Archive

Archive for the ‘Finance’ Category

MHC Pro, Paul Bradley, Sounds-Off on New Loan Program for Manufactured Home Owners

October 11th, 2017 No comments

Hi Tony,

Great announcement, huh?  Here’s my take and on-the-record comments:

First, understand that MH in land lease communities in NH is titled as real estate.  Hence, a lender makes a mortgage loan even if they’re financing only the home. Such a mortgage does not include the land and does not disrupt the underlying commercial financing.

Second, Fannie Mae began approving ROCs in 2008 for home only mortgage financing.  Unfortunately, soon after, the PMI companies left the market (due to the recession and problems in the residential mortgage market broadly) so the program languished with just 10 ROCs and two local banks for nearly a decade.

Last week’s announcement brings new life to this program.  The NHHFA will empower its originating lenders to originate residential mortgage loans for homes in ROCs and in turn sell those mortgages to Fannie Mae.  This will make long-term, fixed rate residential loans available on homes in ROCs.  With PMI, borrowers can pull down 95% LTV loans.  It’s how the mortgage market works.

PaulBradleyDutyToServeDTSChattelLendingManufacturedHousingIndustryHomesFannieMaeFHFAIndustryVoicesMHProNews

Editor’s Note: Graphic above and the headline are provided by the publisher, as is common in media. You can download the original article that Paul Bradley is commenting on, from this link here. To learn more about ROC USA, click the graphic above.

Now, two things:

  1. This is the very construct that land lease owners could establish.  In fact, it’s what Freddie Mac went to market with in the mid-2000s with a leasehold loan product that required titling as real estate.  Several states created an “opt in” real estate titling law for MH to take advantage of the program.  And, since, the Uniform Law Commission passed an opt in titling law for states to adopt.  It’s all in waiting.

 

  1. Residential mortgage loans will carry longer terms and lower interest rates than chattel even if the GSEs enter the chattel market with pilots next year.  That’s because mortgage loans are going into existing and very large securities.  Chattel will have a different securitization path.

So, as I’ve said in several industry talks I’ve given on the subject, there are parallels to what we’re doing for industry players interested in providing long-term secure homeownership opportunities.

Further, if a community owner is interested in selling and seeing their legacy continued with innovation like this, they should consider a sale to the residents.  We can help with that and enroll these communities in forward looking, transformative work like this HFA and Fannie Mae financing program.

We’re building a national network on the principle of security for homeowners, and it’s working!  Work for you?

Thanks.

PaulBradleyROCUSA-postedMHProNews-com-75x91-

Paul Bradley
President, ROC USA

Award-Winning MHI Retailer Regarding HUD Objectives, Pam Danner, Needed Changes

March 8th, 2017 No comments

I can’t improve on what Mark Weiss [MHARR President and CEO] has indicated below:

DougGormanICantImproveOnWhatMarkWeissMHARRPresidentCEOHasSaidBelowManufacturedHousingIndustryVoices-MHProNews

Graphic above and the headline were provided by MHProNews, as is customary in publishing. The words in [brackets] were added for clarity, and the text submitted for publication is by the author, Doug Gorman. 

“While MHARR does not claim to speak for the entire industry, we have made it clear that after years of abuse by federal regulators acting contrary to the law and empowering entrenched revenue-driven contractors to target the industry, the new era of regulatory deconstruction being ushered-in by the Trump Administration offers a profound opportunity that must not be missed or squandered.  And while other segments of the industry – following their recent meeting – have not given any public indication of a change in course, direction or approach based on this new reality, MHARR has been on top of this critical matter since the November election, and has already put in place fundamental priorities and policies that I am happy to share with you and the rest of the industry as shown below:

