Nearly 600 public housing units will be rehabilitated or rebuilt starting as soon as next summer, thanks to a federally-funded pilot program. The City of Wichita's Housing Authority has been awarded admittance into the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) pilot program, which is part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD).
"This represents massive redevelopment over the next two years," said John E. Hall, the director of the Housing and Community Services Department and Wichita Housing Authority. "Our neighborhoods will receive an extreme makeover, participants will have the opportunity to live in newly renovated homes and the local economy will experience a boost."
Hall said the RAD program allows local housing authorities for the first time to leverage government funding with private financing to complete substantial rehabilitation. According to financing models, Hall said Wichita Housing Authority projects could service debt up to $60 million. That would support the rehabilitation or rebuilding of 578 single- and multi-family households in the Section 9 Public Housing program. The local housing units are located across the city in each of the six City Council districts. Tenants will be kept informed through mailings and meetings, Hall said. The City must now complete a Physical Conditions Assessment so that the scope of rehabilitation can be determined.
RAD is a voluntary program providing Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) access to long-term funding for housing improvements. Public housing units across the country need more than $26 billion in repairs, according to HUD. RAD allows PHAs to recapitalize properties using financing products as well as private partnerships. Current projects in the Public Housing program can convert rental assistance to 20-year, project-based Section 8 Housing Assistance Payments contracts. The Wichita Housing Authority has chosen to convert to Project Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) with debt. The PBRA program is administered by HUD's Office of Housing's Multifamily Programs.