The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

January 13, 2014

Housing Authority may try funding change

Flexibility from change would ease operations of public housing

(Continued)

MERCER COUNTY —

RAD would not impact the rents tenants pay, Livadas said.

“It wouldn’t change what we do,” she said. “It just changes how we’re funded.”

The authority receives a general operating subsidy and capital funds each year from HUD for public housing, and the operating subsidy can fluctuate from month to month, something that officials said makes budgeting a nightmare.

Under RAD, the authority would receive a set amount of money according to the number of units, combining the operating and capital subsidies into a single amount set by a 40-year contract with HUD.

To try to entice authorities to go with RAD, HUD is offering to base the contractual amounts on 2012 subsidies.

“Our 2012 levels were pretty much what the fair market rents were so we were a good candidate for that,” Livadas said.

The contract would include an annual escalator to account for increasing costs, and the authority would know each year what money it will receive from the federal government, she said.

The federal government still would inspect each apartment about every three years.

It the authority decides to go with RAD, it would close on the deal in December. That gives officials the rest of the year to study the potential impact.

“This is a year of planning, planning and planning to plan,” Livadas said, noting she has hired a Washington attorney who in specializes in RAD to advise the authority, and is looking for a consultant or developer for more guidance. There could be a grant available to help the authority offset some of the planning costs.

As part of the planning, officials are looking at the flexibility they would have with RAD, the size of units, their location and any problems attracting tenants. Officials would be allowed to move public housing out of certain areas and into others if they think they can improve demand.

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