RAD participation is currently limited to 15% of all public-housing units, and most of the benefits were seen in larger cities with high rental rates and where there were enough investors interested in financing renovations and repairs, the Journal reported. Case in point, New York City has a $17 billion maintenance backlog for its public-housing units and plans on converting 1,400 rentals to the Section 8 program by the end of this year. Shola Olatoye, chairwoman of the New York City Housing Authority, told the Journal that the ability to participate in RAD is “a major shot in the arm.” In response to the success of RAD, HUD Secretary Julián Castro said in a statement that public money “can’t keep pace” with public housing’s capital requirements and that the program was “helping to preserve an important piece of our nation’s affordable housing stock.” However, following a National Low Income Housing Coalition report in May of this year indicating that more than 10 million low-income families were in need of housing (7.2 million units), Castro said the government should still keep its hand in public housing because private companies would only respond to that need if they could make a profit.
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