Posts Tagged ‘Massachusetts’

State Facts on Manufactured Home Ownership, MH Data by Year Built, and You

October 18th, 2017 Comments off

ManufacturedHomeFactsWhyTheyAreMisunderstoodDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsProsperity Now has created a new market study, focused on manufactured housing.  While their research spotlights a specific state, it may shed light on some of the causes of media, officials, policy wonks and the public impressions of today’s manufactured homes.

As the chart below compiled by Prosperity Now reflects, the percentage of mobile and manufactured homes broken into categories by the years they were constructed.

In our new video interview with Frank Rolfe, he mentions the Eminem movie, 8 Mile. Rolfe says that many in the media have precisely that 8 Mile mental image as their impression of what a manufactured home is. The still shown is from the video further below

A previous report that analyzed Prosperity Now’s report on the Road to Zero Wealth.  The advocacy group – previously known as CFED – often produces useful research, even if some of the conclusions drawn by some from their statistics may be problematic.  See that linked here.  But their belief in manufactured homes as a tool for wealth building and as a path to solving the affordable housing crisis is solid.


This chart shows that over half of all MH in MA are pre-1980.  While some of those are post-HUD Code, they will include the kind of “metal on metal” homes which cause millions to shout, NIMBY.



The use of the term “trailer” would best apply to a pre-mobile home era housing. The homes in this still are properly mobile homes. One of several notable point for Prosperity Now’s work is that they routinely use good terminology. See their chart, below.


Coupled with the point that Prosperity Now makes that only about ½ of 1 percent of the state’s residents are living in a mobile or manufactured home, it underscores Rolfe’s point.

Compare the footage shown in the YouTube video with the new manufactured home that Rolfe asserts most are unaware of in America.  That dovetails with a Zillow/MHLivingNews report that only about 4 percent of millennials consider the manufactured home option.

For a more detailed, and broader context for the Frank Rolfe video, click here. ## (News, analysis, commentary.)

(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





Residents Win the Day: “We Are the Landlord”

May 1st, 2017 Comments off

Credit: Wicked Kingston.

South of Boston in Kingston, Massachusetts, residents of the Town & Country Estates had a busy day last week.

They bought their community.

According to Wicked Kingston, the residents, with help from (ROC USA) and its affiliate Cooperative Development Institute (CDI), residents of the community were able to realize a dream 10 years in the making, as members of the board for the Town & Country Mobile Home Estates Tenants Association finally signed the papers.

We don’t have to look for a landlord, we are the landlord, so that being a co-op and a nonprofit we’re not out to make any money so the only rent that we’re going to be charging ourselves is that which is enough to sustain the place,” said association President Joe Mauriello.

Mauriello says it was resident Joe Bruno that made the purchase possible, as he initially heard about ROC USA and CDI, the part of ROC USA that helped the association get organized, and contacted CDI’s Andy Danforth. ROC USA has been working with them for the last three years, he said, including the last year of actively working on the purchase.

Without ROC or CDI, we would not be owning this park [sic] today,” said Mauriello.

As Daily Business News readers are aware, ROC USA recently helped residents of the Kayadeross Acres Manufactured Home Cooperative in Ballston Spa, New York, to purchase their community, with papers being signed last Christmas. That story is linked here.

An offer to purchase the community from the previous owner provided Town & Country Estates residents the opening they needed to buy the property for $6.2 million. While there will be an increase in rents, residents say that the stability factor is huge.


Credit: Wicked Kingston.

At a celebration, two cakes were decorated with the words “We own it!” and a sign that reads “Hooray! Tis the day, to ourselves we now will pay. Congrats family!”

For more on ROC USA, including a recent study on rent rates, click here. ##

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


RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

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

Manufactured Home Community Residents Reach Settlement In Legal Action

April 24th, 2017 Comments off

Credit: Lowell Sun.

In Massachusetts, residents of the Chelmsford Commons manufactured home community have reportedly reached a six-figure settlement in a class action lawsuit against community owner, Michigan based RHP Properties.

According to the Lowell Sun, the suit alleges that RHP improperly raised rents on residents over the last five years. As a result of the settlement, residents have started to see reductions in their rent rates, and RHP has agreed to pay out more than $100,000 to about 350 current and former residents.

