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Bipartisan Praise for Manufactured Housing, What’s Next

April 26th, 2019

 

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Wheat and chaff. Let’s give credit where it is due. These two video clips were obtained by the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). That’s good. They represent bipartisan praise for manufactured homes as an important part of the solution to the affordable housing crisis. That’s good too.

 

One might wonder why these videos aren’t on YouTube, or why they aren’t being prominently promoted. After all, former HUD Secretary Julian Castro is now a Democratic contender for their party’s nomination for president in 2020. Secretary Ben Carson, MD, is a former 2020 presidential contender. Both men are respected by their respective political party’s.

 

 

But these video statements – freely made by the top person of the federal agency that has primary oversight over federally regulated HUD Code manufactured homes are useful.

 

 

So too was the bipartisan statement made at the state level by a committee that studied manufactured homes. See that report, linked below.

 

 

 

The positive facts about manufactured housing are well known in industry circles. Some third-party, academic-style research in 2018 likewise amounted to praise of the industry. Perhaps the most notable was the research done recently was by the National Association of Realtors, Certified Business Economist (CBE), Scholastica ‘Gay’ Cororaton. So why has MHI not posted that on their website?

 

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As this and other fact-checks reveals, there’s an increasingly evident pattern of failures to properly promote manufactured housing that one can discern at MHI. They question becomes, why? They know about the Cororaton’s useful NAR research. The Arlington, VA based trade group also knows about those two videos, and numbers of others like them.

A trade group sharing such informational/educational material that corrects or clarifies facts about our industry’s housing products and services with industry members is fine. But it isn’t enough.

 

It’s the general public that needs convincing.

 

It is also local public officials that need to be made aware of letters like the one linked here from HUD to a local jurisdiction, reminding them that they could not supersede federal authority.

MHProNews research has identified numerous third-party reports that are useful for referencing the proven value of federally preemptive HUD Code manufactured housing.  That research dates back for over 20 years.

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) website has a clearly stated aim to achieve industry growth. They have identified specific issues that are holding the industry’s retailers, communities, and developers back from achieving far higher levels of new HUD Code home sales.  A search of their website reveals several references to Enhanced Preemption. See composite screen capture below, from earlier today.  They are a production, not post-production, trade association representing independent builders of federally regulated manufactured homes.

 

 

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So why is it that MHI as an ‘umbrella’ association that claims to represent “all segments of factory-built housing” – which clearly includes post-production interests – has no mention at all of enhanced preemption.  This search was repeated today, which had the same result as on the previous date shown.

 

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Both sources with MHI, and MHI’s outside counsel, have stated that they monitor our website. MHI leaders have been asked directly about this issue. No changes. Given the issues the industry faces on zoning and placement, why are they allowing one of the best arguments to go unused?

 

When NIMBY and other factors are causing the industry to face pushback, solution oriented professionals must ask, what are the steps that can be taken to address these issues?

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Certainly, part of it is educational.  Local jurisdictions that are taking an anti-affordable housing, or anti-manufactured home stance need to be made aware of the economic harm that their posture causes.  The negative aspect of that is where “Seattle is Dying” and related reports come in.

 

 

That is also where “Fear” comes in, because that report originally published here, and update on MHLivingNews at the linked text-image box below lays out the economic benefits from fostering more affordable housing, all by references to third-party research.

 

 

The above are association work, or the work of a business/investor willing to tackle that locally, knowing the upside profit potential from having done so.

Finally, it could also – at least in theory – be the grounds for a civil rights case by impacted citizens.  In such a scenario, such as exists in Bryan, TX, recovery of legal fees plus damages could be a potential outcome.

 

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This was part of third-party, university level research. It is one of several such reports over the years. Why are these reports not prominently on the MHI website?http://www.mhmarketingsalesmanagement.com/blogs/daily-business-news/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/CommunityGuideToFactoryBuiltHousingHUDPDRManufacturedHousingModularHomeMHProNews2001.pdf

CommunityGuideFactoryBuiltHousingInfillDevelopingModularHousingManufacturedHomes2001HUDPDRMHProNews

This was part of third-party, university level research. It is one of several such reports over the years. Why are these reports not prominently on the MHI website?http://www.mhmarketingsalesmanagement.com/blogs/daily-business-news/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/CommunityGuideToFactoryBuiltHousingHUDPDRManufacturedHousingModularHomeMHProNews2001.pdf

MHI in an oblique response to our repeatedly raised concerns has taken to showing photos of their staff or elected leaders with public officials.  What good are those examples of access actually doing the industry?  Are they not in fact a striking case of MHI failing to use that access in furtherance of the interests of independents who want to see new HUD Code manufactured home sales growth?

 

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What practical impact have these prior photo ops actually resulted in, other than photos that MHI uses to impress people with their access? Why not use that access to get HUD to make enhanced preemption a routinely enforced reality?

 

What’s next from MHI? When will they do their self-proclaimed job?  When will they use their self-proclaimed clout?  Photo opportunities alone are meaningless, perhaps even embarrassing, if they don’t ultimately result in timely solutions to issues such as the full implementation of Duty to Serve, or correcting the zoning/placement issues that exist from coast-to-coast.

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That’s this edition of “News Through the Lens of Manufactured Homes, and Factory-Built Housing,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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