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The Affordable Housing Crisis and the State of Off-Site Housing, Expert’s Commentary

June 28th, 2017 Comments off

(Gallions Reach, modular housing in London, Credit: Inside Housing.UK)

Gallions Reach in East London, UK, is home to an unused gas plant, a deteriorating shopping center and a floodplain that reaches out to the Thames River as it leaves London, an open area that gives one a slight sense of desolation, according to Inside Housing.

In the middle of the open space is a neat, modern home built offsite, a bit incongruous for the area, but a sight that could bode well for the housing industry.

Just as in the U. S. and in many countries across the globe, the lack of affordable housing is a problem here as well as elsewhere.

Housing officials estimate the need is for 250,000 to 300,000 new homes a year, while government statistics indicate the actual figure is between 140,000 and just under 200,000.

Is Off-site a Panacea?

Factory-built housing represents the possibility of precision, quick-build and a possible solution to the shortage of skilled labor, a problem that also plagues the U. S. in the site-built industry.

(Modular home in the UK, Credit: Construction Enquirer.)

Noting off-site building has been around since WWI but has failed to fully catch on, there are now major players in that market that could drive the industry and help alleviate the affordable housing dilemma.

In Sweden, 80 percent of all housing has some aspect of off-site building. in Japan for residential housing, that number hovers around 50-60 percent (depending on sources).  In the UK it is only five percent.

The homes at Gallions were built by llke, a partnership between developer Keepmoat and offsite provider Elliott, which has been building McDonald’s here for several decades. This represents Keepmoat’s first venture into the residential market

Currently the homes are being assembled in Elliott’s factory, where production is expected to hit 60 units this year, but talks suggest mini plants may open closer to where the homes will be sited, cutting further into development time.

Bigger Players Recently Entered the Market

(Manchester, UK modular housing, Credit: PlaceNorthwest)

As MHProNews reported here, Legal and General (L & G) opened a large factory at Leeds and is beginning to produce homes. A consortium combining Your Housing Group (YHG), renewable energy firm WeLink and the China National Building Material Company, which allegedly have large ambitions, is remaining relatively quiet about its plans.

All the builders are proposing housing totally built within the factory, including wallpaper, curtains and appliances fully installed in the homes so they will be ready to occupy within two weeks of placement on site.

Quick Turnaround

Public officials are drawn by the speed of delivery. David Lunts, executive director of housing and land at the Greater London Authority, says: “In London, we need to be building between 40,000 and 50,000 homes per year – anything we can do to encourage speed is going to be very important.”

Steve Coleman, director of development at social housing organization Lewisham Homes, says the firm will build 100 modular homes which will reduce development time by six to 12 months. “Speed means you start getting the rental income in faster, which helps with viability.”

Selling the Product

While there is disagreement about actual savings over traditional construction methods, one of the barriers is selling the public on a product that in the past has looked much like a portable cabin in some instances. The two homes at Gallions Reach appear to be made of brick.

(Living room at Gallions Reach, Credit: Inside Housing UK)

However, in 2017, poor quality new build housing has been one of the biggest housing issues in the consumer media, as a scandal overshadowed private builder Bovis. Modern factories could potentially turn the table on poor quality. Said Lunts, “If we can start getting products built with zero or very close to zero defects that is going to do a lot to enhance the reputation of the industry.”

Mortgages may be a Sticking Point

Lenders know traditional building but have not always been comfortable with offsite. However, a new organization called Buildoffsite has created a consortium of lenders to assure the industry that the products are mortgageable in perpetuity.

Sarah Daly, director of strategic sustainability at consultancy Sustainable Homes, says, “Within five years or less, modular will be completely normalised, with most of the major house builders either owning their own factory or procuring from the existing supply chain.”

Those two houses on a deserted gas works in east London are among the first fruits of this work, but they will not be the last. ##

(Image credits are as shown, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

Submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News on MHProNews.

 

View of Wildlife Changing for Residents of Manufactured Home Community

June 28th, 2017 Comments off

(Solar panels cover the hillside behind Canyon View Estates MHC, Credit: KHTS.)

Residents of a manufactured home community in Santa Clarita, California are upset about the new view of a hillside in their backyards that was once covered with wildlife, and more upset realizing there may be little they can do about it.

(Hillside view in Canyon View Estates prior to the panels, Credit: KHTS.)

