On March 28, 2018, the Real Estate Bar Association (REBA) Affordable Housing Committee hosted a brownbag lunch forum to discuss the financing opportunities and challenges faced by public housing authorities in developing and preserving affordable housing. Co-Chairs Kurt James of KJP and Carol McIver of MassHousing moderated a panel discussion on these opportunities and challenges as well as the outlook on public housing authority funding in the future.
Public Housing Authorities have historically faced challenges in making necessary capital improvements to public housing projects. At present, there is an approximately $26 billion dollar nationwide backlog of deferred maintenance in public housing. This is potentially aggravated by threatened federal budget cuts under the Trump administration. There are a number of important tools public housing authorities have to preserve and improve public housing properties. These include The Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) Program, the Section 18 Disposition Program and the Moving to Work Program. These programs allow public housing authorities to attract private sources of capital financing through the low income housing tax program and convert units from their original sources of HUD financing to project-based Section 8 contracts.
The guest speakers at this event were Susan C. Cohen, General Counsel at the Cambridge Housing Authority, Dean Papademetriou, Assistant General Counsel at the Boston Housing Authority, and Hannah Kilson, a Partner at Nolan, Sheehan, Patten LLP.