  1. Elevate and include manufactured housing in all HUD (and other federal) housing and housing finance programs on the same terms as other types of housing;
  1. Immediately re-assign the current career HUD manufactured housing program administrator and appoint an appropriately-qualified non-career administrator in accordance with the 2000 reform law who would fully and properly implement that law and any and all regulatory policies and orders put in place by President Trump;
  1. Immediately prepare and issue a new Request for Proposals (RFP) for the HUD program monitoring contract which would provide for, encourage, and ensure full and fair competition for that position, eliminate all “make-work” programs and functions contained in the current contract consistent with Trump Administration regulatory policies and orders, and terminate the existing monitoring contract upon the identification and selection of a new contractor;
  1. Seek the immediate withdrawal of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) proposed manufactured housing energy rule pursuant to executive action by either the incoming DOE Secretary, the President, or other appropriate authority and, if necessary, seek a congressional resolution pursuant to the Congressional Review Act to reject any such rule if or when finalized; and
  1. Demand and ensure securitization and secondary market support for manufactured home chattel loans in a significant and timely manner by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, so that consumers are not needlessly either excluded from the housing market or unnecessarily forced into higher-cost loans within a less-than-fully-competitive consumer financing market.” ##

Addendum on 1:40 PM 3.10.2017, by Doug Gorman:

I would clarify that Mark Weiss’s language re Pam Danner was that she be reassigned. The original structure of the 21 member Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee  (MHCC) was to have a nonvoting 22nd member. That position was to be a non-career political appointee who would change most likely with each administration. That was the position that Bill Matchneer filled originally as a political appointee reporting to Gary Cunningham at one point. When Gary Cunningham left HUD Bill was promoted to Gary’s career position and the non-career position has never been filled since. Mark’s point was that HUD should structure the manufactured housing program as intended by the 2000 statute. ###

DougGormanHomeMartTulsaOKCreditManufacturedHousingIndustryVoicesCommentaryMHProNews125x125Industry Voices post submitted by Doug Gorman, Home-Mart, Tulsa, OK.  Other guest comments on this or other topics of general industry interest are encouraged and welcome.

 

 

 

(Editor’s Note 1:  Doug Gorman has won several MHI awards as a retailer, and was volunteered hundreds of hours on national issues, served on the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC), etc. Gorman is one of a few individuals who was asked by MHProNews for his thoughts on the needs to replace Pam Danner at HUD, and what MHI’s position on this issue ought to be.  The above was sent by Gorman in response to that inquiry, and was sent for publication.

Editor’s Note 2: There are several Industry Voices posts pending publication, we hope to get caught up in the next week or so.  Please continue to send your thoughts and comments – on or off the record – and be clear what is and is not for attributed publication.  Thank you for your patience.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

MHARR’s Mark Weiss Reaction to Jim Ayotte’s GSE’s Duty to Serve Commentary

January 24th, 2017 No comments

We at MHARR have the greatest respect for Jim Ayotte, but his recent commentary on the final Duty to Serve (DTS) rule issued by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is far too charitable.

It’s one thing to see the proverbial glass as half full versus half empty.  It’s another to accept a few droplets as half a glass.

And that is what consumers and the industry have gotten from FHFA – a few drops at the bottom of the glass, window dressing that is not likely to lead anywhere soon, despite the urgent need now for affordable and competitive chattel-based consumer financing for manufactured homes.

If Congress had meant the “duty to serve” to be optional, it would not have called it a “duty.”  The dictionary definition of a “duty” has – at its core – a mandatory responsibility.  And Congress is presumed to use words according to their ordinary and customary meaning. But nothing in the FHFA rule would require Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac to do anything to support MH chattel loans – not even a “pilot program” (more about that in a moment).  So the “duty” instituted by FHFA is not really a “duty” at all, but a choice left to entities that have steadfastly refused to provide secondary market support for MH chattel loans – which prompted the “duty to serve” in the first place.

DutyToServeManufacturedHousingMMarkWeissJDPresidentMHARR-MHProNews-

If all this sounds familiar, it should. It mimics HUD’s “interpretation” of its statutory “responsibility” to appoint a non-career administrator for the federal manufactured housing program as “not mandatory” even though Webster’s says it is.  But HUD (and maybe now FHFA) has gotten away with it because much of the industry plays along.

It’s hard to see, then, how a non-duty which leaves Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac free to ignore the 80% of the manufactured housing market represented by chattel placements (not 70% as reported elsewhere) lives up to the directive of Congress.

