Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD)


In response to the serious repair needs at public housing properties ($49 billion and rising), Congress enacted the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) in 2011 to preserve and improve public housing buildings and other properties in need of preservation resources. In general, the RAD program enables PHAs and owners to change the type of housing assistance provided at certain properties by converting these properties to the project-based voucher (PBV) or project-based rental assistance (PBRA) programs.

Specifically, RAD gives owners of public housing and four HUD “legacy” programs (Rental Supplement (Rent Supp), Rental Assistance Payment (RAP), Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation (Mod Rehab), and Section 202 properties with Project Rental Assistance Contracts (PRACs)) the option to enter into long-term project-based Section 8 contracts that facilitate the financing of necessary repairs. Unlike these other housing programs, the project-based Section 8 housing program allows for more funding flexibility, including the use of other funding sources like Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, to maintain and improve existing properties.

The RAD program has two components. Under RAD Component 1, public housing units may convert to PBVs or PBRA. As of 2018, the number of Component 1 conversions is capped at 455,000 public housing units nationwide, with the converting units chosen by HUD through a competitive selection process. Under RAD Component 2, Mod Rehab, Rent Supp, RAP, and Section 202 PRAC units may convert to PBVs or PBRA. For the Component 2 conversions, there is no cap and thus no competitive selection process.

Authorizing RAD

Congress enacted RAD as part of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2012. Authorization for RAD lies solely in federal appropriations bills and has no other statutory basis. There are no separate RAD regulations, although federal regulations governing the PBV or PBRA programs will apply after the RAD conversion, as they do in non-RAD properties. After the RAD program was authorized, HUD issued (and has since revised) HUD Notice PIH 2012-32 (“RAD Notice”), which governs HUD’s implementation of RAD. The RAD Notice provides the implementation details and requirements for both Component 1 and Component 2 conversions, including significant resident protections. 

Additionally, there is a separate RAD fair housing and relocation notice, HUD Notice 2016-17, which discusses resident relocation requirements when planning for and implementing temporary relocation caused by RAD Component 1 conversions, and provides guidance to housing authorities, owners, and developers regarding key fair housing and civil rights statutory and regulatory requirements before, during, and after a RAD conversion.

Is RAD happening in my community?

HUD posts RAD data that can be used to identify Component 1 conversions in your community. This list includes the state, PHA name, PHA size, property name, PIC development number, type of conversion (PBV or PBRA), number of units converting, status of RAD conversion, CHAP data (when HUD initially approved the PHA’s RAD application), whether there is a transfer of assistance proposed (where tenants will be permanently relocated to one or more federally assisted properties), whether there is new construction proposed, whether the property will use Low-Income Housing Tax Credits for repairs, the anticipated or actual closing date (date of the official RAD conversion), and other information about every RAD conversion nationwide. While live Component 2 data is not available, HUD regularly posts a list of converted Component 2 properties.

What concerns does NHLP have with the RAD program?

There is no question that public housing and other properties need significant resources in order to be preserved for the long-term. The RAD program provides a useful tool to accomplish this and incorporates many strong tenant protections to do so. However, as described in this letter to HUDthis GAO report, and this Shelterforce article, we are concerned about the local implementation of these rights and HUD’s ability to oversee RAD conversions nationwide.

RAD conversions result in many changes for residents, including new legally enforceable documents (i.e. lease, house rules, grievance procedures) and new everyday logistics (i.e. possibly a new owner/manager, rent payment procedures, building repairs, temporary relocation). In order to protect tenants, there are significant tenant rights that are built into both components of the RAD program. For more information about these and other RAD tenants’ rights, please see NHLP’s “Don’t Get RAD-dled” training series, this RAD Beginner’s Guide, and this “Things You Need to Know About Your Local RAD Conversion” factsheet. Ensuring adequate implementation of these rights requires significant local tenant involvement, national coordination among tenant advocates, and ongoing discussions with HUD about ways to improve the RAD program. For more information, please contact