A RAD-ical Change for Affordable Housing in Fairfax County
Over 1,000 Public Housing Units Converted under HUD’s “RAD” Program
On October 31, 2017, the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA) made a transformative change in the way it delivers affordable housing to families with lower incomes. The Authority converted its entire portfolio of 1,060 units to project-based vouchers under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program.
Over the years, federal funding for the Public Housing program has steadily decreased making it increasingly difficult for Public Housing Authorities (PHAs), like the FCRHA, to ensure properties remain in good condition. Converting Public Housing units under RAD gives the FCRHA access to more stable funding from HUD to make needed improvements to properties. The program also makes it easier to borrow money and use low income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) as well as other forms of financing to help preserve these important affordable housing communities.
“With RAD, we are operating on a more stable platform,” says Robert Schwaninger, Chairman of the FCRHA. “And that financial stability ensures our communities remain well-maintained and that our residents have a welcoming place to call home.”
Under RAD, newly converted project-based voucher units are funded through HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. This is a benefit to residents because the HCV program provides a mobility option not available in the Public Housing program, meaning eligible households can request a tenant-based voucher after one year under HCV and move to a new home, depending on the availability of vouchers.
“At first, I was unsure about RAD,” notes Paulette Whiteside, a resident of a recently converted RAD unit. “But after learning how it helps fund needed repairs and renovations in our communities and provides an avenue for residents wanting to eventually move, I was happy we converted.”
The RAD conversion process consisted of two phases that spanned over four years. The process involved getting approval from the FCRHA Board to apply to HUD, applying to HUD for RAD conversion, receiving initial approval, updating agency plans to reflect RAD, submitting financial plans to HUD, and making necessary repairs to properties in order to close and successfully convert from public housing to project-based vouchers.
Phase One started October 24, 2013 and concluded on April 7, 2017 and included the following communities: Barkley Square, Belle View, Colchester Towne, Greenwood II, Heritage Woods I, Heritage Woods North, Heritage Woods South, Newington Station, Shadowood, Sheffield Village, Springfield Green, Villages at Falls Church, Waters Edge, The Park, Briarcliff II and Audubon.
Phase Two started June 9, 2016 and concluded on October 31, 2017 and included the following communities: The Atrium, Barros Circle, Ragan Oaks, The Green (consisting of units at West Glade, Copper Mill, Monroe Chase, Virginia Station, Walney Oaks and Woodland Glen), Kingsley Park, Rosedale Manor, Robinson Square (including One University), Reston Towne Center, Old Mill Gardens, Greenwood, West Ford I, II, and III, and Tavenner.
Going forward, the FCRHA will continue to follow a capital needs improvement plan to ensure that ongoing improvements are made to its former Public Housing portfolio. RAD has provided the FCRHA an exciting opportunity to preserve communities within Fairfax County and improve the quality of life of all residents in these communities.
Director, Public Affairs