Forging a Stronger Public-Private Partnership with RAD

3 min read

I am excited to report that NH&RA’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD User Group is off to a great start. The RAD Program is one of the Obama Administration’s signature housing initiatives, designed to transform subsidy delivery for public housing as well as some of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s “orphan” programs into project-based rental assistance or project-based vouchers. The revenue-neutral initiative creates a mechanism for public housing authorities and their developer partners to leverage private-sector financing tools, including but not limited to FHA financing and low-income housing tax credits.

With the rolling out of any new program, and especially demonstration programs, there are lessons to be learned, and HUD has been impressively nimble as this program has transitioned from idea to implementation. RAD is forging new partnerships between developers, many of whom have rich experience with mixed-finance joint ventures through the HOPE VI program, and a new generation of housing authority partners. It has also created new connections internally within HUD as the initiative straddles its multifamily and public housing programs.

The RAD User Group was formed to create a regular forum where private-sector and nonprofit RAD participants can share experiences and establish an ongoing and unfiltered dialogue with the Department on the transactional realities on the ground and explore policy solutions that facilitate more efficient transactions.

On May 14, 2014, twenty NH&RA members met for several hours with senior officials from the Department – including Margaret Salazar, Greg Byrne, and Will Lavy – in a constructive dialogue exploring far-ranging issues. These included:

  • RAD Program status updates and announcements from HUD;
  • Strategies to prepare new RAD applications and facilitate projects outside the 60,000 unit RAD cap;
  • Navigating lender and LIHTC investor issues to ensure smooth and timely closings;
  • Opportunities to break down silos and encourage more interdepartmental exchange within HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing, FHA, and the field to create efficiencies leading to quicker transactional processing;
  • Structuring partnerships between private developers and public housing authorities;
  • Effectively engaging with residents;
  • The mechanics of converting from public housing to a voucher regulatory environment; and,
  • Coordination between private partners and housing authorities post-conversion on management, hiring, income-certification, asset management, and operational issues.


The dialogue with HUD was robust and we came out of the meeting with a high level of enthusiasm, a series of action items on which to follow up, and a commitment to meet again with the Department in late June. Our outstanding partners there have been completely open and committed to working with us. Together we can make this a true public-private partnership and help usher in a new generation of sustainable public housing.

Interested in learning more about the RAD User Group? Contact me at 202-939-1750 or

Thom Amdur is Associate Publisher of Tax Credit Advisor and Executive Director of National Housing & Rehabilitation Association