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Developers Turn to Modular in Housing Crisis

March 27th, 2017 Comments off
DevelopersTurntoModularinHousingCrisiscreditBatonRougeBusinessReport-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: Baton Rouge Business Report.

In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, two developers have turned to modular housing to ease the stress of finding housing.

According to the Baton Rouge Business Report, Jak Kunstler and Susannah Bing believe that modular homes in Baton Rouge could be a solution to a housing shortage in the city’s older neighborhoods.

We’re in a housing crisis,” says Bing, a former executive with the East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority.

Bing teamed up with Kunstler two years ago to launch Louisiana Purchase Real Estate and Development.

There are people moving to Baton Rouge who want the nightlife, restaurants and activity that are closer to downtown, yet there are very few houses that are available or in good condition and they are priced out of that market. We see this as a tool to provide new housing in older neighborhoods, whether that is market rate or affordable.

The recently completed home by Bing and Kunstler comes in at 1,256 square feet, and looks similar to the classic homes in the area that were built 70 to 80 years ago. Two similar houses are planned for adjacent lots.

I think there is a stigma about modular housing to a certain extent,said Bing.

Nobody really understands what a modular house is. Everybody thinks it’s some house trailer [sic]. It couldn’t be more different. We tweak the houses to make them more south Louisiana.

Bing and Kunstler say their business plan calls for infill development projects in neighborhoods where additional housing is needed, and they’re looking to acquire vacant lots or adjudicated properties from the city-parish and redevelop the sites with their modular homes.

As Daily Business News readers are already aware, manufactured housing has also been used more frequently in urban infill situations as a solution to affordable housing shortages. For an in-depth look into what’s happening around the country, click here. ##

 

(Image credits are as shown above.)

 

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

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

Update: Manufacturers Must Turn Over Documents in FEMA Case

March 23rd, 2017 Comments off
UpdateManufacturersMustTurnOverDocumentsinFEMACasecreditTheAdvocate-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

FEMA Units in Leo’s Manufactured Home Community, where Everett Wilson died. Credit: The Advocate.

In a follow up to a story the Daily Business News originally covered last month, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (HOGR), led by chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), has ordered two home manufacturers to turn over documents related to the Louisiana floods, as it investigates the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) response to the disaster.

According to The Advocate, Chaffetz said that the two companies — Lexington Homes Inc. and Scotbilt Homes, Inc. — provided many of the FEMA units after the floods, and had especially high rates of maintenance complaints.

A key component in the investigation is the death of 84-year-old Baton Rouge resident Everett Wilson, who died in his temporary FEMA home on October 25th from overheating.

When authorities inspected the (unit), they discovered temperatures over 137.5 degrees Fahrenheit with the air conditioning and heating control unit reading 50 degrees Fahrenheit,” wrote Chaffetz in his February letter.

CongressDemandsAnswersfromFEMAcreditOfficialPhoto-JasonChaffetzpostedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Rep. Jason Chaffetz. Official Photo.

In addition to the death of Wilson, the letter also points out other issues, including FEMA sending a housing unit to a dead person’s address, delivery of a housing unit to the wrong address, and temporary housing units that were unused and cost as much as $340,000.

The cap for assistance under federal law is $33,000.

FEMA failed to fix many of the problems discussed at a September, 2016, HOGR hearing, such as the agency’s poor communication and failure to properly distribute assistance funds to survivors,” wrote Chaffetz.

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Garret Graves. Credit: Google.

Congressman Garret Graves has also been an outspoken critic of the FEMA responses to the floods, citing slow and sloppy deployment of FEMA units.

It’s amazing the number of calls we still get every day — seven months after the flood — from people still in need of a trailer [sic] or looking for answers about why it’s taking so long for theirs to get delivered or wired,” said Graves.

Many of these people have homes that have literally been condemned, but FEMA won’t or ‘can’t’ authorize a trailer [sic] it’s ridiculous. The soup to nuts cost of the (manufactured housing unit) operation is exorbitant, and taxpayers aren’t getting their money’s worth.

Dale Gilliland, General Manager of ScotBilt, defended the company in its actions.

Ours were not connected to Wilson’s death, and we had not heard about any complaints until we received Rep. Chaffetz’s letter Tuesday,” said Gilliland.

We contacted FEMA and we were told the agency hasn’t yet fully investigated the complaints or possible defects with mobile homes [sic].”

In an interesting twist, Gilliland said that FEMA told him “the thought that ScotBilt’s quality is sub-par compared to other vendors is (an) unfair and possibly inaccurate assumption at this point.

FEMA would neither confirm nor deny this quote.

CongressDemandsAnswersfromFEMAcreditTimesPicayune3-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

A family looks at the remains of their home after the Louisiana floods. Credit: NOLA.

FEMA is complying with the oversight committee’s document requests,” said FEMA Deputy Director Eileen Lainez.

When asked if FEMA has made any changes to its programs in light of the floods, Lainez provided this response:

FEMA is always evaluating the effectiveness of our programs and taking steps to continuously improve coordination, to ensure that survivors affected by disasters are returned to homes that are safe, secure, and functional, as soon as possible,” said Lainez.

For Graves, disappointment in FEMA is still front and center.

These inefficiencies are more than frustrating — they’re wrong. They add insult to injury and re-victimize honest people whose lives have already been flipped upside down,” said Graves.

For more on FEMA, including former director Craig Fugate’s comments on what the next FEMA leader will need, click here. ##

 

(Image credits are as shown above.)

 

rcwilliams-writer75x75manufacturedhousingindustrymhpronews

RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

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