In 2012, Congress authorized the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) to test a new way of meeting the large and growing capital improvement needs of the nation’s aging public housing stock, as well as to preserve projects funded under HUD's “legacy” programs (Rental Supplement, Rental Assistance Payment, and Moderate Rehabilitation). Properties “convert” their assistance to long-term, project-based Section 8 contracts. These new contracts provide a more reliable source of operating subsidy that allow PHAs and owners to safely leverage private capital – typically debt and equity – in order to finance the property rehabilitation or replacement. The contracts as well as underlying use restrictions must be renewed each time they expire, ensuring the long-term affordability of the improved properties.
Current and future residents are provided a robust set of rights and protections, including the consultation during the conversion process, the right to return to the property when repairs are completed, the right to organize and funding for organizing, and a right to move with tenant-based assistance if needed to move closer to a job, school, family, or other reason. Further, HUD requires that a public or non-profit entity must always maintain a controlling interest in the property, even in the rare and unanticipated event of foreclosure, thus ensuring the long-term public stewardship of the properties.