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RAD in El Paso From public housing to homes

This photo essay highlights a Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) conversion in El Paso, Texas. It features residents' stories of what it is like to live in properties that convert under RAD. RAD is a cost-neutral project of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, managed within the Office of Recapitalization in the Office of Multifamily Housing, that leverages public and private debt and equity to reinvest in the public housing stock.

The Housing Authority of the City of El Paso (HACEP) intends to convert 100% of its public housing properties through RAD. The properties are bundled into groups, which significantly reduces transactional costs.

The first group includes the Dwight D. Eisenhower Apartments that has 260 units that were converted under RAD. 194 of the units completed renovations in May 2017. This story is about the remaining 66 duplex family rental homes that also underwent renovations. The renovations to all units included new flooring, HVAC systems, finishes, doors, fixtures, appliances, and other upgrades. Site work included new concrete pavement, fencing, and landscaping. The community upgrades included two new playgrounds with a canopy, bike racks, a horseshoe pit, barbecue grills, picnic tables, and outdoor seating.

We met with three residents of Eisenhower Apartments—Ms. Jennifer Williams, Ms. Irene Ramirez, and Ms. Mercedes Ibarra—and Mr. Raul Torres (a resident of Kennedy Estates, another nearby completed RAD project) to hear about their experiences.

The common theme in these stories is that the RAD conversion and the reinvestment in their communities helped each resident's rental unit feel more like a home.

Ms. Jennifer Williams

“I’m really happy. When I came home, I was so excited. I loved it. I loved everything about the apartment. Everything looks new.”

Ms. Irene Ramirez

"Ya hasta los niños dicen, 'ya no vivo en housing; vivo en mi casa'"

("Even the children say, 'I don't live in housing anymore; I live in my house.'")

View the video to hear Ms. Ramirez's story in her words:

Mr. Raul Torres

“It changed me—my life—dramatically, because you come into a brand-new unit.”

View the video to hear Mr. Torres' story in his words:

Ms. Mercedes Ibarra

"Nos sentimos completamente orgullosos de vivir en una casa nueva."

("We feel completely proud of living in a new house.")

View the video to hear Ms. Ibarra's story in her words:

What is RAD?

RAD allows public housing agencies and owners of other HUD-assisted properties to convert units from their original sources of financing to project-based Section 8 contracts. These new contracts provide a reliable source of operating subsidy that enables property owners to leverage private capital, such as debt and equity, to finance new construction and/or rehabilitation of rental housing.

Credits:

Photos and Video by Heather Hill / The Cloudburst Group

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