While it’s true that FHFA’s final rule leaves the door open just a crack for chattel, rather than slamming it shut as it did in its proposed rules, what does this really do for consumers and an industry that needs competitively-priced and readily-available chattel financing in order to reach its full potential?

DTS was enacted by Congress nine years ago. If either FHFA or the Enterprises were really interested in MH chattel financing, there has been plenty of time to do the groundwork and obtain the necessary loan performance information.  There has even been time for a “pilot program” or two over the last decade.  No, instead, we’re supposed to take it slow, with a non-duty “duty,” while consumers are needlessly herded into higher-cost loans, paying more than they would in a truly competitive financing market not distorted by official discrimination that would be unacceptable in any other context.

With nine years already gone, how much longer will consumers have to wait for the industry to demand full financing parity with other types of housing?  Washington, D.C. is traditionally a graveyard for all kinds of “pilot programs” started with the best of intentions.  Given a “duty” by Congress, the burden is not – and should not – be on the industry and consumers to prove their worthiness. The burden should be on FHFA and the Enterprises to show why they are not complying with the will and word of Congress now. ##

MMarkWeissCEO-MHARR-ManufacturedHousingAssociationforRegulatoryReform-posted-IndustryVoices-MHProNews

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

(The graphic above and the headline are provided by the editor, as is customary with many publishers. The content expresses the views of the writer.)

FHFA Issues Final Rule on Duty to Serve GSEs Will Receive Credit for Chattel Loans

December 20th, 2016 No comments

On December 13, 2016, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) issued a final rule to implement the “Duty to Serve” (DTS) requirements.  The statute requires Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the GSEs) to provide leadership to facilitate a secondary market for mortgages on housing for very low-, low-, and moderate income families in three underserved markets.  The underserved markets include: manufactured housing, affordable housing preservation and rural housing.

By way of background, the FHFA issued a proposed rule on December 15, 2015.  The proposed rule provided that Duty to Serve credit would be given to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for financing manufactured homes titled as real property, but not manufactured homes titled as chattel.  The agency’s rationale was that real estate loans perform better and have lower default rates than chattel loans.  In anticipation of a firestorm of criticism, the agency invited public comment on whether the final rule should authorize Duty to Serve credit for the purchase of chattel loans.

The industry jumped on this opportunity and submitted over 3,100 comment letters to the FHFA.  Shortly after the issuance of the proposed rule, industry representatives and the GSEs began meeting on an ongoing basis.  Some of the meetings were with organized groups, like the MHI Duty to Serve Task Force, while others were one-on-one with industry stakeholders, including: lenders, community owners and consumer advocates.  From all indications, these meetings were productive and the GSEs gained a better understanding and appreciation for the chattel manufactured housing market.

JamesJimAyotteFloridaManufacturedHousingAssoc-postedIndustryVoices-GSE'sMHProNews-

A variety of viewpoints has been presented on this FHFA final rule topic, some of them, are found from the article linked here.  Other perspectives are welcome.  The full MHARR commentary Jim referenced is linked here.

The final rule provides Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with Duty to Serve credit for purchasing chattel manufactured housing loans, but does not mandate them to do so.  Whether the final rule is positive or negative for the industry depends on which national industry trade group you listen to.   MHI’s take on the final rule is that it is a step in the right direction.  MHARR believes that because the FHFA did not mandate the GSEs to make chattel loans that it is highly unlikely that any chattel loans will be made.

The truth of the matter is that the industry is closer to getting a viable secondary market program for chattel manufactured home loans than it has been in nearly two decades.  While the industry would have preferred the FHFA to mandate the GSEs to make chattel loans, this was not going to happen.  However, over the past year the GSEs have demonstrated a genuine interest in understanding chattel manufactured housing financing as it exists today, not as it performed in the late 90’s.  If the industry continues to meet with the GSE’s, shares industry operating and loss data, and provides suggestions for properly structuring a chattel loan program, including a flexible approach to loss mitigation, the GSEs will ultimately initiate a secondary market program for chattel manufactured housing loans.  This will not happen overnight and the program will start small, possibly as a “pilot”.  Over time, the program will expand based on the good loan performance of chattel manufactured home loans. ##

jimayottefloridamanufacturedhousingassociationfmha-industryvoices-manufacturedhousingindustrycommentary-mhpronewsJames R. Ayotte, CAE
Executive Director
Florida Manufactured Housing Association
1284 Timberlane Road
Tallahassee, FL  32312