I’m hoping that we can get something to bring us all back down again,” said resident Sally Walters, who received a letter earlier this month that RHP was reducing her rent by $9 as a result of the settlement.

Three community residents, who claimed that RHP violated a 1990 master lease agreement that stated that rent increases were to be based, in part, on changes to the Boston Consumer Price Index, filed the lawsuit earlier this month.

Instead, the suit claims RHP based the increases on the national CPI, which rose faster than the Boston index, resulting in inflated rents.

The new owners, if the cost of living doesn’t go up they’re still going to charge you,” said one resident.

They know lots of the residents are on social security and disability.”

Additionally,the lawsuit also claimed that RHP added the cost of repairing a water main break to residents, and that as a part of the settlement, RHP has agreed to set aside an additional $10,000 to compensate residents.

For residents, even though the reduction amounts may be small, they have a significant impact. Many residents, who are on fixed incomes, have had to leave the community due to rent increases of $20 to $30 per month.

Anything helps, there’s no doubt about it,” said resident Jerry Robinson. Robinson has seen a reduction in his rent of $16 so far.

A Middlesex Superior Court judge still has to approve the settlement before notices are sent to residents. RHP has not commented on the settlement. ##


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



RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews

After Fight, MHC Gets Green Light

February 15th, 2017 Comments off

An unrelated manufactured home in nearby Attleboro. Credit: Realtor.

In North Attleboro, Massachusetts, residents who were initially concerned over a proposed manufactured home community, have changed their tune now that the developer has abandoned a controversial part of the project.

According to The Sun Chronicle, residents were at odds with the developer of Westcott Estates, a manufactured home community planned on 23 acres beginning last spring. The issue was over a street entry to the community, which residents said would affect their property values and bring unwanted traffic to the winding road.

We don’t have sidewalks or street lights, and it’s a very curvy road,” said area resident Lisa Forsgard. “We’ve had many accidents on that road and we know how tough a road it is to maneuver.

Forsgard lives directly across the street from the proposed entry, which prompted her to join other neighborhood residents at zoning board and selectmen meetings last spring to protest the development.

After the protests, developers decided to scrap the idea for the entryway on the proposed road and move it to an adjacent one. Forsgard says that with that move, her concerns were addressed.

They own the land and are allowed to do whatever they want with it,” said Forsgard.We know there is going to be change. We just wanted to protect the integrity of our neighborhood.


North Attleboro, identified by red marker. Credit: Google.

Westcott Estates will be a 55 and over community, and developers also made it clear to area residents that the community will be made up of modern manufactured homes on concrete slabs, not the “trailers” that many envision.

For Don Baker, he was pleased to see that the developer was amenable to some concerns by the neighborhood.

I’m hoping to work with them rather than against them,” said Baker.

As long as they continue to build responsibly and appropriately, it should be fine. The only concern I still have is that it doesn’t affect the lifestyle of the residents.

With the changes by the developer, the planning board recently approved the project with certain conditions. The community must include a walking trail, two benches, two overhead lights, two dog waste bag dispensers and one dog waste bin.


North Attleboro city hall. Credit: Century 21.

Planning officials also mandated snow removal from the lot within 48 hours of a snowstorm.

The developer will now have to record the plans for the community and begin consultations with contractors.

As Daily Business News readers are aware, stories pitting developers against residents have been in the news recently, including the case of a proposed MHC in Iberia Parish, Louisiana.

In most instances, inaccurate information and misconceptions about manufactured housing communities leads to cases of NIMBY (Not-In-My-Back-Yard).

But in the case of the North Attleboro development, there appears to be hope for progress through communication.

Our concerns were listened to,” said Forsgard. “Now, we’ll just have to see how it goes when it’s put in.” ##


(Image credits are as shown above.)



RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

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

Tiny Homes, Elite Edition?

February 10th, 2017 Comments off

Credit: Wikipedia.

As the U.S. and other countries around the world look for solutions to a growing housing crisis, that fight has come to what some would consider an unexpected place.

