Last summer, students in the Center’s Justice Lab Clinic released their Philadelphia Rental Assistance Demonstration Program Advocacy Guide. The “RAD” program, an initiative of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, allows municipalities to invite investors to support “conversions” of housing units from public to private ownership. But according to Justice Lab, which studied the program in collaboration with Community Legal Services, inadequate steps have been taken to protect low-income tenants as conversions go forward.
As a follow-up, Fall 2016 Advanced Clinic student Martha Guarnieri analyzed new RAD conversion data and discovered that the Philadelphia Housing Authority is not disclosing how much housing RAD is creating or which private developers have contracts in Philadelphia. This information was used in testimony offered by CLS to the Philadelphia Housing Authority and the Philadelphia Division of Housing and Community Development concerning the City’s draft “Assessment of Fair Housing.” Justice Lab and CLS urged PHA to revise its Assessment to include more transparency and data about the RAD program and its potential impact on the City’s already-insufficient low-income housing supply.