Paul Bradley on the Pending FHFA Final Duty to Serve Rule

December 12th, 2016 No comments

This and Leslie Gooch’s article both push for a chattel pilot in Land Lease Communities; ROC USA is right with them!  Like Gooch, I see the fundamental issue coming down to what we can work out with the GSEs relative to, as she wrote, “reasonable standards for land leases in conjunction with such homes.

We have Fannie Mae financing homes in some of our communities already, but it’s too limited.  We want a chattel pilot and standard land lease so we can scale.  It should reassure skeptics that home-only loans by the GSEs have worked in Land Lease Communities.  We need DTS to get together as a larger market opportunity for the GSEs.

I am surprised that the Community Bankers’ Association (ICBA) would come out against GSE chattel product – from the many community bankers I’ve talked to over the years, the local bankers want a secondary market for chattel.

One of the concerns that lenders often express about manufactured home loans in Land Lease Communities is that homes there lose value.  But that is not a given.  I can point to examples in Land Lease Communities where homes are appreciating.  

ConcernLendersHaveManufacturedHomesLoansLoseValueExamplesHomesAppreciatingPaulBradleyROCUSA-IndustryVoicesManufacturedHousingIndustryVoicesMHProNews

In fact, the two unique elements of this sector – relatively more expensive chattel products and land lease – can be resolved by the GSEs; they could make this market no different than the conventional residential markets where supply, demand, location and upkeep influence house price performance.  The GSEs, with the right lease terms to secure their and homeowners’ interests, could help fix the problem that causes some manufactured homes to lose value. ##

Paul Bradley
President
ROC USA

(Editor’s Note: The National Mortgage News article Paul Bradley is commenting on is linked as a download, here. For an interview with manufactured home owner – Kim Capen, who likewise points to appreciation of manufactured homes in his community – click here.)

Don Glisson Jr. – CEO of Triad Financial Services – on Dr. Ben Carson for HUD Secretary

December 12th, 2016 No comments

We at Triad Financial Services are hopeful that President-elect Trump and soon-to-be HUD Secretary, Dr. Ben Carson, are committed to sensible regulation for manufactured housing and home lending.

As the leading independent lender in the manufactured housing industry, we have seen many regulatory challenges during our 50+ years of serving manufactured home buyers. We are very proud of our extremely low customer complaint rate, and have always had a robust compliance program.

We have always played by the rules and taken a conservative approach – which is one reason we have survived for so many years – along with having a stellar regulatory track-record.

Against that backdrop, the past 8 years have brought us regulations that have burdened our company and increased the cost of lending to our borrowers who can least afford it. We cannot see how many of these new rules and regulations are doing anything to protect the borrowers.

We are NOT in favor of “no regulation,” as we have seen the results of irresponsible lending in the past.

But regulatory overreach has driven several fine lenders – U.S. Bank for example – out of this industry, which means the consumer has FEWER choices.

Inflexible and line-in-the-sand regulations – like the 43% maximum debt ratio that applies to Ability-to-Repay (ATR) – don’t take into account, for example, that a person making $10,000 per month can afford a 45% debt ratio – due to disposable income – while a person making $2,500 per month cannot.

DonGlissonJrTriadFinancialServices-quoteFinanceRegulationsNotLogicalExample-MHProNews-

Is it fair that someone with a 42.9% debt ratio is approved for a loan, but someone with a 43.1% debt ratio is denied?

What about considering where the potential borrower lives? A person in Florida pays no state income tax, but a resident of California pays state taxes as high as 12%.

Again, we are all for sensible regulation and would loathe a “Wild West” marketplace where lenders can run roughshod and take advantage of the consumer.

But regulations that do nothing to protect the consumer and erect hard-and-fast rules – with no room for making exceptions – have harmed and will continue to harm this industry, home owners and potential buyers.

