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MH Black Eye, or Opportunity in Disguise? Vexing Saga of Millie Francis’ Faith Based Art, Bradenton Tropical Palms ROC, Vanguard Management, Knox and Levine

February 10th, 2019 Comments off

 

MHBlackEyeOpportunityInDIsguiseVexingSagaMillieFranicsFaithBasedArtBradentonTropicalPalmsROCVanguardManagementKnoxLevineDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

It’s no secret. Not everything in life is sunshine and roses. Indeed, in order to have roses, one needs hydration – like rain that falls from the cloudy sky – and nutrition with fertilizers that are either natural or man-made.

 

A fundamental premise of free enterprise is to spot a problem and conceive of ways that an inconvenient or negative situation may become an opportunity to serve others, and thereby earn money.

A fundamental principle of human decency is to see someone in distress, and to step in an act solo or in concert on their behalf.

As an affordable housing crisis rages in America, and manufactured homes (MH) are the wildly misunderstood proven solution hiding in plain sight. So why hasn’t some MH industry leader or organization intervened in this troubling controversy that unexpectedly embroiled resident-home-owner, Millie Francis?

Community operator Brian Gallagher is correct in telling MHProNews that conventional housing has its share of controversies involving home owners’ associations (HOAs).  While true, its manufactured housing that is misunderstood, not conventional housing.

There are any number of organizations or individuals who should feel motivated to resolve the issue of 85-year-old Millie Francis in a manner that respects her rights and wishes.  They could do so in a way that might allow the Bradenton Tropical Palms, Vanguard Management, or the Knox and Levine law firm to save face.

MillieFrancisOurLadyofGuadalupeReligiousArtFairHousingAttorneyNadeenGreenDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Before proceeding with some of those who could benefit by such an intervention, let’s summarize what the issues are to inform new readers about this controversy, as well as provide a refresher for the thousands of manufactured home industry professionals who have already read about this previously.

 

Reported Facts and Assertions:

 

  • Millie Francis lives in a resident owned community (ROC), the Bradenton Tropical Palms, in Bradenton, FL.
  • According to a statement from Mrs. Francis to MHProNews this morning, her issues with Bradenton Tropical Palms community manager Janet Nowakowski long predate her placement of a faith-inspired artistic display.
  • After “years” of that community’s security service shining a spotlight into her home during nighttime hours like “2 [AM] o’clock in the morning,” along with other privacy incidents, Francis tells MHProNews that she decided to have her front window replaced to end the annoyances. Francis stated that she advised management. They gave her their okay.
  • There may be incomplete and/or unsubmitted community required paperwork involved in this controversy.
  • Manager Janet Nowakowski reportedly observed on several occasions the artwork as it was being done on the street facing of Francis’ pre-HUD Code mobile homes. It wasn’t until after the artwork commissioned by Francis was completed by professional artist IngridBrandt that Nowakowski, per Francis, demanded its removal.  That insight from Francis to MHProNews today may undermine any argument that the Bradenton Tropical Palms might raise.
  • Other homes in that same community have similar, often large displays on the exteriors facing the street. Those others cases could be viewed as either secular or religious, as can Francis’ art. Some are attached to a mobile or manufactured home, others are not.
  • Francis is being threatened with eviction and legal action over this alleged infraction.
  • A new hearing with a state agency is scheduled for tomorrow, but it may be postponed.
  • Legal action could still ensue whatever the state agency decides.

 

Additional details are found at this link here:

 

Puzzling Case of Millie Francis, Where are Religious Liberty, Fair Housing, Resident, and Manufactured Home Organizational Defenders?

 

The Drudge Report linked up this article below, which made the issue a global one.

 

https://www.bradenton.com/news/local/article224745285.html

 

The video below is from the same local news source, linked above.

 

 

 

In fairness to the Bradenton Tropical Palms, Vanguard Management, or Knox and Levine, are there possibly other unknown facts? Yes. That said, the Daily Business News on MHProNews – and this writer – have reached out more than once to get their perspectives.

The downloadable document linked here is a communication sent by email to attorneys Jessica Knox and Bryan Levine. It was also sent to another associate in their law office. It contains background and perspectives useful to understanding this issue. It clearly invited them to comment, clarify, contest or otherwise tell their client’s version of the events in writing.

Knox and Levine electronically confirmed receipt. But they exercised their right not to comment. So, if there is anything incomplete in the way of background or related details, that is on them.  Moving on.

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Terminology and the proper respect are important. But doing the right things, at the right time, is arguably even more important.

 

Who is Harmed by the Hullabaloo? Who Could Benefit?

When one reads the public comments on various mainstream media news sites posted about this Millie Francis and her Our Lady of Guadalupe art issue, the harm to the image of the manufactured home (MH) industry and its homeowners becomes evident.

From the typical demeaning nomenclature, to put downs about that location, or of our industry and millions of factory-built home owners, there are a range of comments that should inspire the desire to correct the record. 

A reasonable question is this.  Those public comments are reminders that should inspire — whom?

First, those on the front lines of this arguably mishandled matter by the Bradenton Tropical Palms management and their attorneys. Once a mistake(s) occurs, the motivated professional question becomes, ‘what to do about it?’ How can one take lemons, and make lemonade?

Paul Bradley and ROC USA had the vision to launch #NobleNotMobile. Why aren’t they stepping up to the plate on this ROC connected Millie Francis odyssey?  Does it matter that it isn’t in their network?  They could possibly get more good PR from helping to resolve this one issue, than anything else that they could do this year.  The fact that it is outside of their network is a plus, from a PR perspective, not a minus.

What about NMHOA or MHAction? Or Doug Ryan at Prosperity Now? Here is a woman living in a resident owned community (ROC). Her experience-to-date flies in the face of their narrative of the supposed ‘economic security’ she as a shareholder in that ROC community is supposed to enjoy. How so?  Because Millie Francis’ ROC is effectively threatening to evict her over a disputed rules infraction.  Can you spell, black eye?

Where is MHAction and their merry band of protesters-on-demand? Why aren’t they standing up for Millie Francis’ rights?  Where’s Doug Ryan’s outrage, or any others in organizations like theirs?

There are any number of possible persons or groups that could step up and turn this obvious negative into a potential positive.

There are professionals and firms that have given away a manufactured home at Christmas time. That’s a fine gesture, that gets some free media. Why not protect Millie Francis’ home and her rights to religious expression? Why not be a heroine or hero in bringing to a hopefully happy conclusion this messy matter?

Francis says she loves her pre-HUD Code mobile home. But she and her health are disturbed by the way her ROC community has handled this and other issues.

As arguably the most covered single controversy in all of manufactured housing in 2018, how this story draws to a close could influence public perceptions about this part of the affordable housing industry for years.  As the Chinese axiom states, their characters for crisis means danger as well as opportunity in disguise.

 

WhenWrittenInChineseCrisisComposedTwoCharactersOneDangerOtherOpportunityJohnFKennedyQuoteMHProNews

 

The wrap this up logically, one or more of the following could occur.