The owner of Canyon View Estates, Kerry Seidenglanz, said he is weary of a six-digit utility bill to operate the MHC and is in phase one of installing an array of solar panels on the hillside that overlooks the community.

The 20-foot tall panels are set to come within a few feet of the residents’ property lines. Some of the residents have 99-year leases and feel a bit disillusioned.

While Seidenglanz comments the world is “going green,” residents Ben and Susan Turner say they don’t want to “go green” at the expense of their view of the natural world, according to what KHTS tells MHProNews.

Residents May Have No Say                                

(John Caprarelli, Credit: LinkedIn)

While several residents have complained to the city, Santa Clarita city building official John Caprarelli said, “The city doesn’t have jurisdiction to enforce city or building code in a mobile home park (sic).” MHCs are under the jurisdiction of the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development headquartered in Sacramento.

The department’s responsibility is to oversee the health and safety of the communities, which may exclude the solar panels.

Residents received notice of the plan for the panels in February, and are holding a meeting to discuss their options. ##

(Image credits are as shown, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

Submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News on MHProNews.

Modular Housing may be Key for Students

June 28th, 2017 Comments off

(Prefabricated dormitory under construction, Credit: Clark Pacific)

Where is the lack of affordable housing not an issue?

It is particularly severe in urban areas of California. People are renting garages to live in in some neighborhoods around Los Angeles.

The Mercury News reported in April, 2017 the median price for a single-family home in the nine-county Bay Area region climbed to an all-time high–$800,000. “Most people can’t afford to buy the house they are living in now,” said Doreen Roberts, a broker with Master Key Real Estate Mission, a residential realty brokerage in Fremont.

The crunch is not hitting just people of moderate incomes. Universities are having trouble finding affordable housing for students, faculty and staff, all of whom will seek opportunities elsewhere if they cannot afford to live near enough to the schools, according to Bisnow. Custodial staff at San Francisco State University who make $16 to $17 per hour are having to travel two and a half hours from Stockton to get to work.

Some Students Seek Education Elsewhere

(David Meckel, Credit: Bisnow)

We are getting our asses kicked by New York. We pretty much accept the top art students in the world, and we lose them to Pratt in Brooklyn because they have housing,” California College of Arts Director of Research and Planning David Meckel said. “The California Conservatory of Music has the same problem. They just lose them to Julliard.”

Modular Builder Busy at Stanford

(Modular student dormitory, UK, Credit: The Lincolnite)

Modular manufacturer Clark Pacific has worked with Stanford University on a prefabricated student housing project, reducing construction time by six months due to modular methods, and is working with the school on another, according to Don Griffith, Director of Corporate Development.

A mini boom in student housing is underway in Northern California. Over 80,000 attend the region’s universities, but there are only about 9,000 beds in an area where rents run $3,300 a month in the general housing market, resulting in students’ often sharing living quarters. So far, some 5,000 units are planned through 2025 at the various schools in San Francisco alone.

(Percy Vaz, Credit: Amcal website)

There has been little to no new student housing built, sometimes for decades until only recently,” Amcal CEO Percy Vaz said. Amcal specializes in affordable housing. Vaz says the return on student housing is similar to multi-family, and may be slightly higher. He notes that the University of California has begun a $1 billion push to add thousands of on-campus beds to its extensive system by 2020, and some projects will be for 5,000 to 6,000 beds.

Modular Dormitories also Dot the East Coast

(Ferrum College dormitory, Ferrum, VA, Credit: Mod-U-Kraf)

Ferrum College in Ferrum, VA has two modular dormitories built in 2011, as MHProNews reported here March 4, 2011. Additionally, according to The Daily Orange, SUNY-ESF (State University of New York-College of Environmental Science and Forestry) at Syracuse, NY will add a 34,000 square foot modular dormitory to accommodate 84 students to be ready for the fall semester 2014. Also a modular project, Centennial Hall opened in 2011 to house 452 students, but now the school needs more housing.

Because of their standardization, dormitories lend themselves to the efficiencies of modular and/or prefabricated construction. ##

(Image credits are as shown, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

Submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News on MHProNews.

Retailers, Communities, Producers Warned – Another HUD Power Grab

June 27th, 2017 Comments off

In what the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) says is a violation of the Trump Administration’s Executive Orders issued January 20, 2017 to ease regulations, the HUD MH program published an interpretive bulletin (IB) in the Federal Register that will alter the standards for MH foundations in “freezing climates.”