As the CEO of the largest independent finance company in our industry, I look forward to working with Secretary Carson and his staff to help them understand the unique challenges that lenders and borrowers face today. ##

Don Glisson, Jr.,
CEO, Triad Financial Services, Inc.
Past Chairman of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).

(Editor’s Note: Parts of this commentary by Don Glisson Jr. are found in an examination of the controversy of Dr. Ben Carson being named by President-elect Donald J. Trump for the role of HUD Secretary; to see that article, click here.)

BenCarsonControversialPickHUDSecretaryManufacturedHousingCommentaryMHProNews

Problems with Quote from Richard Jennison, MHI’s CEO in StatePoint Advertorials

September 16th, 2016 No comments

As usual, I have been perusing the media sites, informational resources and doing online searches on news regarding Manufactured and Modular Housing.

In doing, so I have come across articles supported by the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) that have taken me aback.  These articles include quotes from MHI CEO Richard Jennison.  I couldn’t help but to reread these articles several times, as I couldn’t believe what I was reading would get published by a national association like MHI.

One would think the legal eyes would be on these advertorials published via StatePoint.  They need eyes like hawks on a field mouse to verify and validate appropriate and accurate content regarding quotes and implications.  When promotional articles are wordsmithed correctly, they protect the association and its membership from potential individual or class action suits.

As a specific example, MHI CEO Richard Jennison declared boldly that HUD Code manufactured homes placed in land lease communities appreciate just like site built homes.

Quoting from one of those MHI-Jennison (StatePoint) article, Furthermore, they (referring to HUD Code manufactured homes in a land lease community) appreciate in value, just like site built homes.”

Umm, are you kidding me?

I was blown back by this comment from countless perspectives.  The first of which is NEVER violate the second GOLDEN RULE of real estate.

Real Estate Brokers and Agents are taught the second GOLDEN RULE of real estate in Real Estate 101, that after Location, Location, Location, you never, NEVER, EVER discuss or guarantee future value of a property.  Having taught real estate 101 and 301 at the community college level – often instructing those holding a real estate license – I assure you my information is accurate.

Guaranteeing appreciation is a quick, sure way of opening yourself up to a gigantic law suit that can bury you and your firm; or in this case, an association making such a problematic assertion.

For the CEO of a national association to put that in writing is appalling. Especially so, after they spent time convincing the GSEs to use Blue Book valuation in early 2016 when assessing or appraising MH in an MHC!

guaranteeingappreciationmanufacturedhometitusdarepostedindustryvoicesmhpronews

Quote from Titus Dare – graphic credit, by MHProNews.

Now the article with Jennison’s comment was presumably released from the highest level of MHI.

Where’s the disconnect?  Who approved this?  Were any of the legal eagles reading this carefully to see the potential for future legal issues for both the association and just about everyone associated with making a sale to a consumer placing their new home in an MHC?

If just one person relies on that Richard Jennison statement and buys a manufactured home, sites it in an MHC, and loses money or doesn’t feel their appreciation rate matches that of their brick and mortar friend who owns a home in the same zip code, what do you think that consumer is going to do?

They are going to hit the internet after work and research their subject material, to determine why they were told their appreciation would be the same – and then they may well run across resources that tell them why there home is not gaining value as they were led to believe.  They are going to put the pieces together. That can lead to major problems for many in the MH industry.

They may even call MHI, their state association or…their attorney.

That consumer is going to learn that MH home prices are determined by Blue Book values, as MHI pushed to have that implemented in discussions with the GSEs. Anybody, even the least sophisticated consumer, knows from their car buying and selling experience that Blue Book values are based on depreciation.

There are so many factors that go into appreciation and depreciation, as real estate and many MH industry professionals know. There is the local and national economy. Location, including the impact of factors like the school district.

How about the quality level of the subject manufactured home, and how it is being care for – or not – by its owner? How about the foundation and installation system under the home? How is the community managed and maintained?

But all those facts and qualifiers about manufactured – or other homes – is missing in this highly irregular line, again, quoting Jennison – “Furthermore, they appreciate in value, just like site built homes.”

Where are Jennison’s and MHI’s qualifiers for all of these issues in that StatePoint advertorial, and so many more that are needed?