  • Unsatisfactory conclusion for Millie Francis. If so, then given the nature of the internet, this unforced contusion on MHVille could be a stain for years to come. That’s especially true for the Bradenton Tropical Palms, but the impact will go beyond that location. It could possibly harm the image of ROCs, land-lease community living, and manufactured homes in general.
  • Millie Francis could die. Ditto the bullet above, and perhaps as bad or worse than if she was effectively evicted. See the download linked here for what that might spark. Because if she does die, then this tragic tale will likely live on in the next round of litigation that her kin could launch in the wake of a stress-induced death.
  • Management of this community, ROCs, and the attorneys could be defined by this episode for years. Is being “tough” on rules – even if the community happens to be right, which is debatable – would firmness be the right image to project to the world in this case? Management and their attorneys need to study the meaning of the term, “Pyrrhic victory.”
  • The Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and their National Community Council (NCC). MHI purportedly fails on a routine basis to live up to their own claim of ‘representing all aspects of factory-built housing.’ Seriously? Do MHI leaders want to be a mensch, or not? Do they want to be seen again as hypocritical or not?
  • Other land-lease community owners. Has anyone thought to offer to move Mrs. Francis and her home to their land-lease community? Artwork and all? Or to simply offer to ‘foot the bill’ for the paperwork fix of this nettlesome issue, and get years of good PR as a result?
  • The same bullet above about MHI could be posed to the industry’s largest firms. We’ve alleged that Clayton Homes and 21st Mortgage have deftly used for years avoidable and artificial headwinds. Negative media are among those, as but one of Chairman Warren Buffett led Berkshire Hathaway’s “sharks in the water” of their “Moat.” Kevin Clayton could set the resolution of this matter in motion with a text, an email or phone call. Ditto Tim Williams at 21st, Eric Hamilton at VMF, etc.
  • Public officials. The list here is extensive, and obvious from the points noted above.
  • Faith-based, First Amendment, or other special interest groups. Ditto the bullet above.

 

That sets the stage for what happens next.

MHProNews has reasons to believe that one or more mainstream media outlets will be doing another report soon.  That could spark yet another round of problematic media for MHVille.

Or – if someone steps up to the plate – it could be a rainbow at the end of this ongoing storm.

An 85-year-old retired nurse and widow is suffering for what she believes in. On a purely human compassion level, why hasn’t someone from MHVille or beyond stepped up and helped her resolved this?

Enough said for now.

That’s just part of what is occurring in what was once the aspirational manufactured home industry of the 1990s.  Our once robust industry today has since been shrunk down to MHVille. Will we learn how to grasp the opportunities-in-disguise that could revive our industry’s reputation?

With no further adieu, for more headlines of the news, analysis and commentary about the affordable side of the housing industry in the week that was, see the reports linked below.

 

What’s New on the Masthead

TheMastheadCommentaryLATonyKovachMHProNews

Conquest Capitalism – Thoughts of Chairman Warren Buffett – Billionaires Campaign to Control Trillion Dollar Affordable Housing Market

 

What’s New on MHLivingNews

mhlivingnews-improvedlivingforle-logo

Who Will Act? Will Senator Elizabeth Warren, and/or the Trump Administration Act to Restore Open Markets, Thereby Supporting Affordable Manufactured Homes?

 

What’s New from MHARR

HUD Code Manufactured Home Production Decline Persists – Time For Action Not Excuses

 

 

What’s New on the Daily Business News on MHProNews

11DailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsLogos

Saturday 2.9.2019

State of the Industry 2019 – Reality vs. Potential for Manufactured, Modular, and PreFab Homes? New Infographic

State of the Industry 2019 – Reality vs. Potential for Manufactured, Modular, and PreFab Homes? New Infographic

 

Friday 2.8.2019

  “Democrats Are Sinful Hypocrites. Just Like All of Us.” Weaponizing Information, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and MHVille

“Democrats Are Sinful Hypocrites. Just Like All of Us.” Weaponizing Information, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and MHVille

  What’s Coming at Cavco Industries (CVCO), Plus Manufactured Housing Industry Stock Updates

What’s Coming at Cavco Industries (CVCO), Plus Manufactured Housing Industry Stock Updates

  Russians Build Truly Mobile, “Mobile Home” – Lighter Side Videos Spark Serious Topics

Russians Build Truly Mobile, “Mobile Home” – Lighter Side Videos Spark Serious Topics

  Is POTUS Trump Racist? “Here Today, Here to Stay” – HUD Secretary Ben Carson Sounds Off

Is POTUS Trump Racist? “Here Today, Here to Stay” – HUD Secretary Ben Carson Sounds Off

 

Thursday 2.7.2019

  ‘Updating All Buildings,’ Other AOC “Green New Deal” – Mixed Reviews Among Democrats, GOP Jeers

‘Updating All Buildings,’ Other AOC “Green New Deal” – Mixed Reviews Among Democrats, GOP Jeers

  China, Trade, Tariffs, and Chicken – Plus Manufactured Home Equities Updates

  Meet the Revolutionaries in PreFab Housing Designs – Project Updates

Meet the Revolutionaries in PreFab Housing Designs – Project Updates

  MHVillage’s MHInsider on Clayton Homes, Manufactured Housing Industry Fact Check – Why Correct Data Matters

MHVillage’s MHInsider on Clayton Homes, Manufactured Housing Industry Fact Check – Why Correct Data Matters

 

Wednesday 2.6.2019

  Celebrating Capitalism Over Destructive Socialism? Highlights, As Talking Heads Weigh In, Plus MH Market Updates

  Cavco Industries (CVCO) Officials Issue Several Warnings

Cavco Industries (CVCO) Officials Issue Several Warnings

  SOTU 2019

SOTU 2019

  Lower Priced Homes Increase Most, Per Latest Housing Data from CoreLogic

Lower Priced Homes Increase Most, Per Latest Housing Data from CoreLogic

 

Tuesday 2.5.2019

  Real Rats and Disease – Not Metaphors – Where’s Manufactured Housing Industry Leadership?

Real Rats and Disease – Not Metaphors – Where’s Manufactured Housing Industry Leadership?

  Data Points Ahead of SOTU, Plus Manufactured Housing Market Updates

  Manufactured Home Production Slide Continues – Call it Corruption, Collusion, Incompetence, Attempted Coverup – Self-Evident Failures Mount

Manufactured Home Production Slide Continues – Call it Corruption, Collusion, Incompetence, Attempted Coverup – Self-Evident Failures Mount

  Economic Opportunities Loom, Infrastructure and Opportunity Zones

Economic Opportunities Loom, Infrastructure and Opportunity Zones

 

Monday 2.4.2019

  Haverford Trust CIO Hank Smith on, Fed Policy, State of Economy, Recession Question – Plus, MH Market Updates

  Law Scrutinizes Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS) Score of Resident Owned Community (ROC) Deal

Law Scrutinizes Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS) Score of Resident Owned Community (ROC) Deal

  Lanham Act, Monopolistic Housing Institute, err, Manufactured Housing Institute, Legal Bullies, and You\

Lanham Act, Monopolistic Housing Institute, err, Manufactured Housing Institute, Legal Bullies, and You

  Sidney Powell, JD, Former Federal Prosecutor on “Licensed to Lie”

Sidney Powell, JD, Former Federal Prosecutor on “Licensed to Lie”

 

Sunday 2.3.2019

  Can Close Reading of Facts Bring Left & Right Together for MHVille, Nation?

Can Close Reading of Facts Bring Left & Right Together for MHVille, Nation?

InfographicMobileManufacturedHomeManufacturedHousingIndustryFactsDataResearchMobileManufacturedHomeLivingNews

Manufactured homes offer decades of proven solution to the affordable housing crisis. But until MHVille pros embrace the notion that negative media coverage ignored just makes the problems our profession face worse, we can only expect more of the same.

 

Almost any given problem is an opportunity in disguise.

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As you ponder the linked reports above or further below, never forget that you are part of a larger housing industry that reportedly closed some $1.6 trillion dollars in sales in 2018. Manufactured homes closed under $8 trillion. The industry can do better.

NothingIsChangedUntilItisChallenged

If we are measured by those we serve, it is my hope that one or more people or organization’s will step up and lend Millie Francis and her adversaries – that should be her allies – a hand to bring this episode to a happy close.

That’s this week’s recap of “News through the lens of manufactured homes, and factory-built housing” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (Headline news, week in review, news, commentary, and analysis.)