Having first emerged in April, 2016, MHARR states this is another example of an “out of control… program Administrator who appears to be pursuing an individual agenda particularly targeting smaller industry businesses.” MHARR says not only does it fly in the face of recommendations of the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC), it will also unnecessarily increase the cost of manufactured homes to smaller producers as well as to lower income prospective consumers. MHARR adds it will continue to benefit revenue-driven HUD program contractors.

HUD Ignores Regulatory Freeze

(Mark Weiss, CEO MHARR, Credit: MHProNews)

Terming it another HUD power grab, MHARR says the IB violates the regulatory “freeze” order which directs all Federal regulatory heads to refrain from sending regulations to the Federal Register “until a department or agency head appointed or designated by the President after noon on January 20, 2017 reviews and approves the regulation.”

MHARR says the bulletin was issued under the name of General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Housing Genger Charles, an Obama holdover, and not an agency head. Additionally, the IB defies the Trump Administration Executive Order that requires a governmental agency to repeal two existing regulations for each new one it imposes, something HUD has clearly not done.

MHARR urges all program stakeholders to contact their congressional representatives and HUD officials to withdraw the IB. Comments on the proposal are due on or before August 21, 2017.

To down load the pdf click here. ##

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

Submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News on MHProNews.

Existing Manufactured Homes Rising in Value

June 27th, 2017 Comments off

(Manufactured home in Snohomish County, Washington, Credit: Zillow)

It is of concern to me,” Hjelle said. “We are seeing a significant increase in the affordable housing area, which I would consider starter homes, mobile homes [sic], condos and apartments. More so than in the higher-end homes.” Snohomish (WA) County Assessor Linda Hjelle, was commenting on the increase in assessments in this county just north of Seattle.

Linda Hjelle, Credit: snomonishcountywa.gov

Prices for commercial and residential real estate have risen considerably in recent years, and the lower end of the market is now considered anything  up to $350,000. Home values have increased 11.9 percent and commercial values are up by 9.3 percent, according to the Herald.

However, almost two-thirds of the county’s 17,509 manufactured homes are outside of communities, and their value rose 20 percent, a big blow to one of the best sources of affordable housing. It is attributed to the fact that many communities have been scooped up by developers despite officials making it more difficult.

Residential property values rose $9.9 billion since 2016 to $93.1 billion, while commercial values rose $2.7 billion to $32.1 billion.

The appreciation of the manufactured homes also defies the stereotype that MH depreciates more rapidly than conventional housing, and compromise the values of nearby homes.

Numerous Third Party Studies on MH Valuations

In an MHLivingNews story linked here, Consumers Union, in a report from 2003, said, “Regarding differences in home price appreciation, manufactured homes sited on owned lots exhibit appreciation rates that are comparable to those of site-built homes.

Furthermore, several studies find no evidence of any impact of manufactured homes on the sale prices of adjacent properties (Apgar et al. 2002; Warner and Scheuer 1993; Stephenson and Shen 1997; Hegji and Mitchell 2000). Despite this evidence, community residents continue to harbor stereotypes against manufactured housing and will likely continue to appeal to local government officials to impose regulatory restrictions on such housing.”

(Dr. Ben Carson, Credit: Wikipedia)

While Dr. Ben Carson, the new Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has said he will promote MH, HUD has a long history of failure to enforce the enhanced preemption the MHIA law calls for. If that law were to be enforced, it could potentially unleash millions of dollars in sales of MH and provide affordable housing to millions of people who cannot presently afford suitable housing. It would also present thousands of job opportunities for people to build, transport and prepare sites for the new homes, not to mention the stimulus to the economy for the materials used to build the homes.

HUD has invested millions of dollars in subsidized housing projects only to see the buildings deteriorate and become abandoned, and yet the FHFA has asserted that manufactured housing typically loses value over time.

(Barry Noffsinger, Credit, Factory Built Owners of America)

Barry Noffsinger has a different  take: “Manufactured housing, just like site built homes, can both appreciate and depreciate.  There are many factors such as location, market conditions, mobility, the condition of the home, etc., that affects the home’s value,” Noffsinger told MHProNews.

Below is a video of an interview with William Matchneer, JD, former administrator of the Manufactured Housing Program at HUD.

Behind the Scenes – Expert Look at Manufactured Homes from ManufacturedHome-ModularHomeNews on Vimeo. ##

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

Submitted by Mathew J. Silver to Daily Business News on MHProNews.

