Theses Master's

NYCHA PACT in Focus: Evaluating the Evolution and Implementation in New York City’s Public Housing

Farahanchi, Nina

The Rental Assistance Demonstration Program (RAD) is the largest and fastest growing redevelopment program to date. There is an extensive body of literature on the history of public housing and the attempts of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to meet capital needs. A historical perspective suggests purely public funding will never support the public housing stock. As a result, RAD has become one of the only mechanisms to preserve homes for 2.2 million Americans. 

Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) like New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) are converting thousands of units with little insight into program success. Documentation of RAD implementation is crucial in order to mitigate risk and evaluate performance. Including all stakeholder perspectives in the body of scholarship is necessary for a holistic story, yet the current literature lacks private sector perspectives.

This research provides a comprehensive examination of the dynamic evolution and expansion of the RAD policy in New York City. It documents the New York City Housing Authority's efforts to scale this intricate process while facing the challenge of balancing process standardization, project-specific flexibility, efficient timeline management, and growing outcome expectations. The analysis illuminates the complex interplay of interests among public, private, and resident actors. By delving into the strategies and motivations of private sector developers, the findings emphasize the pivotal role of developer selection in shaping RAD outcomes.

It is still too early to gauge the full effect of the PACT program. However, this research was able to assess the process of PACT development, evaluating resident engagement strategies, RAD’s financial constraints, responses to program controversy, and RAD’s viability as a solution for New York City’s distressed public housing stock. This research underscores the significance of the developer's identity and emphasizes that administrative guidelines and checkpoints alone cannot ensure thoughtful private sector engagement. Effective oversight cannot compensate for inadequately experienced construction, development, or property management teams. The success of developers and property managers relies heavily on understanding the unique needs and historical context of public housing and resident distrust. It's essential to supplement time and financial resources with genuine care and consideration.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
Slater, Thomas S. J.
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
June 12, 2024