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Leaving Paradise, “Hell on Earth” – FEMA and Christmas, New Year Responses to Grim Camp Fire

December 28th, 2018 Comments off

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At the start of this ABC News video is this apt phrase. Leaving Paradise (CA), there is “hell on earth.”

 

Mother Jones yesterday called “the Camp Fire, the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history.”

As 2018 winds down, hurricanes, tornadoes and California wild fires are among the disasters that displaced tens of thousands of people in the Golden State, plus thousands more in other areas from coast to coast.

The video unfortunately uses the “trailer” word and may or may not be appropriately use the term “mobile home.”

 

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You must meet people where they are. Terminology must be taught and caught. Make a habit of using the correct terminology.

 

Al Kemp, Executive Director from the MHPO community-owners trade association in BC, Canada wrote to MHProNews earlier today on a different topic, but his words apply equally well in this case with ABC’s report

 

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But beyond irksome nomenclature faux pas by ABC, is the tragic impact on lives of fire’s gone wild.

We’re trying to have a Christmas, you know, in any way shape or form that we can,” Nicole Hoenig told ABC News.It’s just everyone doing the best they can, trying to give your kids whatever you can to help them feel normal.”

The Camp Fire started on Nov. 8, said ABC, with neighborhoods quickly going up in flames. Cars were burnt, housing both conventional and factory-built were devastated.  Often ash and debris were the markers where housing once stood.

Winds reached 50 mph, fueling flames that the Trump Administration says was caused by poor forest management, while environmentalists want to pin the blame on global warming.

In 17 days, 153,000 acres were burned and at least 86 died.  Paradise was the hardest hit.

 

FEMA MHUs for Emergency Relief

In an already tight housing market, the loss of 14,000 housing units to the Camp Fire made a bad situation worse.

“Everything is in upheaval mode right now,” Ed Mayer, the executive director of the Butte County Housing Authority, said. “Fire’s out but now we’re dealing with a secondary crisis — Not enough housing.”

He Mayer said that before the Camp Fire struck, the housing authority thought there “was around one and a half [to] two percent vacancy rate.”

All of those units were instantly absorbed by those coming out of the fire. So there really is no housing availability locally at all. Nothing,” Mayer stated.

ABC referred to as “price gouging and bidding wars have become the norm for residents who lost everything, but have the means to rebuild.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has roughly 2,000 temporary units at the ready for Butte County. But the problem is placement.

Not everyone wants to have a FEMA-manufactured home complex behind their house,” Mayer said.

Rephrased, even during a tragedy, it seems that many are taking a NIMBYite view of even temporary, emergency use FEMA manufactured homes.

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Residents have been cautioned against moving trailers onto their properties without basic infrastructure where their homes once stood because much of the areas may contain toxic ash.

Additionally, not everyone is qualified for federal help, beyond the need for infrastructure – utilities, pad, and roads – that are needed.

Daniel Wynne, an external affairs technical specialist at FEMA, said the process can be confusing but ultimately FEMA is there “to assist in long-term recovery.”

 

Businesses and workplaces were among the losses, not just housing.

As the challenges of FEMA MHU placement and other related issues become clearer, MHProNews could update this report in the days ahead. That’s this evening’s “News through the lens of manufactured homes, and factory-built housing,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News , analysis, and commentary.)

 

 

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HUD Announces Relief from California Wildfires, MH Owners Can Qualify

 

Aptly Named, “Journey’s End,” Manufactured Home Community Tragedies, Wildfires, Video

MH Silver Lining? Residential Construction Report, Oct 2018, per HUD, Census Bureau

 

 

 

 

 

Manufactured Housing Institute Shipment Data, FEMA, an Inside Look

October 18th, 2018 Comments off

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Jenny Hodge, MHI VP and National Communities Council (NCC)

On October 12, Jenny Hodge at the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) released the new HUD Code manufactured housing shipment data report. That report was sent to the Daily Business News on MHProNews for analysis and commentary.

Hodge is doing her job. As readers learned from yesterday’s “#Me Too” report, the reins are held tightly at the Manufactured Housing Institute offices. So, this analysis should not be construed as a critique of Hodge.

ICYMI, or need a refresher as to how this relates to a relatively mundane task of providing shipment numbers, yesterday’s inside look at the Arlington offices is linked below.

Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), Women, #MeToo and Insider Information

Hodge began her report with the headline, “9,091 New HUD Code Homes Shipping in August 2018 First 9,000+ Month since 2007.”

It was a great month for production!” is a quote shared from sources which said that Hodge’s point in her headline was underscored by Pam Brillhart, Project Coordinator of Federal and State Programs, Institute for Building Technology and Safety (IBTS). IBTS gathers the data for the federal government, and provides them to HUD and others as a contracted service.

Rephrased, IBTS gathers data, and MHI is one of the sources that obtains that information from them for a fee.

Indeed, the industry has some cause to ‘celebrate’ rising shipment totals. But those totals need to be fully grasped, in the context to the reality that they are still at historically low levels. There were individual producers of pre-code mobile homes and post HUD Code manufactured homes that used to produce that many or more homes per year.

