RAD Working Group, NHLP has submitted comments on HUD's draft RAD resident factsheets. These tenant educational materials have the potential to provide the necessary transparency surrounding the terms of the RAD conversion, which is currently lacking in many RAD jurisdictions nationwide. Our comments seek to make the factsheets more accessible and comprehensive in order to ensure adequate and meaningful tenant education and participation throughout the RAD conversion process.

Comments on RAD Notice on Civil Rights, Fair Housing and Relocation Requirements (Notice PIH 2016-17)

In December 2016, NHLP and the Housing Justice Network submitted comments on the newly released HUD Notice 2016-17, "Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) Notice Regarding Fair Housing and Civil Rights Requirements Applicable to RAD First Component ─ Public Housing Conversions." Effectively immediately, this new notice provides many strong protections for tenants in RAD-converting properties and seeks to ensure that public housing authorities and property owners adhere to the key fair housing and civil rights statutory and regulatory requirements, explain when HUD is requiring front-end fair housing and civil rights reviews prior to the RAD conversion, and provide guidance regarding key relocation statutory and regulatory requirements throughout the RAD conversion. This notice only applies to projects converting under RAD Component 1 and does not apply to RAD Component 2 conversions.

HUD Interim Report- Evaluation of HUD's Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) Report

The HUD Office of Policy Development and Research has contracted with Econometrica, Inc. to undertake a multi-year evaluation and report of the RAD program. Among its many findings, an interim September 2016 report found that:

• PHAs often sought to use RAD as an "opportunity to streamline their operations" and remove their properties from the statutory and regulatory control of the public housing program,
• PHAs are not necessarily proposing their neediest projects for RAD conversion and may be choosing the projects with the least amount of capital needs in order to convert the properties more quickly to RAD,
• the most common sources of capital for RAD conversions were low-income housing tax credits,
• the PHA's size appeared to affect a project's ability to receive external financing,
• PHAs chose to convert to RAD instead of other financing options because of RAD's relative ease of use, technical capacity, perceptions of Section 8, access to capital, and potential for large-scale conversions,
• PHAs found that RAD works better in areas where rents are high enough to finance capital needs, and
• PHAs who dropped out of the RAD program before closing did so because of unworkable milestones and/or inadequate preparation.

A second report will be published by December 2018, which will evaluate how RAD impacts the physical and financial condition of properties converting to RAD and how tenants are affected by the RAD conversion.

Evaluation of HUD RAD Form Documents

In May 2016, NHLP and the Housing Justice Network submitted comments on the HUD RAD Form Documents, including the FHEO Accessibility and Relocation Checklist, RAD Financing Plan template, RAD Use Agreement, HAP Contract, and RAD Conversion Commitment. The RAD Form Documents are a critical part of ensuring the long-term affordability and tenant protections that are required by the RAD program. These documents also have the potential to provide the necessary transparency surrounding the terms of the RAD conversion, which is currently lacking in many RAD jurisdictions nationwide. Our comments focused on ensuring that the RAD Form Documents include the strongest long-term affordability protections, are used as key tools for tenant education and participation, and are publicly accessible for enforcement and transparency purposes.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters Requests GAO Review of RAD

In October 2015, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, ranking member of the House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services, asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate the extent to which RAD is meeting the goals it was enacted to achieve.

HUD – Status of HUD’s Rental Assistance Evaluation and Results to Date

Provides information as of September 30, 2014 on the status of RAD. Details application numbers, closed deals, amount of finance leveraged for total RAD projects, and some demographic data.

GAO Report to Congressional Committees – Information on Initial Conversion to PBVs

Statutorily required study that found that RAD conversions to PBV will have a minimal effect on the total percentage of vouchers that are project-based.

RAD in Other Jurisdictions

Many jurisdictions nationwide are undergoing RAD conversions. This section seeks to collect RAD policies and practices that tenant advocates have successfully incorporated in their local RAD conversion documents:

San Francisco:

Request for Qualifications (RFQ)

The Housing Authority of the City and County of San Francisco and Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development produced this RFQ for the development, ownership, and management of 29 public housing developments in San Francisco under the first component of RAD. Noted provisions include nonprofit ownership and strong tenant protections.

RAD Relocation and Transition Plan

Advocates in San Francisco were involved in drafting a Relocation and Transition Plan for San Francisco RAD conversions. This relocation plan states that its objective is “to minimize the hardships of relocation and to ensure that each resident moving due to a RAD project activity is provided the full measure of assistance for which the resident is eligible.”


Supplemental Consent Decree

In Baltimore City, advocates from the Maryland Disability Law Center filed a supplemental agreement to an ongoing consent decree. In addition to addressing outstanding items from the original consent decree, the supplemental agreement also specifically addressed HABC’s conversion of nearly 4,000 of its public housing units under RAD to PBRA.

Recent Articles About RAD

HUD Guidance Clarifies Tenant Protections in the Rental Assistance Demonstration

This January 2013 Housing Law Bulletin article discusses the development of public housing resident participation and tenant protections implemented in RAD.

Congress Enacts Rental Assistance Demonstration Program

This December 2011 Housing Law Bulletin article discusses the enactment and purpose of RAD in addressing the Nation’s $25.6 billion public housing capital needs backlog.

HUD Introduces Transformation of Rental Assistance Proposal

This March 2010 Housing Law Bulletin article discusses HUD’s FY 2011 budget proposal for the previous iteration of RAD legislation, Transformation of Rental Assistance.

Private Funding, Public Housing: The Devil in the Details

This article, Anne Marie Smetak, Private Funding, Public Housing: The Devil in the Details, 21 Virginia Journal of Social Policy & the Law 1 (2014), provides an in depth look at the chronically insufficient funding of public housing across the nation and the potential effect that RAD may have in opening private investment into public housing.

The RAD-ical Shift to Public Housing

This American Prospect article provides relevant background on RAD and a national examination of tenants’ concerns regarding the conversion.

Concerns Raised About Public Housing Pilot Program

This Daily Progress article focuses on the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority application to RAD and residents’ resistance to the PHA’s efforts to apply.

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities – Expanding RAD Would Help Low Income Households

This CBPP report recommends that Congress expand the RAD unit conversion limit from 60,000 to 185,000 in the 2015 appropriations bill to allow public housing applications on the waitlist to be converted. It focuses on RAD’s preservation strategies, protection and expansion of resident rights, and limits on private control.

Other Resources

HUD - Recapitalization Examples under RAD

Provides examples of recapitalization of two projects under RAD by demonstrating that the capital and operating funds of the projects are insufficient in comparison to leveraging outside sources of finance, including tax credits and bonds. Discusses financing and debt issuance for repairs and renovations.

NHLP 2013 Recommendations for Improving RAD

NHLP’s January 23, 2013, comments to HUD on the initial version of RAD Notice PIH-2012-32 (HA), REV-2 focused on strengthening resident influence in the PHA plan process; improving lease, grievance, and eviction rights; and expanding resident participation and organizing rights.

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