Before writing this column, I sent the link to that MHI/StatePoint article to some legal minds, and asked them for their input on manufactured home appreciation being automatic in a land lease community.

The return calls included a voice laughing on the other end, asking me to please distribute their business cards to those consumers who had bought homes under the pretense of the comment made by the CEO of the national association.

This advertorial approach was a mix of good, bad, inaccurate and deceptive marketing on behalf of a national manufactured housing association. I’ve focused on the bad, because that is where the problems will come from.

You would never see the NAHB or another national trade associations blurt out such problematic nonsense. ##

(Editor’s Note: headline was provided by MHProNews. This column nor the cover message directly referenced the Masthead column linked here, but it is on the same topic.)

titusdareeagleonefinancialposteddailybusinessnews-mhpronewsTitus T. Dare
SVP – Real Estate Development & Construction
Eagle One Financial

 

HUD Code Manufactured Housing, “The Discrimination Code”

August 25th, 2016 No comments

Tony, you are so right on the HUD Code has become a deadly “discrimination code,” especially as it applies to manufactured home financing.

But it doesn’t end there.

Recent stories here and elsewhere have chronicled the inability to site a manufactured home in certain areas, where MODs pass, but HUDs fail, in spite of the fact the exterior and interior may be indistinguishable.

MartyLavinHUDCodeDeadlyDiscriminationCode-IndustryVoicesMHProNews

Methinks we may have to face how much we want to continue to allow the “Scarlet Code” to continue to damage our brand. ##

(Editor’s note: Marty’s comments are in reference to a Daily Business News article on zoning and connected challenges, linked here, and related commentary, linked here. For an indepth video interview with award-winning MH finance pro and community owner, Marty Lavin, click here.)

marty-lavin-posted-on-mhpronewsMARTIN (Marty) LAVIN
att’y, consultant, expert witness
350 Main Street
BURLINGTON, VT 05401
802.238.7777
only in factory built housing

MH Industry Pro – and Self-Professed “Non-Writer” – Exonerates MHI staffers?

August 9th, 2016 No comments

I have known the executives that have managed MHI from Jerry Connors to Dick Jennison and they have all done a great job in different ways but they have also been criticized throughout their tenures.  It is a difficult task uniting and working with all segments of the MH industry which have so many individualists.

MHI has been and is the only national MH association sustaining MH financing divisions. MH money institution masterminds are allowed to join, serve, speak and run for seats on the board.

BarryCole-MHIS-RVMHHallofFame-DifficultTaskUnitingWorkingAllSegmentsMHIndustrySoManyIndividualsists-postedIndustryVoicesMHProNews-

It is a democracy that allows MHI management to hear from the best of our financial leaders.

So when I hear that MHI execs are failing their mission, it appears unwarranted, as they get all of their financial leadership and information from an accord of the best Pros in MH Finance.

We have had many MH lenders who have come and gone – from Security Pacific, All Valley Acceptance, GreenTree, Washington Mutual, Bombardier, Chase and Origen to mention a few – and MHI continues to be the go-to group to join, because they are the most knowledgeable, trustworthy and the hardest working national MH association.

It is stated that MHI is controlled by a few companies which make up 70% of the MH business, but thank God that they and other smaller companies are doing business as we need them all.

MHI execs and staff are allowed to make mistakes, as (do) you and I, but they should be markedly thanked for enduring negatives from naysayers and thus continue on with doing their capable work.  ##

barry-cole-rv-mh-hall-of-fame-manufactured-home-insurance-services-mhisBarry Cole
MHIS.info
2016 RVMH Hall of Fame Spirit Award Winner

Editor’s Notes: Click here see A Cup (err…glass) of Beer with…Barry Cole.

Barry – a respected industry colleague and a gentleman whom I consider an industry friend, is writing in response to critiques here on MHProNews, see the example story linked here.  For what its worth, from my perspective, Barry is modest as well as gentle, humorous and writes quite well indeed.

Other perspectives are welcome on this or other related industry topics. Does Barry refute the points made in the link above, or is this Op-Ed from him more of a feel-good for his supporters in Arlington, VA?

