The Future of Public Housing

Location: Harvard Kennedy School

While public housing currently provides affordable homes for about 1.1 million U.S. households, poor design of the original program, combined with decades of underfunding, have left many of those units in extremely poor condition. Recent estimates indicate that about 10,000 public housing units are lost each year because they have become uninhabitable, and repairs needed to reverse this trend are estimated to cost about $49 billion. To address this great need, the federal government has turned to mixed-income models and private-sector investment, raising a host of important issues related to accountability, oversight, policymaking, and governance. The most recent federal strategy for rehabilitating public housing, the federal Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program, involves shifting the control, management (and sometimes ownership) of public housing units from public entities to private firms or non-profit entities.  

Join us for a panel discussion about the potential pitfalls associated with the RAD program and, more broadly, the future of public housing with:

  • Thomas Davis, Director, Office of Recapitalization, US Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Ethel Delgado, President, Frank J. Manning Apartments Tenant Council, Cambridge, MA
  • Deborah Goddard, Executive Vice President for Capital Projects, New York City Housing Authority
  • Jean Hannon, Secretary, Woodrow Wilson Court/Fairmont Village Tenant Council, Cambridge, MA
  • Rachel Bratt, Senior Research Fellow, Joint Center for Housing Studies and Professor Emerita, Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, Tufts University (Moderator)
Harvard Kennedy School
Wexner 332