(See Related Reports, further below. Text/image boxes are hot-linked to other reports that can be access by clicking on them. Third-party images and content are provided under fair use guidelines.)

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Tony is the multiple award-winning managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

Office 863-213-4090 |Connect on LinkedIn:
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Click here to sign up in 5 seconds for the manufactured home industry’s leading – and still growing – emailed headline news updates.

 

Related References:

The text/image boxes below are linked to other reports, which an be accessed by clicking on them.

Positive, Uplifting Third-Party Reports Favor Modern Manufactured Housing, So What’s Going Wrong?

MHI CEO Dick Jennison’s Pledge – 500,000 New Manufactured Home Shipments

 

Manufactured Housing Institute Housing Alert, Affordable Housing Crisis, MHI’s #NettlesomeThings Response

“The Illusion of Motion Versus Real-World Challenges”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Law Scrutinizes Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS) Score of Resident Owned Community (ROC) Deal

February 4th, 2019 Comments off

 

DavidBernstienELSLawDailyBusinessReviewScutiizesEquityLifestylePropertyScoreROCPalmLakeCoopFL600

In December, the Daily Business News on MHProNews provided insights and details about the purchase by Equity LifeStyle Properties (NYSE:ELS) of their reported $70 million dollar acquisition of Palm Lake Co-op.

 

The community is now known as Palm Lake Estates, in Riviera Beach, Palm Beach County, FL.

 

Sam Zell’s ELS Scores Again, Details Others Missed

 

Lidia Dinkova, writing for Law’s Daily Business Review site, referred to the deal as a “windfall” for the residents.  Let’s see what their scrutinization of this deal turned up.

 

PalmLakeCoopRiveriaBeachPalmBeachCountyFLDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

David Bernstein, JD, with Adams and Reese LLP in St. Petersburg closed the deal for the sellers, “They are getting tremendous windfall for their investment,” said Bernstein, per Law.

Palm Lake, which is for residents who are 55 and up, has 928 lots, and almost a third are vacant,” stated Dinkova’s narrative for Law’s Daily Business Review (DBR). “Under the co-op structure, a resident had the option to either rent or buy a share in the co-op to obtain an ownership stake in the land. The land price alone is $476,190 per acre. About 20 residents rented, and 614 sold their shares in the co-op when the sale closed Dec. 14, according to attorney David Bernstein, who closed the deal for the sellers.”

The above-market transaction breaks down to $114,006 per shareholder before taxes and other costs,” per DBR.Residents in the community at 7272 42nd Way North initially paid $5,000 to $20,000 for their shares.”

Site fees will be $675 monthly, and will have caps on increases for the next decade.

ELS has plans for some $3 million in improvements at the clubhouse and roads. Law mentioned what is obvious to industry observers, namely, that ELS will bring in new inventory.  That process  of driving the community over time to full occupancy is underway, as the collage below reflects.

The former Palm Lake Cooperative reportedly was struggling to cover maintained, especially since the 2004 hurricane season.

Dinkova’s narrative concludes with two factoids, Equity LifeStyle in-house counsel P.J. Huff and Lutz, Bobo & Telfair attorney Richard Lee in Tallahassee worked on this deal on behalf of Equity LifeStyle.” And that “The co-op shareholders approved the unsolicited purchase by 90 percent.”

 

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ELS marketing site has several exterior renderings of model homes, a clear signal that they are gearing up for increasing the occupancy at this location.

 

MH Industry Observations, Questions and Takeaways?

Law’s DBR report, especially in the light of the recent events reported at the link below, raise this timely question.  Do details about this acquisition signal potential weaknesses of the ROC concept?

 

Puzzling Case of Millie Francis, Where are Religious Liberty, Fair Housing, Resident, and Manufactured Home Organizational Defenders?

 

While there is certainly hope by many industry advocates that the ROC concept will continue to grow, are there unforeseen road bumps ahead?

Furthermore, will ELS – and others – now pursue ROC owned properties as possible targets for acquisition?

Time will tell if some of the shine – especially in the light of the Millie Francis’ hullabaloo – may be coming off the ROC apple.  That’s MH “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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Related Reports:

You can click on the image/text boxes to learn more about that topic.

Puzzling Case of Millie Francis, Where are Religious Liberty, Fair Housing, Resident, and Manufactured Home Organizational Defenders?

#NobleNotMobile, New Contest and Video Program Launched, Exclusive Details

GIGO, Esther Sullivan, Clayton Homes, Boston Globe, GSMOL on ‘Manufactured Insecurity-Mobile Home Parks and Americans’ Tenuous Right to Place’

MHARR Releases Study Recommending Independent Collective Representation for Post-Production Sector

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pink Flamingoes, The Virgin Mary of Guadalupe, and Manufactured Home Community’s Mainstream Media Controversy

January 19th, 2019 Comments off

 

PinkFlamingoesVirginMaryofGuadalupeManufacturedHomeCOmmunityMediaControversyDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Once an item hits the mainstream media, or even trade media, it can begin to shape a narrative that may help or harm that operation. In as much as people – potential consumers of manufactured homes – begin or continue to form opinions based upon headlines and news accounts, the prudent business professional must weigh several factors in arriving at a decision on an issue that could shape or harden opinions.

 

Impressions formed by public officials, investors, and the home seeking population might last for months – or years.

 

Last December, the Daily Business News on MHProNews curated such a controversial topic out of Florida. It involves a senior Hispanic woman and her decision to say no to community management, who cited the guidelines for living, insisting that she remove an image of the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe from the street facing front end of her single section home.

That December 2018 report, which included an on-the-record legal view on an aspect of the matter, is found at the linked test/box below.

 

Virgin of Guadalupe Appears, Community Management Resident Legal Uproar, Surprising Attorney’s Opinion

 

By the letter of the agreement, the community may be correct.

But are they making the right decision?

That will be briefly explored in this update on the ongoing incident, via this report and analysis. Because this thorny case has once more hit the mainstream media.

 

The MHC Saga of Millie Francis

Christmas 2018 and Epiphany 2019 may well be in the rearview mirror on the calendar. But for Hispanic senior Millie Francis those celebrations no doubt live on in her heart and mind as part of what forms her intractable stance on this matter.

Community management was previously contacted by MHProNews, and opted not to say more than what is already in the main media.

A video of Francis explaining her view is posted below.

 

 

Here is a synopsis – via pull quotes – of what the latest report said, per the Brandenton Herald. Note that this story has drawn national attention, not only from Catholic media, but local, regional, and national mainstream media – plus here on MHProNews.

 

  • A legal battle is brewing over a portrait of the Virgin Mary an 85-year-old devout Catholic woman had commissioned to replace a window on her Bradenton mobile home.
  • Attorneys representing Bradenton Tropical Palms’ board of directors have filed paperwork announcing that Millie Francis “has been sued in this proceeding,” with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares and Mobile Homes.
  • The suit included a demand for arbitration, a process where an arbitrator’s ruling would be legally binding in order to keep it out of an actual courtroom.
  • The issue with Francis went public in early November when property management demanded she remove the painting, which depicts Mary as Our Lady of Guadalupe, and Francis declaring, “They’ll have to kill me first.”
  • At the heart of the issue is whether the management of Tropical Palms is singling out Francis specifically for the subject matter of the painting. Management insists that the demand to remove the painting have nothing to do with religion and that Francis simply didn’t follow through on park rules pertaining to the replacement of her front window.
  • However, attorneys acknowledge in the documents that Francis submitted the forms, “but with no request for an overall change in appearance or design.”
  • Management insists Francis was required to submit additional requests to do the painting itself. Francis is not be targeted because of her religious beliefs, the lawyers said.
  • “This is pointed out solely to rebut the fact that (Francis) has attempted to turn the enforcement matter into an alleged discriminatory action by the board, when in fact, that allegation could not be further from the truth,” the documents state.
  • Francis isn’t buying that argument, noting that if the painting was of flowers she doubts this would have become an issue at all.
  • “It’s anti-Catholic and I don’t care what anybody says,” Francis said. “I’m sorry, but that’s what it is. I wasn’t late putting it up. That’s not the issue. It’s me and the painting.”