OPEC Disarray May Yield Manufactured Housing Industry Hooray

June 26th, 2017 Comments off

OilPumpingDrillingOilOPECDisarryYieldsManufacturedHousingIndustryHoorayDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsIn the 1970’s President Jimmy Carter urged the nation to turn down thermostats as a way of conserving resources, to become “energy independent” from foreign countries. Some wags suggested Americans lower our body temperature below 98.6 as a means to conserve energy.

Now, some forty plus years later, the Trump administration has a different take.

OPEC in Disarray

(Julian Lee, Credit; LinkedIn)

Julian Lee, in Bloomberg, says, “It may be too soon to write OPEC’s obituary, but the oil producer club appears in urgent need of late-life care. It shows little understanding of where it is, how it got there or where it’s going. While it still manages to collect new members here and there, its core group looks more fragile than at any point in nearly 30 years.”

In November of last year crude oil production hit a low point, following OPEC’s output agreement, and while prices rose since then to around $57 a barrel, they have returned to around $45 a barrel despite OPEC’s extension of production cuts. 22 countries cut production by nearly 1.8 million barrels a day, but instead of raising prices, they fell.

A barrel of oil is now trading at about the same price as nine months ago. Further, the rift between Saudi Arabia and Qatar is the most serious split since Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990.

OPEC output cut temporarily raised prices, but extension of cuts this month did not. Graph credit: Bloomber LP

Trump Presidency Promotes Energy Exports

Perhaps key is the Trump administration’s repealing Obama-care mandates restricting fossil fuel development, its proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan, and more auctions of oil and gas leases in the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans.  The rolling back of regulations, including the proposal to alter Dodd-Frank provisions that stifled manufactured housing production, is sending welcome relief to many industries, including energy production.

(Kevin Book, Credit: Center for Strategic and International Studies)

Trump is reorienting our national rhetoric toward ‘dominance,’” said Kevin Book, analyst with ClearView Energy Partners LLC. “Captives crave independence; competitors strive to dominate. It’s a shift from getting by to getting ahead.”

The U.S. is now on track to produce 10 million barrels of oil per day on average next year, reports the Energy Information Administration, shattering a record set in 1970.

It’s not just oil and natural gas that President Trump is pushing, it’s about coal as well as solar,  wind, and nuclear power that will not only create jobs but also re-establish the United States as a major player on the world stage by increasing exports.

An increase in the export of metallurgical coal used in steel production has reignited Eastern Seaboard dock shipments overseas. The federal government has authorized the exportation of 21 billion cubic feet a day of liquefied natural gas. Since Dec. 2015 the U. S. has exported over 157 million barrels of crude oil.

(Dave Banks, Credit: LinkedIn)

Energy Abundance is Becoming the New Watchword

The fact that we’re no longer in the age of energy scarcity — that we’re in the age of energy abundance — positions the United States in a totally different place,” said Dave Banks, a special assistant to the president for international energy. “This gives access to affordable, reliable energy in the United States, and gives the U.S. a major competitive advantage.

Canadian Oil Drilling Cautiously Regaining Momentum

In Canada, according to CBC.CA, the run up in oil well drilling proved profitable initially for the Sanjel oil services company, but the quick rise proved ruinous when the price of oil began to crash three years ago. Laden with heavy debt, the company was sold off in pieces, and now ARC Financial is operating under the same name but is only cementing oil wells. It is a much leaner and cautious company.

Shane Hooker, Credit: LinkedIn

Says Shane Hooker, chief executive of Sanjel Energy Services, “We’ve been very measured and disciplined in our growth, so that we’re not growing and then retracting and growing and retracting. We may not grow with all of the boom, but we’re certainly not going to bust with all of the bust.”

Donald Trump said he intends to be the greatest job creator ever, and his words are bearing promise as opportunities are increasing. The economy, stock markets and confidence are up, the unemployment rate is down, and job creation leads to manufactured home production.

Crude Oil Prices Expected to Stop at around $40

Philip Streible, Credit: Linked IN

Phil Streible, RJO Futures senior market strategist, expects the sell-off to continue in the short term. “That oil inventory total that we have is 26 percent above the five-year average. So, quite a bit of oil out there; I would also expect gasoline stocks to risein the coming sessions, Streible said Friday on CNBC’s “Trading Nation.” “The drawdown we’ll expect is just right around 1 million barrels for crude oil, so data coming out of course is going to be quite bearish for oil going forward,” he said. His target is roughly 7 percent lower from oil’s settle on Friday.