Hodge said that, “In August, 133 plants representing 37 corporations reported production data which is the same as July 2018.”

Compare that with the MHI production company chart history, shown below. It is 73 fewer HUD Code builders than started in 1990. That is fewer HUD Code builders than when Berkshire Hathaway entered manufactured housing in 2003.

Rephrased, manufactured housing was down on the mat. There were individuals who were long time veteran professionals in 2008-2010 that thought the manufactured housing industry was going to go the way of the “buggy whip.” They believed that industry was dying.

Thankfully, that proved wrong.  But the industry was brought to its knees, and that resulted in “consolidations.” Several of those who have sold to Clayton, for example, have told MHProNews that they didn’t get much for their businesses.  Isn’t that in keeping with Warren Buffett’s dictum that he loves a bargain?

Let’s look deeper.

Of the 9,091 homes shipped in August, there were no homes designated as FEMA units,” an apt point because FEMA artificially gooses the number. And as sources are telling MHProNews, there appears to be a move at FEMA away from the use of manufactured homes as much as possible, in favor of RVs or other temporary rental lodging options.

Manufactured Housing Shipments “The SAAR” 

In conventional as well as manufactured housing, there is a SAAR. Here is how Hodge’s report read.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of shipments was 98,104 in August 2018, up 5.8% from the adjusted rate of 92,694 in July 2018. The SAAR corrects for normal seasonal variations and projects annual shipments based on the current monthly total.”

Put differently, there were MHI producers who last year expected to do some 107,000 (+/-) new HUD Code manufactured homes. Modular, tiny and other non-HUD Code factory built housing product would be in addition to those totals.

In August 2018, new manufactured home shipments increased 7.9% to 9,091 homes as compared to the 8,425 homes shipped in August 2017,” per MHI’s info from Hodge. “Total shipments for August 2018 are higher by 2,340 homes when compared to the prior month of July. Compared with August 2017, the trend is positive with shipments of single-section homes up by 6.0% and multi-section homes up by 9.5%. Total floors shipped in August 2018 increased 8.5% to 14,174 compared to August 2017.”

What Does it Really Mean?

Look at states like Michigan or Florida, where sizable numbers of units designed to be rentals are being shipped into manufactured home communities. Who else in manufactured housing trade publishing is telling the industry’s independents that factories see a warning sign in the data. What happens when shipments into communities slow down? Given that few new communities are being built, if zoning, finance, acceptance and other issues aren’t successfully addressed, in 3 to 5 years, the industry could plateau.

Winners and Losers, 5 Midwestern States, Manufactured Home Shipment Breakdown

Here is the HUD Code shipment data for August 2018, by state.

ManufacturedHousingHomesUnitsProductionByStateAug2019IBTSDailyBusinessNEwsMHProNews

Look at the state production data, to realize just how low the numbers can be.

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Then, recall that RVs are blowing manufactured housing away.

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Dick Jennison and Lesli Gooch were described as “control freaks” in yesterday’s report by MHI office insiders.

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As in any office or operation, there are people at MHI that have formed personal relationships. There is chatter outside of the office, not just in it. Even ‘lower level’ staff can hear and share insights with the operation’s several ‘vice presidents.’

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There are a growing number of industry voices that believe that BH/CMH and MHI have by various action/inaction has kept manufactured home sales at historically low levels. Evidence? See Related Reports and videos, linked below, which quotes and cites BH, MHI, CMH, 21st Mortgage Corp, and other sources.

It is human nature. People who are “bullied” in an office find ways of dealing with that kind of harsh or “hostile work atmosphere.

One more reminder before closing this report. Sources said what industry readers should already know. The marching orders for MHI comes from the MHI Executive Committee. When one wonders why MHI spent years chasing after Preserving Access, and then abandoned half that goal in favor of the inclusion in S 2011, those marching orders come from the Executive Committee.

There are voices from within MHI’s membership that have asked if it isn’t a conflict of interest for Clayton Homes – which has site built housing and is part of Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate that has deep real estate interests – is exerting influence to keep production at low levels. See the related reports, further below.

Then ask yourself when RVs are roaring, and MH is snoring, why Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison was trying to tell the industry that it should grow slowly? Who does that benefit?

MHARR’s report on the same data was published earlier, and can be found at the link below.

Strong HUD Code Production Growth in August 2018

More in an upcoming report from inside Arlington, VA’s office at MHI in the hours and days ahead. “We Provide, You Decide.”  © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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SoheylaKovachDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsMHLivingNewsSubmitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.com. Soheyla is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

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Bipartisan Praise for Hurricane Irma Preparation, Behind the Scenes Look

September 11th, 2017 Comments off
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Photo, collage, MHProNews.

Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), state and federal officials are praising the pre-storm response coordination for Hurricane Irma per reports on Fox News and USA Today.

Nelson speaking on Fox, called the federal response, “seamless” with state, local officials and first responders.

Irma is reportedly one of the largest if not the largest hurricanes in a century to hit the United States.