 

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Pink Flamingoes and The Virgin Mary – What to Do?

Some years ago, in a suburb outside of the Houston metro, I did a consulting project with a manufactured home community owner who had a solid 4 star property. That owner had serious backing from a billionaire. He wanted to change the image of his property, to set it apart from that of the industry at large.  His community was nearly new.  But it had been struggling for occupancy for years.  Despite the quality of the property, and large sums invested in marketing and other move-in incentives, the location was less than optimal in various ways,” said manufactured home industry veteran consultant and publisher, L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

As part of his marketing theme for the land-lease community, the owner stressed that the property ‘had no pink flamingoes.’ For him, it was a metaphorical way of setting himself apart from those manufactured home communities that had loose standards that made a place look cheap. With sidewalks, a large community park with picnic tables, flowers, trees, playground, swimming pool and more, tawdry pink flamingoes was the opposite of the image he had in mind,” Kovach said.

We had been successfully testing a variety of unique, even unusual, marketing outreaches. They were getting traction at a price less costly and more profitable than other efforts they had previously made. But one day a resident, in violation of the guidelines for living, put two pink flamingoes on the street side facing of her home. As I recall,” Tony Kovach said, “the owner wrestled with the issue personally, for all the reasons a community operation can imagine. As much as he hated it, he decided to let those pink flamingoes stay. We obviously had to drop that ‘no pink flamingoes’ mantra from the marketing message.”

The marketing campaign had no noticeable impact from that change,” said Kovach. “You could debate his choice either way, for all the reasons an attorney or portfolio operation knows. But that resident was happy, even though he as an owner was personally irked by the entire episode. That was pink flamingoes. In this case in Florida with a senior Hispanic woman named Millie Francis, who is by all accounts, a serious practicing Catholic Christian. The woman believes God Almighty wants her to fight this fight on behalf of the Virgin Mother of the Lord Jesus, manifest in the powerful cultural and religious symbolism of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Is this matter really that hard to figure out?”

 

ManufacturedHmeIndustryAchieveGreatPotentialAddressingResolvingCauseCorePerceptionIssuesLATonyKovachQuotePresentationPhoto

 

It is slowly approaching a year since the Millie Francis story has made headlines in local, regional, and even national news.  It frankly adds to the negative image of the entire community sector, and by extension, the industry at large.

Sometimes in business, one finds a way to forgo a right in order to achieve a higher good. How long before those property owner/management in Florida realizes that they have cost themselves, and untold others in the industry, in a fight that even if they win, it’s been costly in the eye of public opinion?

Think about the various interest groups that this ongoing imbroglio may offend.

 

  • Per Wikipedia, here in the U.S., “Christians represent 73.7%of the total population, 48.9% identifying as Protestants, 23.0% as Catholics…”
  • The number of Americans ages 65 and older is projected to more than double from 46 million today to over 98 million by 2060,” according to the Population Reference Bureau (PRB).
  • 50.8 percent of the population is female, says the Census Bureau.
  • 17 percent of the population is Hispanic, says Wikipedia, and they are by many accounts, among the fastest growing minority populations.
  • While the 2010 Census puts the white-only population at some 63.7 percent, that’s shifting. Would other minority groups identify with this Hispanic lady’s plight?
  • In 2016, 36.6 percentof household heads rented their home, close to the 1965 number of 37 percent, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center based on data from the Census Bureau,” per a report last year from CNBC. 
  • Potential downsizers, up-sizers, first time buyers, etc.

EditorsNoteMillieFrancisDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

How does an incident like this encourage or discourage groups – like the above – from considering the manufactured home lifestyle?  If you were not an industry professional, how would it influence you?

 

IfPrettyPicturesVideosAloneWereEnoughMHIndustryWillOnlyAchieveItsGoalsByResovingItsCoreIssuesLATonyKovachMHProNews1

There are several initiatives underway from companies and associations alike. Some of them have been ongoing for several years. But the new home shipment data makes it painfully clear that they are not working in the measure that matters most to a business, bottom line performance. Learn more, Click Here.

 

Is there anyone that in some form or fashion that this incident may not offend?

Your professional thoughts?

 

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That’s this Saturday morning’s manufactured home “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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Manufactured Home Industry Groups Fighting Hard, Meanwhile, a Man Died

 

 

 

 

 

Teen “Sex Slave” in “Mobile Home Park” – Kid Lured by Gaming App, per ABC, State Officials

January 15th, 2019 Comments off

 

TeenSexSlavesMobileHomeParkLuredGamingApPerABCFloridaLawEnforcementOfficialsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

State officials and an ABC Action News are reporting on an eight-month long investigation of state human trafficking that involved teen age victims used as “sex slaves.”

 

AshleyMoodyFLAttorneyGeneralManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsFlorida’s newly-installed State Attorney General, Ashley Moody said that, This case is just one example of how I will work daily with my Office of Statewide Prosecution and Florida’s great law enforcement officers to combat human trafficking and rescue survivors. The teenage victim in this case was lured away from his family with promises of a better life. Instead, he was moved into a filthy trailer and used as a slave for nearly a year. As a mother, I cannot even begin to express how disturbing the facts of this case are to me.”

Six people were arrested in the troubling case. The investigation reportedly was launched when Louisiana law enforcement contacted St. Petersburg, FL police department, with information about a missing 17 year-old boy. They said they thought the 17 year old was in what was described as a “mobile home” at “4000 24th St. North, Lot 12, Silver Lake Mobile Home Park in St. Petersburg.”

The brief still of the home in question is not clear, but it may indeed be a pre-HUD Code mobile home.

 

 

Investigators are working under a belief that the victim was lured through an online gaming app, called Discord.  The gaming ap allows users to communicated directly with each other. The ap was allegedly used it to coordinate picking the teen up and then driving him to St. Pete.

The minor victim is reporting receiving specialized trauma-care designed for victims of human sexual trafficking.

Four adults – Mark Earl Dennis, Andrew Barry Dennis, Curtis Lee Gruwell, and Michael Wayne Schwartz – were reportedly in the “mobile home” with what last year was the 16 year old boy.

Mark Dennis, Andrew Dennis, Schwartz, Blasdel, Gauthier and McGlamory are all charged with conspiracy to commit human trafficking and interference with custody. Dennis claimed to be the boy’s biological father, but could provide no proof of that claim, per reports.

Mark Dennis, Andrew Dennis, Blasdel and Gauthier are also charged with sexual battery. However, Gruwell is still at large. Authorities are asking for leads from the public, at the time that this article is being drafted – Monday night – for Tuesday morning publication.

 

 

The Department of Children and Families and Homeland Security reportedly assisted in this tragic, but increasingly common, criminal investigation.  See the related reports, below the byline and notices.  “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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Pride and Prejudice: The Truth About Manufactured Home Communities and Crime

 

 

 

 

 

Sam Zell’s ELS Scores Again, Details Others Missed

December 19th, 2018 Comments off

 

SamZellsELSScoresAgainPalmLakeCoopWPalmBeachFLEquityLifestylePropertiesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Palm Lake Cooperative at 7272 42nd Way North in West Palm Beach, Florida, has sold the community to MHC Palm Lake LLC.  That’s an affiliate of MH Communities, the manufactured home investment arm of Chicago-based Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS), per the Business Journal and a local court filing.

