U.S. Public Housing Needs Exceed $21 Billion

Boston--A capital-needs assessment released today by Recap Real Estate Advisors finds that public housing needs in the United States exceed $21 billion.

Boston—Following the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) recent award of $1.9 billion to public housing, a capital-needs assessment released today by Recap Real Estate Advisors finds that public housing needs in the United States exceed $21 billion. On-Site Insight, a Recap company, conducted the fieldwork along with Abt Associates, representing the most comprehensive capital-needs assessment of the nation’s public housing stock in more than 20 years.

OSI inspectors spent the last two years the contiguous inspecting and analyzing the physical needs of 548 properties under the administration of 140 housing authorities, spread across 48 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico. The inspection sample represented more than a million housing units.

Recap reports that the average public housing property is more than 50 years old, and that decades of underinvestment have led to extensive physical decline. In response to these needs, Congress directed HUD to perform a comprehensive assessment of this portfolio’s physical condition. HUD then turned to the team of Abt Associates and On-Site Insight, who together had performed a similar assessment of HUD inventory in the mid-1980s.

OSI examined building exteriors and interiors and analyzed the more than 170 building systems (mechanical, electrical and architectural) present in each property. Based on the inspection protocol and results, Abt Associates estimated the price tag of the unmet needs in the public housing portfolio. This estimate rises to nearly $26 billion when considering additional costs for energy and water efficiencies, lead-based paint abatement, and accommodations for persons with disabilities.

Todd Trehubenko, CEO of Recap Real Estate Advisors, calls this assessment “one of great social significance, since more than 4 million Americans live in public housing. Trehubenko adds that his team “urges Congress and the administration to develop new strategies in order to make the necessary investments in this critical portfolio.”