An estimated 6 million plus Floridians were under some level of evacuation orders.  As of 10:12 PM ET, Fox was reporting 3.3 million without power. That total was expected to rise.

Law enforcement has imposed curfews in several cities, such as Miami and Orlando, attempting to suppress looting and other dangers.

MHProNews on the Scene

As MHProNews was moving north on I75 in Florida Saturday, as a steady stream of vehicles were moving south that were pre-positioning for storm response.

Ambulance, fire, law enforcement, tree services, electric services, and generators were all moving south.

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While the traffic wasn’t bumper to bumper, there was a steady stream of emergency and service vehicles that were moving south to stage to pre-hurricane impact zones on Saturday and into Sunday night.  Credits, MHProNews.

Law enforcement presence was heavy on the northbound side of I75.

North of the toll road, about every 1/3 miles, a state trooper vehicle was stationed. When a breakdown occurred – which was not common on Saturday where MHProNews traveled – troopers and service vehicles were able to quickly respond.

Fuel supplies were good in most stations.

Traffic was steady, but not bumper-to-bumper as had been previously reported on Friday.

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A classic Rolls Royce, Mercedes and BMWs were traveling north, along with vehicles by American, European, and Asian car makers.  What wasn’t evident was older vehicles.  Perhaps many with older vehicles were unwilling to risk a breakdown, and opted to shelter in Florida instead?

Unlike Super Storm Sandy or Hurricane Katrina, the response to Harvey and now Irma seemed far better prepared. As was reported previously, FEMA Manufactured Housing Units (MHU) are reportedly among the assets that are being pre-positioned for post-storm housing needs.

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Manufactured Housing Units (MHUs) designed for FEMA, will be an expected part of the FEMA response. Will FEMA may reach out to retailers, as they did during post Harvey? Those retailers who want to consider that should note that previously the time line for such calls from FEMA were short, see a report last week, linked here. Photo credit, WAFB.

MH Communities Preparing, Days in Advance

Community operators told MHProNews that they were preparing for days in advance of the storm.  Knowing that flying debris is one of the threats from such storms, making sure that items outdoors around homes that could become projectiles were a focus for them to dump, secure, or put away.

With tens of billions in damage anticipated, numerous manufactured housing supply impacts and opportunities are expected.  The early fatalities being reported have included first responders.  But all over the state, and in neighboring states, church and civic organizations have already been responding to those in need.

The storm could track into parts of Georgia and the Carolinas, but more will be known tomorrow.

MHProNews’ team offers its prayers and best wishes to all those in the impacted areas.

(Update at 7:54 AM ET, Now over 6 Million reportedly without power, according to Florida Power and Light.)

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## (News.)

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SoheylaKovachManufacturedHomeLivingNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews-Submitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.com.

One Month Later… What’s Happening in Louisiana’s Post Flood Recovery?

September 19th, 2016 Comments off
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Credits – CNN, KTBS, FEMA and MHProNews for text graphic and collage.

While millions watched the drama unfold on TV, residents throughout the state of Louisiana were dealing with historic rains and floods that would drastically impact their lives.

Steve Duke, Louisiana Manufactured Housing Association (LMHA) Executive Director described it as an event of biblical proportions – I was looking for the animals to start paring up. It just wouldn’t stop.”

As MHLivingNews reported here, Duke, and the industry, stood at the ready to assist.

John Bostick, president of Sunshine Homes was quoted as saying We have almost unlimited capacity” to up production from already busy levels, and meet the increased demands from Louisiana.

Shortly after the rains passed, the reality started to set in. While the manufactured home industry was ready to serve, FEMA was still working to figure out housing for those impacted by the historic floods.

As Matthew Silver reported on August 17th, some 40,000 people had applied for federal assistance and 8,000 had stayed in shelters that Monday. FEMA was planning to send teams into shelters and communities to assess needs.

An August 19th updated report by Silver revealed there were then 70,000 assistance requests, 12 lives lost and no definite plans on bringing in manufactured homes.

With the September 8th report, while homes were being placed, things had not progressed as rapidly as many had hoped.

More recently, according FEMA, more than 100 MHUs are still sitting empty.

A FEMA spokesperson, speaking at a town hall meeting in Watson, LA that evening said they were slowing transitioning to a recovery effort.

We’re slowly turning from response to recovery. This is going to be a long time effort,” a FEMA spokesman said. The thing with the manufactured house units, is that we have to work with the state and local officials that we put it in a safe place.

According to WBRZ, they were told about the same thing a month ago. FEMA employee Willie Nunn said back in August that they were looking to inspect sites for temporary homes then, but that they were ready to go.

 willienunnfema-postedmanufacturedhousingindustrydailybusinessnewsmhpronewsWe have them here, we have to folks here ready to take them out to the sites where we need to have them,” said FEMA’s Willie Nunn.

While all of this is alarming, the last part of this report is most telling:

FEMA has insisted that manufactured homes are a last resort for flood victims. They have instructed families to find hotels. But the local news station, after calling 10 hotels, found none with any rooms available. ##

(Image credits as shown.)

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RC WIlliams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News, MHProNews.