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Public Housing Goes Private. Press release: Rep. Maxine Waters: The top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee is calling on President Barack Obama and his administration to “rethink its current strategy for preserving public housing,” raising significant concerns with its current approach.
In a Letter to the President, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), the Committee’s Ranking Member, expressed concern about the expansion of what has become known as the “Rental Assistance Demonstration,” or RAD, a controversial new demonstration program that allows public housing to convert to private ownership as part of a preservation strategy. The Administration has sought to expand the demonstration, and the recently –passed omnibus spending package expands the program from 60,000 units to 185,000.
In the letter, Waters expressed her concerns with the government’s advocacy of RAD to resolve issues with chronic underfunding of public housing. She also underscored the importance of fully funding the traditional public housing program, which provides an important safety net for 1.2 million families.
“While created with the intention of preserving the nation’s stock of deeply affordable rental housing, I believe HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) may very well do more harm than good in diminishing a crucial public asset. I strongly urge the Administration to rethink its current strategy for preserving public housing, and renew the government’s commitment to advocate for full funding for the program,” she wrote.
“The government has been inattentive in its responsibility for the care and condition of public housing for years. That is why we are currently faced with this challenge of preserving public housing. The answer, however, is not to look to the private sector to correct these mistakes. Rather, the Administration should renew its commitment to serving those most in need by demanding the full amount of funding that the public housing program so desperately requires.”
The full text of the letter is here. A signed version can be found online<http://democrats.financialservices.house.gov/FinancialSvcsDemMedia/file/001%20Maxine%20Waters%20letters/2014_12_10%20RM%20Waters%20Letter%20to%20the%20President%20on%20RAD.pdf>.