According to the Cape Cod Times, the year-round crisis is mounting on Martha’s Vineyard in Chilmark, Massachusetts, and Marina Lent is offering a solution that could be considered, small.

Similar to nearby Nantucket, which recently passed a bylaw allowing for “tiny homes”, the Chilmark Board of Selectmen heard a proposal from Lent that would allow homes smaller than 400 square feet to be clustered on a single lot with a septic system.

Instead of a four-bedroom house on a four-bedroom septic system, build four single-bedroom homes,” said Lent.


Marina Lent. Credit: Facebook.

This would allow people in the market for homes to share the cost of land, the major cost factor, and still be able to live in their own place. The land is so unaffordable.”

Unaffordable to the tune of $250,000 for a quarter-acre.

Anywhere else I could buy a home,” said Lent, who is the administrator for the town’s Board of Health.There’s no way I could ever buy a starter home on my salary.

Chilmark holds the distinction of having the most seasonal housing market on the island. Out of 1,560 units in town, 79 percent are vacant and used as seasonal residences.

Under Lent’s plan, the homes would be somewhat of a hybrid – tiny homes are usually built on trailers, but Lent’s proposal would allow for the homes to have a foundation, which is necessary to withstand the storms that hit the island. The homes would also be movable, if the homeowner would like to relocate to another area.

While the island has not been warm to manufactured homes in the past, there is a long history of moving homes. But, that could change to.


Chilmark, in red marker. Credit: Google.

Nearby Tisbury will hold a public hearing February 15 to discuss adjusting regulations for manufactured home communities and tiny houses.

Manufactured home communities currently need to be on a 10-acre lot in certain zoning, but officials are considering reducing the lot requirement to 3 acres.

If people want to solve the problem with housing they have to change zoning,” said Tisbury Planning Board member Daniel Seidman.

Decreasing the 10-acre requirement would give developers looking to build multiple rental units on a single property a better deal, and the homes must still adhere to all other building requirements.”

All of the different ideas currently being discussed are an effort to make it easier for the island’s year-round residents.

Forty percent of year-round households in Chilmark have low to moderate income, according to a commission study. Of those homes, 42 percent spend more than half of their gross income on housing.

Think of a 27-year-old getting out of college,” Lent said.

They’re early career-starters … they’re already struggling with college debt. They can’t buy a house.

Kelly McCarron, a 25-year-old graduate of Suffolk University, is Lent’s niece. McCarron currently lives with her grandmother and for her, the tiny house idea provides more opportunity to build a sense of community.

I can see how it isn’t built for everyone, but for someone in their 20s it would be a wonderful alternative,” said McCarron.



A tiny home being transported on Martha’s Vineyard. Credit: Vineyard Gazette.

The Selectmen have been receptive to the idea and are continuing to look into it.

All of the towns now, including Chilmark, need to address affordable housing,” said Chilmark Selectman Jim Malkin.

I think it has a good chance of becoming a reality. I also hope that if the proposal becomes reality, that it doesn’t come with the connotation that people who live there are on the poor side of town and live on the other side of the tracks.

While some are on board with the idea, there are those who question it.

I’m a little skeptical about whether it’s a viable alternative,” said Selectman William Rossi.

Four-hundred-square feet would be kind of tight.

Chilmark currently allows for secondary dwellings on a single property, but there can only be one kitchen. This represents one of many potential zoning changes that would need to happen for Lent’s proposal to be practical.

While those challenges persist, Lent remains hopeful that her idea can help those year-round residents who need it most.

I think as a general idea it would be excellent for people to be able to do privately, but I sure wouldn’t want to open the door to scores of ‘tiny house parks’ on the Cape and Islands that just cater once again to the seasonal rental market,” said Lent.

We need these for year-round housing.


Click below or on the photo above for comparisons between tiny and manufactured homes.

(EDITOR’S NoteMHLivingNews has covered the “tiny home” movement extensively, including the potential for big legal trouble for owners and a detailed side-by-side comparison with manufactured homes, highlighting function and value versus fashion.)

(Image credits are as shown above.)


RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

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

Do You Uhü? New Modular Design Tackles Housing Challenges

February 7th, 2017 Comments off

Credit: LiveUhu.

