Giving Compass' Take:

• This Urban Institute post examines how many housing authorities across the country are facing the hard reality that they may not be able to keep their buildings open.

• What can the nonprofit world do to help address this growing problem? How might funders and policymakers work together to revitalize public housing projects?

• In Washington, D.C., organizations are investing in affordable housing solutions for local residents.

Housing assistance plays a crucial role in stabilizing so many elements of a family’s daily life, including employment, education, and health. But despite its important role, our nation’s public housing program faces an uncertain future.

Most public housing in the US is at least 40 years old and needs major capital repairs like new windows, plumbing, roofs, and heating systems to keep it operational. Many years of funding cuts, poor management, and weak oversight from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have left many housing authorities to face the hard reality that they may not be able to keep their buildings open. HUD secretary Ben Carson stated in an op-ed in theWashington Post this past Sunday that “HUD’s budget cannot keep pace with the growing capital needs of public housing.”

The two-year budget deal Congress approved in March 2018 included an increase in funding for public housing and a doubling of the number of housing units eligible for the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD). RAD enables housing authorities to leverage property value and their HUD funds to access private-sector financing and additional public funds.

Although this was good news for authorities, HUD notified housing authority executives in November that the department is focusing on “repositioning” 105,000 public housing units by the end of the next fiscal year. This notice raises concerns about losing public housing units, which would worsen the affordable housing crisis.

Read the full article about America's public housing program by Susan J. Popkin, Diane K. Levy and Corianne Payton Scally at Urban Institute.