Michael Catanzaro, Credit: desmoblog

U. S. Back on Center Stage                                                         

It’s about utilizing our abundance of resources at home to create jobs and grow the economy, and at the same time use those to strengthen America’s leadership and influence abroad,” said Michael Catanzaro, a special assistant to the president on domestic energy. ##

 

 

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

Submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News on MHProNews.

 

 

 

Putting the Cart Before the Horse—Er, House—in Montana

June 26th, 2017 Comments off

Cartoon Credit: Missoula News

For several years, MHProNews has been following the booming growth of the Bakken oil field in western North Dakota, as in the example that is linked here.

The boom created an influx of thousands of job seekers, and their need for prompt availability of homes was primarily met with factory-built, or workforce housing.

That surge slackened when oil prices have fell.  It left a glut of empty housing.

Not far away in Missoula, Montana, the director of nonprofit Homeword, Andrea Davis, has long seen small manufactured homes as a gateway to homeownership for low income people.

When she saw the price tag of $35,000 for each home, appliances included, she ordered ten and figured she would determine how best to use them. (Most low-income housing projects start with demand.)

It was such a good opportunity that we didn’t want to let it go,” she says, but we didn’t have a project yet.”

Those 450 to 550 square foot homes were shipped to Missoula, per the Missoula News, and Homeword just received a $270,000 federal HOME grant awarded by the city this month.

New Frontier Tiny Home, 242 square feet, Credit: New Frontier

According to the Missoula Organization of Realtors, only eight percent of the homes sold last year in Missoula were priced under $150,000. Missoulians need an annual income of $63,000 to afford a median-priced home in the city. The HOME grant will allow five of the homes sold to people earning less than half that amount.

In many cases involving factory-built housing, zoning can be a problem as can objecting neighbors. Through discussions with other nonprofits, Davis has discovered an acre plot of land adjacent to the Missoula Food Bank where six of the units can be clustered on permanent foundations.

Including purchase of the property, installation of the homes and a little sprucing up, Davis figures the homes can be sold for $100,000 or less. “There’s just an opportunity to make these cute,” Davis says.

For purposes of comparison, $270,000 divided by five equals $54,000 for each home, if the total HOME grant is used for the total cost and installation of the homes. As MHProNews reported in a recent article, linked here, the Census Bureau reports that the average price in Dec. 2016, for a new single section, 14X70′ HUD Code manufactured home is $49,900.

Presuming that typical home in the Census Bureau reporting is a 924 square foot 14×70′ – consider the comparison. Granted, it’s nearly $15,000 more than the used Bakken oilfield home then Homeward paid, but that ‘average’ single sectional is also shiny, new and considerably larger.

Missoula, are you listening? ##

(Image credits are as show above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

Submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News on MHProNews.)

Sunday Morning Weekly Recap Manufactured Housing Industry News June 18 to June 25, 2017

June 25th, 2017 Comments off

The New June 2017 articles on the MHProNews.com home page are live, with the full line up on display at this link here.

If you’ve been super busy, traveling, have been on vacation, or are new to the Daily Business News  on MHProNews, welcome to our weekly recap of the Manufactured Housing Industry’s News, Tips and Views that Pros Can Use.” ©

 

 

Let’s start with what’s New on MHLivingNews.com

At Death, What do You do with a Mobile or Manufactured Home?

Highlights of What’s New on MHProNews.com and the Daily Business News

 

 

 

 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

 

 

 

Rendering of unrelated modular home in San Bernardino, for illustration purposes, Credit: Express Modular

City Expanding Affordable Housing

 Friday, June 23, 2017

The Homeless are Finding Benefactors in Many Cities

Skyline Investor Move$ Spotlight; Other MH Stocks, Broader Markets Mixed

 

 

Senior Staff Shakeup at the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI)?

LoisStarkeyFormerlyVPManufacturedHousingInstituteRichardADickJennisonPresidentCEOMHIDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHomeIndustryReportsResearchDataMHProNews

Are Americans Hunting for the Single Sectional Manufactured Home Alternative?