In Boston, Massachusetts, as with many other cities around the world, housing demand is off the charts.

According to Progrss, the case in Boston has compelled the city, along with the Mayor’s Housing Innovation Lab, Livelight and BSA Space to commission the design of a modular micro house called the Uhü (Urban Housing Unit).



Pronounced “yoohoo”, the unit is a micro house prototype created to alleviate the issue of housing for singles and couples in urban areas.

Coming in at 385 square feet, the Uhü is divided into several areas, including a bedroom, hallway with storage, bathroom, living room/dining area, kitchen and balcony.

The stackable modular design can be shipped to virtually any location.

Maintaining a strong middle class is critical to ensuring that Boston continues to be a thriving, diverse city where people want to live and employers want to locate,” said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.


Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. Credit: Google.

No city in the United States has solved the middle income housing challenge yet; I want Boston to be the first.

In a city where singles and couples make up two-thirds of the population, Boston studio and one bedroom housing inventory currently only supports about 17 percent of this demographic, creating a huge need.

The Uhü is designed to support future modifications, including wheelchair access and accommodation for larger families. The units are also part of the city’s plan for proximity to transit lines, making it easier for residents to travel and forgo the use of automobiles.

After showcasing the unit in several locations around the city and getting feedback on it as a potential solution, Mayor Walsh appears confident.

He has called for 53,000 new housing units to meet demand. ##

(Image credits are as shown above.)


RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

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

State Under Pressure to Count Manufactured Homes as Affordable Housing

October 12th, 2016 Comments off

A Wareham, MA – vintage manufactured home community. Credit: Matthew Bernatt, Village Week.

A Massachusetts state law that has long allowed developers to bypass local regulations in communities where less that ten percent of the housing stock is considered to be affordable is back in the spotlight.

The issue has long troubled officials in the town of Wareham, because the state refuses to include manufactured homes in its definition of affordable housing.

According to the Wareham Week, for the second time in as many years, voters at an October 24th town meeting will be asked to petition state legislators to carve out an exception in Chapter 40B, a state housing law that was designed to boost the number of affordable units across the state by easing the permit process in cities and towns for housing projects.

The law states that if the number of affordable homes in a town is below the state’s threshold, which is 10 percent of total housing units, then developers may bypass some local zoning laws and build projects more densely than zoning bylaws normally allow.

Since 40B was enacted in 1969, the town of Wareham has never met that quota. The result has been the construction of 19 developments in town built under 40B that offer affordable housing options.


Wareham, MA shaded in red.

Expressing frustration with the issue, town selectmen drafted a petition that was passed at a 2015 town meeting and sent to the state legislature.

It was never voted on.

State lawmakers instead sent it to a committee for study, according to the Wareham Week. That action essentially killed the bill.


Selectman Alan Slavin. Credit: Facebook.

In theory, the petition should just go through the House and Senate without issue,” said Selectman Alan Slavin. “It got buried.” Slavin told the Wareham Week that the bill to be voted on this month is the same one that was approved at the 2015 town meeting.

The number of affordable homes in Wareham is currently 7.7 percent, according to a report by the Department of Housing and Community Development released in 2014.

With the exception, that number would climb to an estimated 11 percent, allowing Wareham to hold affordable housing developments to the same standards as any other project.

Wareham has struggled for years with the threat of 40B developers basically preying on the town because we have a lot of build-able land and we have good infrastructure,” said State Representative Susan Williams Gifford. Those are the things developers need and it’s made the town a prime target.


Modern manufactured home interior, credit Texas A&M, and MHLivingNews.

Gifford also said that designating “mobile homes” (sic) as affordable housing would provide town officials a greater say in Wareham’s future.


State Rep. Susan Williams Gifford. Credit:

The town has been playing a long-standing game of catch up to reach the 10 percent threshold.

As more homes are the built the town’s percentage of affordable housing essentially remains the same, even as affordable homes are added. Of the town’s 9,880 year-round housing units, 759 units are designated affordable.

When you add more housing units in town you’re never going to reach that percent of affordable housing stock,” said Gifford.

