Washington, D.C.—The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded more than $1.9 billion to public housing authorities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, allowing those agencies to make large-scale improvements to their public housing units.
HUD’s Capital Fund Program provides annual funding to public housing authorities to build, repair, renovate and modernize the public housing in their communities. The funding can be used for such improvements such as replacing roofs, upgrading energy efficiency, and replacing plumbing and electrical systems.
HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan says in a statement, “While this funding will certainly help housing authorities address long-standing capital improvements, it only scratches the surface in addressing the deep backlog we’re seeing across the country.” He adds, “Housing Authorities need nearly $26 billion to keep these homes safe and decent for families, but given our budget realities, we must find other, innovative ways to confront the decline of our public housing stock. That’s why we introduced our new Rental Assistance Demonstration as part of our comprehensive strategy to keep these homes on firm financial footing.”
HUD’s recent study, Capital Needs in the Public Housing Program, found that the nation’s 1.2 million public housing units are facing an estimated $25.6 billion in much-needed repairs. Capital needs represent large-scale improvements, beyond routine maintenance, that are required to keep the housing viable and economically sustainable.
HUD Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing Sandra B. Henriquez says in a statement, “Unless we transform the way we fund our public housing authorities, local managers will be increasingly forced to choose between repairing roofs, replacing plumbing, or worst of all, demolishing or selling their properties.”
Despite the billions of dollars that the federal government has invested in the development and maintenance of public and multifamily housing, the nation continues to lose thousands of public housing units annually, primarily due to disrepair. The Obama administration has proposed a comprehensive strategy to preserve this inventory. HUD’s Transforming Rental Assistance Initiative will allow housing authorities to leverage public and private financing to address capital needs and make public housing units affordable for the long term.
In the 2012 fiscal year, HUD is requesting $200 million for a Transforming Rental Assistance demonstration to rehabilitate federally subsidized affordable housing, including public and multifamily housing units. The Rental Assistance Demonstration would allow owners to continue to make standard life-cycle improvements to this inventory, modernize or replace obsolete units, and stem the loss of stock from private-sector partners choosing to opt-out of affordable housing programs. The funds used to bring 255,000 properties into a reliable, long-term, project-based rental assistance contract will enable public housing authorities to raise more than $6.1 billion in private financing to reduce the large backlog of capital repair needs and, in the process, support significant job creation in communities across the country.