 

For those who champion resident owned communities, this is an eye opening development, as the Palm Lake Cooperative was dissolved following the deal.

PalmLakeCoopSign2016ELSequityLifestylePropertiesDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

The sales price was $48.96 million, said the Real Deal.  The Street describes a REIT – a real estate investment trust – such as ELS, asa company that owns and (with some exceptions) operates income-generating real estate such as office buildings, shopping malls and parking lots.” Obviously, manufactured home communities, RV parks. For ELS – even a marina and boat slips can qualify as part of the properties they own and operate.

PalmBeachCoop55PlusCommunityDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

The photo at the top of the manufactured homes with Sam Zell is from the old Palm Beach Coop website, photo collage by MHProNews.

 

ELS is among the basket of manufactured housing industry connected equities that are tracked in our evening market report.  Last night’s closing ticker is shown below.

 

EquityLifestylePropertyELSBloombergDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

The Real Deal states the size of the community is: “50-acre property… that consists of 922 mobile home pads. The deal breaks down to about $53,000 per lot.” That would contradict the claimed number of sites and thus community value reported in the Business Journal.

PalmBeachCoop55PlusCommunityDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

The community’s former coop website is down at this time.

 

PalmLakeCoopMapWPalmBeachFloridaDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Equity LifeStyle pledged to invest $3 million within the next three years to improve the community’s common areas and infrastructure, records show. “Features at Palm Lake include a clubhouse, swimming pool and activities like horseshoe, shuffleboard and fishing. The real estate investment trust owns more than 412 communities and resorts in 32 states and British Columbia,” said the Real Deal, per the ELS website.

 

S-CentralFLMapPalmBeachCoop55PlusCommunityDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

ELS is one of the top two manufactured home communities in the nation, according to data reported by the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) National Communities Council (NCC).

2018Top50ManufacturedHomeCommunitiesListNotMObileHomeParksNCCNationalCommunitiesCouncilManufacturedHousingInsttitueDailyBusinessNewsMHProNEws

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For related reports on manufactured home communities and ELS, please see the related reports, below the by line and disclosures. For researchers or newcomers, the land-lease community sector of manufactured housing is considered to be one of the most consistent performers in real estate investing.  That’s MH “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News , analysis, and commentary.)

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Media Claims New Story/ICON Builds 3D Printed Housing for $4000, Fact Check & Analysis

October 10th, 2018 Comments off

 

MediaNewStoryICONBuilds3DPrintedHousing$4000FactCheckAnalysisDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

Different construction methods exist – or emerge – for a variety of reasons.

 

3D printing of housing, for example, is being tested globally. Some say 3D printed housing is the obvious answer for building housing on the lunar landscape, or other planets.  “It sounds crazy, but it would be a lot crazier to fly sheet rock and 2×4’s to Mars,” Jason Ballard, ICON CEO per Business Insider.

JasonBallardPhotoCofounderCEOIconTreehouseICONLogoDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsLogo400There are also reasons why independent trade publishing which fact-checks is necessary for the factory-built-housing industry.

When there is a buzz about:

  • alternative construction,
  • emerging, or
  • automated technologies then

investors, homebuyers, policy wonks, and others may ask – ‘why should we mess with HUD Code manufactured homes?’

So, it is obviously an important issue to millions.

With that backdrop, mentally place yourself in the shoes of an affordable housing advocate, hedge fund manager, or housing seeker, and then read the following.

photo

Mainstream media outlet Business Insider (BI) ran what is at best a dubious headline, “These 3D-printed homes can be built for less than $4,000 in just 24 hours.”

The videos by third party are posted by the Daily Business News on MHProNews, and were not part of the BI article.

 

Here’s how that BI article opens:

Printable homes represent the latest wave in construction, but they’re not always cheap to build.

Earlier this year, Branch Technology, an architectural startup,developed a prototype of a 1,000-square-foot 3D-printed home that would cost about $300,000 — a price too high to be considered a solution to the global housing crisis.

In March, New Story, a housing nonprofit based in San Francisco, and ICON, a construction-technology company that designs 3D printers, unveiled what they said was “the first permitted, 3D-printed home in America”: a 350-square-foot structure that cost about $10,000 and took just 48 hours to build.

At the time, the printer — known as the Vulcan — was running at only 25% speed. That gave the companies confidence that they could build a 600- to 800-square-foot home in just 24 hours for $4,000 or less. Before using 3D-printing technology, it took New Story eight months to build 100 homes, each costing about $6,000.”  Their article is found at this link here.

Note that the printer for these 3D printed housing units is portable, weighing about 2,000 pounds.

Here’s a news video that serves to make the point on why fact-checks and common-sense analysis are not only useful, but necessary. Note how the still emphasizes that same $4,000 price?  It’s the same figure that BI and others in mainstream media are reports on ICON’s and the New Story’s non-profit efforts are using.

 

But if you listen carefully, ICON’s founder says that the price is for the wall system and framing, not the systems of the house, like HVAC, plumbing, electrical, etc.

Another news outlet said that an ICON project in El Salvador would cost $1,000,000 for 100 homes. Presumably, that is the price of building it there, not in the U.S. If so, that’s $10,000 per ‘tiny house.’

FYI – MHProNews reached out to ICON with questions about what is and is not included in the cost, and received no reply. We plan another outreach in reaction to this article.

So, the Daily Business News turned to another 3D printing builder for their take on this ICON related pricing claims. Here’s what Don Musilli, CEO of 3D Build Systems LLC, Englewood, Florida told MHProNews this week.

 

3D Builder Sounds Off on ICON, Media Claims

Tony: The prices stated with these printed homes are materials cost. We can print an exterior and interior wall in a 1,000 sq. ft. home for under $10,000.00 materials cost. So these numbers are not really indicative of the sell price of the home plus this home has no HVAC and minimal lighting. No toilet, sink, etc.,” said Musilli.

We [3D Build Systems] believe we can produce a 1,400.00 sq. ft. home, complete, ready to move in for around $100,000.00. That is more reasonable and more accurate,” Musilli said in an electronic statement.

One more point,” added Musilli. “It is our goal to attempt to complete the homes in 30 days or less. We are working on the process for wiring, plumbing and installation of the split heating/cooling system to be done as quickly as possible. The finish is just the concrete wall with a stucco like finish.”

If Musilli’s pricing comes to pass, that would be $71.42 per square foot. That’s considerably less than prior estimates for the same sized home of about $100,000.

 

Robotics, 3D Printed Housing, Imminent Challengers for Manufactured Homes, Modular Housing – 3D Build Systems CEO Don Musilli

 

As has been noted above and previously, to achieve more affordable housing, there should be an openness to new as well as proven construction methods, including HUD Code manufactured homes, on an equal opportunity basis.

 

Fresh Facts, Figures, Future of Affordable Housing -Comparisons- Conventional Site-Built v Mobile/Manufactured Home Industry Data

 

 

What Does the Emerging 3D Printing Mean to Manufactured Housing?

A manufactured home industry veteran told MHProNews today that the industry has a “once in a lifetime” chance to get it right.  The need for affordable housing is so great, and there are numerous media sources that are shedding positive light on HUD Code manufactured homes.  One of several examples from this year is found below.

 

Bloomberg “New Home for $90,000? Manufactured Housing Is Making a Comeback” Reveals MH Media Challenge

 

Be that as it may, it is challenges from emerging technologies that are among the reasons our publisher repeatedly warns the industry’s independents against what he sees as the “artificially caused challenges” to HUD Code manufactured home builders, retailers, communities and other industry professionals. One of many such challenges are spotlighted in the article linked below, which can be read later for greater understanding of the issues.