Competitive Enterprise Institute Grades Trump on Energy, Domestic Policies

 Thursday, June 22, 2017

 

Huge Loss to Affordable Housing Stock May Be in Offing

Residents of Green Tree Estates, l-r, Roz Bailey, Annabelle Bentley, Dianna Weys, Credit: Amy Reid-Surrey Now Leader

Investor$ Big Move$ – LPX Spotlight; Tricon, LCI lead, NOB, SKY Bleed

Free Resource for Retailers, Communities, Your Customers and Residents

Jana Kasperkevic, Tiny Houses, Manufactured Homes & Financing

USDA Celebrating National Home Ownership Month

 Wednesday, June 21, 2017

 

Fearful Residents Ask, “Are There Murderers Living Here?”

Modular Housing Scandal? HUD Investigating, Senator McCain Blasts, Wants Reforms

Insider Trades, UMH – Carlyle Surges, Skyline Slips

‘CFPB Rectal Exam,’ Congressman Stresses Need for Credit & Financial Reform, Manufactured Home Pros React

 

ManufacturedHomeCommunityOwnerWilliamKellyGenevaALManufacturedHousingImprovementAct2000LocalTownOrdinanceIllegalDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Is this MH Community Owner, Plus Thousands of Others, Unwittingly Waiving Rights Under Federal Law?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

 

Summit Homes, Clayton Subsidiary, Donates to St Jude’s, Skyline JUMP$

Datacomp Releases Another JLT Manufactured Home Community – June 2017 Rent, Occupancy Reports, for Seven Markets

PlantationOaksManufacturedHomeCommunityOrmondBeachFLDailyBusinessNewsResearchDataMarketReportsMHProNews

 

Posh, Massive New Manufactured Home Community Being Developed

War Talk Worries? How Is It Impacting Markets?

National Home Ownership Month, MSU Tornado Researcher-Mark Skidmore-Touts Manufactured Homes as “Great” Option

 

Monday June 19, 2017

SamZellEquityLifestylePropertiesChairmanRegulationsHarmSmallerBusinessResultConsolidationMHProNewsELS’ Sam Zell – Compliance Costs Destroys Smaller Businesses = Consolidation

Why Cavco Bought Lexington Homes, per Joe Stegmayer – CG, AMG, MHCV Up

Consolidation? Not just Manufactured Housing, Look at Banking – Similar Causes?

Starting Today, it’s Prosperity Now, CFED’s Rebranding

Michael Geller, Making a Home for Manufactured Housing, a Vision for America

 

Sunday Morning Weekly Recap Manufactured Housing Industry News June 11 to June 18, 2017

 

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

Submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News on MHProNews

City Expanding Affordable Housing

June 24th, 2017 Comments off

Rendering of unrelated modular home in San Bernardino, for illustration purposes, Credit: Express Modular

In a move reflecting a growing trend across the nation, the city of San Bernardino, CA is partnering with Neighborhood Partnership Housing Services “to ensure that persons of all walks of life have opportunities to find suitable and affordable housing in San Bernardino,” according to a report from the city’s housing consultant, Edward Flores.

The report continues, “The Infill Housing Program will allow the city to take blighted and/or underutilized residential properties within the city and turn them into quality and energy efficient housing for qualified low- and moderate-income households.”

The city council voted to approve the partnership using $650,000 of HOME funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to build up to three more modular homes on lots owned by the city and sold to first-time homebuyers. This brings the commitment to $1,275,000 following s similar vote in September, according to what SBSun tells MHProNews.

Modular home in Bluffton, SC built as affordable housing, Credit: WSAVTV

SC Town Adding to Affordable Housing Stock

As MHProNews reported June 9, 2014, the town of Bluffton, South Carolina is promoting 22 Small Home Series modular units under an Affordable Housing Initiative to Bluffton residents who earn no more than 120 percent of the area’s annual median income.

The units will range from a 600 square-foot unit to a four-bedroom model with 2,000 square feet, priced from $58,000 to $84,000. In this case the city owns the land but will sell it to residents private developers. Buyers will be responsible for 60 percent of the expenses and for demolishing dilapidated pre HUD Code homes now on the sites.

Residence in New Housing Based on Income

In San Bernardino, the modular homes will be sold to first-time homebuyers whose annual income is below $50,560—under 80 percent of the area median income with an adjustment for family size.

San Bernardino, CA, Credit: Google Maps

According to the agreement the modular homes will include solar panels, energy efficient appliances and drought tolerant landscaping in keeping with insuring the costs of ownership remain low.

What’s Missing From Such Projects?