Every year since 2002, Gifford has filed the same bill with the legislature that would count mobile and manufactured homes as affordable under 40B.

And every year, it’s been ignored.

Gifford says that support from groups such as the Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA) is part of the reason the exception has been shot down.

I think there’s a misconception among people as to why there doesn’t seem to be an appetite to reform 40B,” said Gifford. “Lobbyists for large urban housing champions, specifically I’m referring to CHAPA…who don’t want to see any changes to 40B because they see it as weakening the law.

The change proposed for 40B wouldn’t alter how cities count affordable housing units, Gifford says that “mobile homes” (sic)  aren’t generally found in urban areas, but are prevalent in suburban ones such as Wareham.

To include mobile and manufactured homes in 40B has nothing to do with Boston, it has nothing to do with Lowell, it has nothing to do with Springfield,” said Gifford. “I believe these large housing conglomerates are the ones pushing the resistance to changes in the Chapter 40B law. ##

(Editor’s Note: To see Mary McBrady’s thoughts on MH and affordable housing related issues in Massachusetts, click here.)

(Image credits are as shown above.)


RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

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





Modular Homes Donated to Haitian Hospital

June 11th, 2015 Comments off

modular  credit  veterans housingMHProNews has learned a medical mission to the town of Milot, Haiti, 75 miles from the capital, Port-au-Prince, included an ambulance donated to Sacre Coeur Hospital by George Gilpin, CEO and President of EasCare Ambulance in Dorchester, Massachusetts. In addition, the hospital last month received four modular housing units courtesy of Brian Lesh, founder and CEO of Target Logistics of Boston.

Lesh’s firm provides turnkey workforce and event housing to remote and hostile work sites and festivities, spanning the globe from the sands of the Middle East Desert to the cold mining towns in Canada and the Olympics in Athens, Greece.

According to dotnews, Dr. Mark Pearlmutter, Vice President of Steward Healthcare in eastern Massachusetts, has made 16 trips to the hospital since the massive earthquake in January, 2010 that wiped out a large portion of the country. Each time he has brought staff and medical supplies to Sacre Coeur.

One of the things we want to focus on is high-risk pregnancies, and the hope is that these modular homes can be a maternal wait home adjacent to the hospital, so when the women go into labor they are right across the street from the hospital so they can have a controlled medical delivery as opposed to in their remote village,” said Pearlmutter. “If we can get these patients to move to the hospital in their last month of pregnancy, we can save a lot of lives.

(Image credit: gainesville–modular home)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News-NHProNews.

Modular Apartments Rise in Massachusetts

July 31st, 2013 Comments off

The skyline in Natick, Mass. just west of Boston is being altered by a three-story, 12-unit modular apartment building that will have a stucco siding. The 27 modules were manufactured in an Excel Homes facility in Pennsylvania, and will be assembled in three days, according to metrowestdailynews. The units have windows, heating systems and interior items already in place when the units are sited, and workmen will then make all the wiring and water connections. Developer Brendan Carr says modular construction compresses a typical one-year project into a couple of months. Tracey Daniels of the Modular Building Institute says modular building represents only 1.5 percent of the commercial construction industry, but expects significant increases over the next five to ten years, as MHProNews has learned.

(Photo credit: Art Illman/wicked local and daily news–modules being sited in Natick, Mass.)

Rent Control Passes Massachusetts House

July 31st, 2013 Comments off

Updating a story MHProNews last published Feb. 15, 2013 regarding a freeze on rents residents of Easton Mobile Home Park won in Easton, Mass. in 2005, and then lost in 2011 when the freeze expired, community residents may see a rent control bill passed in the Mass. legislature that they hope will roll back the increase. On July 29 House lawmakers passed House Bill 1106 which the 200 homeowner residents of Easton Mobile Home Park say will protect them from unfair rent hikes and evictions. The bill, which provides for a locally-appointed rent control board, now goes to the Senate. Meanwhile, the residents are negotiating with owner Morgan Management LLC to purchase the community and form a cooperative. According to enterprisenews, a 1993 law requires community owners to assist residents to move if the community closes.

(Photo credit: Greg Derr/patriotledger–Westwood Village Cooperative, Plymouth MA)