 

Rumble over Anti-MH Law-State Association, Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), Clayton Homes, and MHARR

 

The Manufactured Housing InstituteMHI – and their mouth-pieces keep calling for ‘unity’ in the industry.  That’s a potentially loaded term,” says L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.  “Someone can unite an industry by consolidating it. Uniting an industry could in some cases be construed as an antitrust issue, as their own handout says. That said, the point should be that a few players that have purportedly manipulated regulators, aspects of media engagement, public officials and capital could have over played their hand. In the meantime, that process has arguably cost thousands of industry professionals to lose their businesses to closure or a cheaper sale than a normal market condition would have provided them.”

The other side of the coin,” said Kovach, “is that MHARR, MHI and state association like Texas did pull together in a way that benefited everyone.  That should be the test for ‘unity.’ Does it benefit consumers? Does it benefit businesses of all sizes?  Does it work to the advantage of taxpayers? That’s kind of authentic unity is worthwhile. So, the word ‘unity’ must be carefully parsed.  Some unity is good, but other kinds of unity is akin to conquest.”

LATonyKovachGoodBipartisanshipShouldalwaysBepredicatedBenefitallhonestindustrymembersnotslectfewquote

The comment above was said with respect to another recent topic, but relates to this issue too.

MHProNews will be doing a special report on that topic, to provide an example of how ‘good unity’ has worked before, and can work again.

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Deaths in MH Communities from Trees Falling, “Get to the Root of It”

September 6th, 2018 Comments off

DeathsinMHCommunitiesfromFallingTreesGetToTheRootofItDailyBusinessNewsMHproNEws

In Arkansas, and Florida, recent local media reports focused on tragic deaths that occurred when trees fell on what they each news outlet called a “mobile home.1” Meanwhile a West Coast law firm sent out a message announcing an event to discuss the liabilities involved, under the title – “Get to the Root of it! Tree Laws and Driveways.” 

In Russellville, AR, the following video was posted under the headline “Falling Trees an Ongoing Problem at Mobile Home Park Where Mom, Son Killed.”

Fox16 said, “Johnny Hicks, who used to live at the park off Main Street and was visiting family there over the weekend, can’t stop reliving what he witnessed when a rotting tree pinned a mother and her 2 children underneath

There was a little girl screaming and I started talking to her trying to calm her down,” Hicks said. “All the mom was saying was ‘I’m dying, help I’m dying.'”

The tree was so big crews needed a crane to get the family out. By then firefighters say Alesha Huggins and her 9-year-old son died, while the 6-year-old girl was injured and is recovering at the hospital,” said Fox16.

Hicks said he believes what happened was preventable, explaining that falling trees are an ongoing problem that park management neglects. “The family has told them they want this tree checked out, I guess too little too late,” Hicks said.

Meanwhile, “ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. (WEAR) — Tuesday night’s first storm-related death appears to have occurred in Escambia County.” Here’s ABC3340’s video on that fatal incident.

These are all stark reminders of how something like tree care can have life and death consequences.  Prudent advanced care can avoid injury, property damage, or death, along with avoiding the possible legal repercussions.  See related reports below for other perspectives. ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

Footnote 1.  As regular readers know, mobile and manufactured homes often have terminology mixed and misapplied. To learn more, see this link here.

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Plane Crashes into MH Community, Discover What’s Riskier Than an MH in a Tornado

March 13th, 2018 Comments off

NewSmyrnaBeachFLManufacturedHomeCommunityWFTVDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

It’s not something that happens very often.

 

A small plane crashed into a manufactured home community.

The shocking accident raised several related points that manufactured home professionals, investors and public officials ought to know.

First, are the facts of the incident, as reported by local media, before a look at the insights from this incident are briefly examined.

 

 

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. –

Two people aboard a plane were injured last Tuesday when an aircraft crashed into a home in a land lease community in New Smyrna Beach, officials told Orlando’s News 6.

The FAA said the Piper PA-28 crashed at 10:03 a.m. while approaching Massey Ranch Airpark in Edgewater. The plane struck a home on Roberts Lane near West Park Avenue, south of U.S. 1,” said ClickOrlando.

WFTVnewSmyrnaBeachFLPlaneCrashesintoManufacturedHomeCommunity550

The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said Amrit Ramnarine, 23 and his sister, Asha Ramnarine, 21, were hurt in the crash. No one at the home was injured.

Dorothy O’Brien, who lives alone, said she was taking a shower when she heard a loud noise.  O’Brien said she called 911 and reported that a plane had crashed onto her home.

I heard this terrible, terrible noise, like a big crash,” O’Brien said.  She saw that plane had hit her carport, and she called 911.

O’Brien said she’s not surprised it happened, because planes fly overhead all the time, arriving and departing from the nearby air park.

“You see them come over all the time but you never think it’s going to happen. They’re always so good about it. I pray for the two kids that were in there,” O’Brien said.

The video from News 6 showed the wing of plane on her carport.

 

The Stories Behind the Story

Despite big-budget Hollywood films’ depictions of plane crashes, flying is actually the safest mode of transportation. In fact, the odds of a plane crash are one for every 1.2 million flights, with odds of dying one in 11 million. Your chances of dying in a car or traffic accident are one in 5,000.Aug 18, 2014,” say Curiosity.

Rather, figures from the National Transportation Safety Board indicate that a staggering 97 percent of aviation fatalities occur in general aviation, not in commercial flights. According to ABC News, there is an average of five small plane crashes each day, resulting in approximately 500 deaths annually,” according to the Kreindler & Kreindler law firm, which specializes in aviation accident cases.

2016PreliminaryKillerTornadoDeathsUSDataNOAA.NationalWeatherServiceDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Lessons Meant to Be Shared

Thankfully, there was no fatality in this plane crash, but it obliquely raised an important theme that manufactured housing professionals must learn and share routinely.

2017PreliminaryKillerTornadoDeathsUSDataNOAA.NationalWeatherServiceDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Stop and think, there are some 500 deaths in small planes in the U.S. every year, but typically only a few dozen die during a tornado incident that involves a manufactured home. But which tragedy ends up getting hyped more?

That lesson is there very few deaths every year caused by tornadoes.  While every premature death can be seen as tragic, it is riskier to fly in a small plane than it is to be in a manufactured home during tornado season.

Media can and does hype stories, following the ‘if it bleeds, it leads’ principle. The Daily Business News provides news through the lens of manufactured housing.  That’s…

News through the lens of manufactured housing.” © Which is why some industry pros have said, “If MHProNews is writing about it, I want to know about it.” © ## (News, analysis and commentary.)

Related:

Weather Expert’s Surprising, Bombshell Statement on Tornado Deaths and Affordable Manufactured Homes

Is Extreme Weather Declining, Rising? Climate Depot Report, Housing Windstorm Safety Redux

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“When is a Trailer Worth $300,000?” asks Robert Plunket, Sarasota Magazine, Manufactured Housing Analysis

December 11th, 2017 Comments off

CortezParkResidentOwnedCommunitySarasotaMagazineFLDailyBusienssNewsMHProNwes

An Open Letter to Robert “Bob” Plunket, Sarasota Magazine

Dear Robert,
My hunch is you’re a fine writer, which is why your opening, headline, and much of column in your recent article in Sarasota Magazine are troubling.  The executive summary might be the maxim, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Please don’t take this as rude, but rather as a sincere critique.  An effort to explain how what you did – whatever your intent may have been – is hurtful to others, and thus problematic at best.

 

CritiqueHighlyVisibleEcnouragesIndividu8alsRaiseStandardsDavidDidauQuoteMastheadBlogManufacuredHousingIndustryMHProNews

Critiques, properly understood, are a way of improving professional performance. Every business, every sports team which aims to win does evaluations, which are a critique. “We Provide, You Decide.” ©

Let’s start by quoting your column.