What is missing from several such projects are a willingness to consider what HUD’s PDR research revealed, in a report linked here.

There are projects – such as high-rises – that are better suited to modular or prefab construction.  By using HUD Code homes, more housing could be created for the same dollar. ##

(Image credits are as show above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

Submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News on MHProNews.

The Homeless are Finding Benefactors in Many Cities

June 23rd, 2017 Comments off

Eden Village’s first tiny home for the homeless, Credit: News Leader.

As people all across the nation flock to urban areas seeking opportunity that is not so readily available in small towns and rural areas, the price of homes tend to rise along with the value of land. Readers of MHProNews are familiar with our many stories of manufactured and mobile home communities that morph into shopping centers, expensive housing and other forms of development, as municipalities realize the tax advantages and developers the higher return on the dollar for re-purposing land.

The Gathering Tree is a non-profit founded by Linda and David Brown that operates an evening drop-in center for the homeless in Springfield, Missouri, offering entertainment, snacks, karaoke, cards, socializing, a bathroom, and twice a month a hairdresser provides free washes and cuts. Linda Brown says, we want to “show them that they are important, that they are loved, that they are not rejected. They all have stories. We want to know those stories, why they are where they are,” she said. “It’s incredible when you start learning about these people.”

Site of Eden Village, Credit: Google Maps

As MHProNews reported Nov. 23, 2016, the 4.5 acre site of a former manufactured home community still has the pads, utility and sewer hookups for what will become Eden Village, a community of tiny homes for the chronically disabled homeless, thanks to the efforts of the Browns. “The inhabitants will have dignified homes in a community infused with respect and hospitality,” a press release said. “The Gathering Tree’s Eden Village will radically transform Springfield’s approach to homelessness and provide a model that can be replicated elsewhere to help address the issues of homelessness.”

In a distinct turnaround from the fate of many former MHCs, 30 tiny homes each measuring about 400 square feet with a kitchen, bedroom and bath are planned for the site. The first home, with a $30,000 donation from Judy Huntsman of Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realtors, arrived in April and was recently blessed by Bishop Edward Rice.

Residents, many of whom are on disability, will pay their own way. The community will feature a gathering room with laundry facilities and a large kitchen sufficient to entertain 30 guests. Eden Village received $100,000 from the federal government to cover the cost of a parking lot, a center road and fire hydrants. Residents in the gated community will be able to come and go as they please, and will also have access to case management services.

The homes will be built in Athens, Texas and will feature solar panels donated by Sun Solar. Since the site had been an MHC, there were no zoning issues.

State Law Bypasses Building Codes in Silicon Valley

Ray Bramson, Credit: Twitter

Meanwhile, in San Jose, California, the declaration of a “shelter crisis is allowing the city to temporarily suspend state building, safety and health codes in order to construct tiny homes to address the homeless problem in the heart of Silicon Valley. Bypassing the state’s building codes, according to the Bay Area News Group, will allow for unconventional tiny homes, as MHProNews reported Oct. 13, 2016.

The law, authored by Assemblywoman Nora Campos, of San Jose, was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown and will allow the city to provide temporary housing until 500 new affordable apartments are constructed over the next five years.

Ray Bramson, San Jose’s homeless response manager, said, “This law really is the first of its kind,” noting the residents would receive supportive services. “It will allow us to create bridge housing opportunities — a stable place people can live and stay while they’re waiting to be placed in a permanent home.”

Good Shepherd Tiny House Village, Credit: Low Income Housing Institute

Non Profit Shelters Homeless in Seattle

Meanwhile, a Seattle nonprofit is giving the homeless homes through the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI). The 14 homes are structurally sound, heated, insulated, some have private bathrooms and they rent for $90 a month, as Business Insider tells MHProNews. “We began to reach out to schools and training programs and soon were partnering with them to build inexpensive, but quality, durable Tiny Houses, complete with electricity and heat,” says LIHI.

Private donors finance the $2,200 homes in which families are expected to stay four to six months at what is now the Good Shepherd Tiny House Village.

(Portland’s Dignity Village, Credit: Seattle City Council/Flickr)

Strict Rules Guide Homeless in Portland

Similarly, Portland, Oregon has Dignity Village, a series of makeshift homes occupied by 60 people nightly with a set of strict rules and the requirement to put in a specified amount of sweat equity.

The homeless are being served tiny homes by religious, secular and governmental entities nationwide.

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

Submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News on MHProNews.