IT’S A RARE TRAILER PARK [SIC] that can make a visitor wish he lived there. Too often they live up to their unhappy image of flimsy housing, densely packed together, with retired people just getting by on their Social Security,” you wrote in the Sarasota Magazine.

Ouch.

SICSicutJournalismDefintionSocietyProfessionalJournalismDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Doesn’t that reinforce, and conjure up images of ‘trailer park trash,’ which is the kind of insult our so-called ‘politically correct’ society is supposed to avoid?

Isn’t that the language that evokes an image we’ve come to expect from politicians or their henchmen, who are trying to whitewash dirty laundry?

“Drag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park, you never know what you’ll find,” James Carville, Clinton Strategist

But you, sir, are describing an “iconic” life in a nice city in sunny Florida.

Here in Florida, where we too hang our hats, about every tenth person lives in a mobile or manufactured home. That’s a big minority group.

CortezParkIconicWayLivingBrandentonFLDailyBsuinessNwesMHProNews

Central Florida, Gulf Coast.

A friend and colleague of ours – Rev. Donald Tye, Jr. – owns a fine, factory-built home that pre-dates the federal HUD Code for manufactured housing. He sings that 40-plus-year-young home’s praises, because it allowed him and his wife to do more in life, and allowed them to do more for their children, because their housing cost less.

 

 

Rev. Tye said the quote below in writing, but he phrased it a bit differently in the video above.

RevDonaldTyeJr.ManufacturedHousingNotT-railerNotNword_001

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the wrong terminology impacts price. But it also impacts people’s emotions, see the poet who rejected the use of the t-word with regard to her home, by clicking the image above.

 

Might Tye have been speaking to you, Robert, and others in media like you?  Shouldn’t we abolish the images and terms ‘trailer’ when we’re talking about a modern manufactured home that new can be $40,000 to nearly $300,000 (or more), as your article noted?

Your name is Robert, you may go by Bob. But if someone called you by any other name – or by a slur –  you’d understandably be offended, wouldn’t you?  Trailer, evokes trailer trash.  That’s a slur.

Let’s dig deeper, quoting your column.

But some parks—or “mobile home communities [SIC] as they prefer to be known—will make you rethink what this economical way of living can offer. Longboat Key has a park with killer Gulf views set in the middle of million-dollar homes and condos. And even better is Cortez Park in the historic district of the quaint old fishing village, where we found what just might be the most expensive trailer in Southwest Florida, priced at $299,000,” wrote Plunket in Sarasota Magazine.

That’s presumably supposed to make the point of your opening paragraph and ‘iconic’ lifestyle.

But the terminology you used, ‘mobile home communities’ – tells an informed professional reader one of these 5 options.

  • Perhaps you didn’t do enough research to learn that there have been no mobile homes build in the U.S. since June 15, 1976.
  • Therefor, while built decades ago, the location you describe is a manufactured home community, no matter what the property’s name might be.
  • That nearly $300,000 home you reference, plus those photos you used, are neither a trailer house, nor a mobile home. It’s a manufactured home. That’s a federal code and legal distinction, not a marketing difference.  See chart and video, below.

FactoryHousingEvolution101TrailerHouseMobileHomeManufacturedHome-768x601

 

 

  • Perhaps you thought you were being witty, Robert? But other than some select comics, which ones would use the N word, or some other kind of slur against racial, religious, or other groups and get away with it before being canned or banned by their sponsors?  Why is it acceptable to put-down and use slurs against manufactured homes and their owners, when it is unacceptable to do so against other ethnic, gender, or other identity groups?
  • That said, if you knew those things, and still improperly used the term ‘trailer’ and ‘mobile home communities,’ then what explains your failure to use the proper nomenclature? Shock value? Doing what someone asked, perhaps? Whatever the motive, isn’t what you did ignoring the standards of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Code of Ethics?

SPJCodeOfEhticsProfessionalJournalistsCodeEhticsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews720

https://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp

 

Robert, Did You Know…

A discrimination case was recently settled by a non-profit, Equal Justice Under Law.  They brought the suit against the city in the article linked below.

 

“Mobile Home Ban” Suit Win, “Equal Justice Under Law,” Manufactured Home Owners, Buyers, Industry

 

How long before the ACLU, Equal Justice, or some other group decides ‘enough is enough,’ and sues media outlets, and/or writers, for defamation against MH residents? For the economic harm that is being caused them, and the industry that serves them?  Because bad image yields decreased demand, and that reduces volume and values.

It’s self-evident to any thinker that an unjustified poor image harms the values of millions of American’s mobile or manufactured homes.  That sounds like a class action suit, waiting to happen.

So, beyond avoiding law suits, or staying within the SPJ ethics standards – you and all writers, editors, journalists, producers – should want to show the proper respect for the residents and their homes. You should give them the same respect that you would want for yourself, or for your home.

 

A True Story… About a Black Nurse

Let me tee up this story about a nurse. By way of background, perhaps no one living involved in manufactured homes has produced more interviews and reports – video and written – on manufactured home owners, experts, and professionals. We must be doing something right, because we have the largest audiences of their kind, and over a thousand unsolicited LinkedIn recommendations and endorsements. We try daily to walk-the-talk, and hold industry as well as others to account. That’s said to explain the following.

Among those many interviews was a retired black nurse.  She was soft spoken, thoughtful, and probably fine at her job which she did for decades.  It was a good interview about what attracted her – as a professional – to manufactured home living.

But it was after the cameras and sound were off, when she stopped, and looked at me intensely.  She said, “I’m not trailer trash.”  She explained she wanted people to know that she wasn’t “trailer trash.”  I could see the raw feelings in her eyes, and hear her holding back the emotions she felt in her voice.  I was already motivated to tell the stories of these owners and their homes, but that has focused me more ever since.

Her state of mind – which captures that of millions of others – are exacerbated by the stenotypes your story’s terminology hammers home. It harms people like her, and many more out of the 22 million who live in a pre-HUD Code mobile home, or a post-HUD Code manufactured home (Again, the code went into effect June 15, 1976).

A poet laureate described her very similar feelings to that nurse’s in her own words, in the story linked below.

Taking on the Trash Talk! Are People Defined by their Housing Choice? Video, Photos

We’ve interviewed retirees, working class, professionals, and millionaires – all of whom have one thing in common. Manufactured home living.  They routinely love it.

Frankly and in fairness to you, Robert, it’s not just journalists that have created the problem.

But it is your job as a gifted writer not to stereotype, not to reinforce those negative images – for any reason. If a client asked you to do it, it’s still not a good enough reason.

WhenIsTrailerWorth$300kWhenComeswithViewIconicWayLifeRobertPlunketDailyBusinessNews865x806

Because that derogatory discrimination has placed millions into this sad and completely avoidable circumstance. If everyone else where getting it wrong, you as hopefully someone that wants to live up to the noble standards of the SPJ code of ethics cited above would strive to get it right.

“Home Sweet Home” – Assistant Mayor Wants to End Housing Choice Stigma

If you did so, Robert, that would be giving voice to the voiceless.

We’ve paid no one for our interviews.  Most want to do so for one simple reason.  They want to tell their story, and dispel the myths and misconceptions.

ListingCotezParkManufacturedHomeCommunitySarasotaMagazineDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

From Robert Plunkett’s article in Sarasota Magazine.

Being Fair

Robert, I get it that you used many favorable descriptions. But until you see your report, linked below, through the lens of the millions of owners who hate the stereotype, or the thousands of industry professionals who hate the improper terminology, you may not realize that the otherwise nice descriptors are diminished by the use of the ‘t-word’ and calling a manufactured home, mobile.

The Cortez Trailer Park [SIC] almost seems too good to be true. Developers have been coveting the prime location for years. Fortunately, the residents recently bought the place as a co-op, thus ensuring that this happy piece of Florida’s past and present will go on providing a unique, affordable lifestyle for years to come,” you wrote, in the article, linked below.

https://www.sarasotamagazine.com/articles/2017/11/29/escape-to-old-florida

If the sign that Keller Williams Realty shows is correct, it’s just Cortez Park, not “trailer” park.

CortezParkBrandentonFlDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews518

 

 

Keller Williams got the terminology right, manufactured home community.

Realtor, by the way, was one of several cited in the mainstream media that said last year manufactured homes are an important part of the solution for affordable quality living.  But for every article that gets it right, there are perhaps 100 that do what you did.

Bloomberg, HousingWire, Realtor and Fox all suggest Manufactured Homes as Important Solution for Affordable Housing in America

The Impact on Homeowners, Industry and the Nation Caused by Flawed Stereotypes

University studies, federal studies, insurance companies, and other third-party researchers have sung the praises of manufactured homes for years.

Eric Belsky, Executive Director Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University May 2000 Modern Homes Development, per MHI, said: “there are multiple reasons to expect manufactured housing to do better than site built housing in the [current] decade.”

MobileManufacturedHomeAnnualShipments1959-2012CalculatedRisk-DailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryResearchReportsMHProNews

That charts above and below reveal that Harvard’s expectation didn’t occur.

average-shipment-per-decade-manufactured-home-posted-on-mhpronews-com-d

Graphic provided by Ross Kinzler when he was then the executive director of the Wisconsin Housing Alliance (WHA).

Why not?  Again, there are many reasons, but let me spotlight two that relate directly to you, Robert, and all others in media who fail to apply the proper standards of the SPJ when writing about manufactured homes.

Both news media and entertainment have been using the ‘trailer’ or ‘mobile home’ terminology more.

Foremost Report: Manufactured Home Customer Survey and Market Facts

Foremost Insurance research suggests that the use of the term ‘trailer’ and ‘mobile home’ to describe manufactured homes is actually increasing.  Other third-party research reveals that those living in manufactured homes overwhelmingly love it.

Manufactured Home Owners – Satisfaction Survey Redux

The federal HUD Code for manufactured housing went into effect on June 15, 1976.

There’s been no mobile homes built in the U.S. in over 4 decades. Millions are incorrectly calling manufactured homes, “mobile homes” or “trailers.”

That’s simply hard to imagine, save those two points.  Poor media coverage, combined with other factors, created a perfect wave that led the industry down at the very time it should have been rising, per Harvard’s research.

Does anyone doubt the influence of news and entertainment on millions of our fellow Americans? Haven’t advertisers paid for that influence for over a century? Is it any surprise that here in the U.S. – or in Canada, where they have a similar problem – a professional described the harm being done to the image of manufactured homes, their owners and thus business due to the ‘entertainment’ of the “Trailer Park Boys” so-called “comedy?”  Would there be such a show that mocks blacks, Hispanics or any other group?

‘Trailer Park Boys’ Death Focuses Manufactured Home Industry, Homeowners Challenge

Frank Rolfe, here in the U.S. – certainly a controversial figure in his own right – has said that the reporters he’s spoken with have an “Eight Mile” – the Eminem movie – impression of manufactured homes.

 

 

We won’t parse Rolfe in-depth on this, but part of the reason that people in our industry don’t want to talk to the media is because it is so routinely biased against manufactured homes and their owners.  Tragic.

With media writers misusing the term “trailer” and “mobile home” being so commonplace – that influences

  • others in media,
  • researchers, who following the media lead, and who often misuse the term mobile home.
  • But because the safety and performance of manufactured homes are so superior, that terminology confusion is creating some problematic studies, because researchers are failing to make the distinction between pre-HUD Code mobile homes, and post-code manufactured homes.

See the summary of one such case, linked below.

LetterSolvingHousingAffordabilityLakelandLedgerMichiganStateUnivDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

The photo shown was selected by the Lakeland Ledger, as was the headline, the contents of the Op-Ed are shown in its entirety. Original story, linked here.

www.theledger.com/opinion/20170629/letter-solving-home-affordability-problem

 

It’s Millions of Real People’s Lives That Are Impacted

Robert, in closing, the misuse of the words hurts real people.

In a time when housing affordability is in crisis, a key solution is hiding in plain sight.

But ignorance, prejudicial terminology, and misinformation are all harming the acceptance of manufactured homes.

MostMenAppearnNeverConsideredWhatHouseIsNeedlesslyPoorAllTheirLivesHenryDavidThoreauManufacturedHomeLivingNews

https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com

There should be nearly one million more Americans working today, earning good pay, building the manufactured homes needed by the millions for those seeking quality affordable living for less.

The nation needs 8 million affordable housing units.  The unsubsidized, private-sector solution is manufactured homes.

You don’t have to advertise them, Robert. But if you just wrote about them accurately, informing the public about the facts, respectfully, the rest would over time take care of itself.

I hope you’ll consider this open letter as a candid effort to correct what’s wrong, using your column in the Sarasota Magazine as an example mostly of what not to do.

I do respect your skills as a writer, and thus this appeal for you to live up to the best of the noble ideals of the SPJ Code of Ethics.

Thank you.  Tony. ## (Analysis, commentary, fact checks, news, trends.)

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FactoryBuiltCarsClothingAppliancesElectronicsCellsSmartPhonesHomesItJustFollowsLATonyKovach(C)2017MHproNewsBy L. A. “Tony” Kovach. Kovach is the managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, parent to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com. Both are #1 in their categories. 

“Pull the Pam Danner Parachute” During the MHI Meeting, Association Leader Comments

September 18th, 2017 Comments off
PamDannerLoisStarkeyRichardADickJennisonMHILogoManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoParachute

HUD Manufactured Housing Program Administrator, Pam Danner, JD, top right. Bottom left, Lois Starkey – former MHI VP, who is now at HUD. Behind Starkey, MHI President and CEO, Richard A ‘Dick’ Jennison, whom unconfirmed rumors say is going to be exited at the end of his current contract.

Last month, MHProNews published a report that included the following findings from a well-known HUD Code manufactured housing advocacy group based in Washington, D.C.

That report was recently republished 2 days ago by MHR. Eagle-eyed professionals who read the Daily Business News spotted it.  Note that per the provider of the information, MHR had the same right to publish that report as MHProNews first did, only this publication did so about 6 weeks ago.

But as another industry professional put it, this was a timely reminder.

That member suggested that the relatively modest numbers expected at the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) Annual meeting in Orlando should see what, if anything, MHI has to say about the Pam Danner/Lois Starkey topic.

To date, MHI has reportedly told those members that pressed them on the HUD program administrator Danner that it was a non-issue for the Arlington, VA based group. Others say that MHI is de facto supportive of the Danner status quo.

Some excerpts of the prior report are shown below.

“(1) Is seeking to implement a federal takeover of installation regulation in all fifty states, in derogation of state law and contrary to the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000;

MarkWeissManufacturedHousingAssociationForRegulatoryReformMHARRPresidentCEOMHProNews

Mark Weiss, President and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR).

(2) Is seeking to implement extremely costly substantive changes to the existing federal installation standards for “frost-free” shallow foundations through an alleged “Interpretive Bulletin”…

(3) Is destroying the HUD Code on-site completion market through an unnecessarily complex, paperwork-intensive, intricate and costly “on-site completion” rule, in the process rejecting requests by a broad range of program stakeholders and the MHCC to delay and reconsider implementation of the final rule and related pseudo-regulatory HUD “guidance” – which only benefits industry competitors and program contractors;”

With over 20 more bullets, the full report by Mark Weiss, JD, first published on Aug 2, is linked here.  Another, more recent report by Weiss is linked here.##

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

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