We Provide, You Decide.” ©

Not Enough Hunger

July 7th, 2016 2 comments

marty-lavin-posted-on-mhpronewsI was born in a small mountain village in the north of Spain in 1943, so I do not remember the horrific Spanish Civil War of 1936-39 when over one million Spaniards died. But as I grew up, the family conversation frequently focused on the savagery and depravations of that era. I had missed nothing good.

In March 1949 we loaded a cattle cart with our few belongings, drove to the train station and via TWA flew from Madrid to Lisbon, to the Azores, to Gander, Newfoundland, with touchdown in NYCity. We arrived on my sixth birthday. My mother having been born in the US during her parent’s short visit here allowed us to leapfrog the thousands waiting for the very restricted immigration quota from Spain to the US, only 320 persons per year with thousands waiting. We would never have arrived.

I’m not sure my young parents knew what to expect in the States, but we knew we had just left a tyrannical country with bandleader Generalissimo Francisco Franco in charge of torture and death. Spain was then a country of intense hunger, and back-breaking work, full time work for both my parents by age 12. We did know we were now in the US, then and now the greatest country in the world.

Like so many immigrants my parents went to work at menial jobs, moved on to better over time, bought a car, bought a house, and eventually, with hard work and frugality the American dream arrived at the Lavin’s door step. What a country!

All during those days and into college age for me we lived in a $12 a month apartment in back of a creamery in downtown. We never felt poor, we were well fed, clothed, housed and happy. If you needed to heat the water over the stove to bathe, so what. In Spain we had no running water at all in the house, one had to go to the spring to get it, daily.

Illness interrupted the dream for my mother, as at age 35 she came down with cancer. Two years later she succumbed to that horrible disease and her dreams ended, but not those of her family.

I was very close to my mother, listened to what she said, as she was very intelligent, persistent and directed, mostly no-nonsense. That she sat in a school classroom for only three months of her life failed to diminish her smarts. She had them in spades with enormous drive. And she was observant.

One would think that if both parents are working long hours at low pay, there would be disappointments. Nothing could be further from the truth. From the moment they arrived they were taken in by the US, its people, the wonderful, safe life here, and the ability to live well and prosper through hard work.

As a six and seven year old one sees and hears things he remembers for the rest of his life. I remember well the oohing and awing at the wonderful and plentiful white bread they found here. After eating nothing but hard, nasty, black bread without taste, something as simple as white bread was a revelation.

One day my mom came home from her dish washing job in a bit of a huff. I asked her about her problem and what was bothering her. Turned out she was angry at some of her co-workers at the restaurant kitchen. For some reason I do not remember, they had rebelled at some minor occurrence, leading to what she felt was an unnecessary and unreasonable confrontation with the owner, which upset her greatly. She said the employees were wrong and that the owners were caring people who never asked employees to do anything they wouldn’t do.

Then came one of those jewels of thought that carries with you all of your life, a thought that you see constantly repeated. With a strained matter-of-factness she said, “This is an incredible country, none can be better, we are very lucky to be here, pero aqui no hay bastante hambre (but there is not enough hunger here).

I knew exactly what she meant even at my young age.

When you are truly hungry day after day, never with a full stomach, it does something to you.

MartyLavinNotEnoughHungerManufacturedHousingIndustryVoicesDailyBusinessNews

For years my folks spoke of food depravation they had suffered and the abundance they found here. It puzzled them that Americans often seemed so little driven to keep a job or strive for excellence, as they well knew the struggle life can be. Why would some Americans not strive for best?

In time their food hunger was replaced by car hunger, house hunger, better life hunger, rural land hunger, vacations and all the same things most Americans sought then (1950s). We got them all.

But the food hunger was never forgotten, never entirely vanished. In the Spanish culture of the time, food hunger was omnipresent, it drove one to work to eat.

How prescient was Rafaela Camelo Lavin all those years ago to see the waning of American hunger for better which had just won a First World War, survived a Great Depression, won an even worse Second World War, and was now in the throes of the great post-war affluence.

Even then she worried there was not enough hunger in Americans. Where the country has gone since her death in 1957 seems at this point an unfinished story, but I know just as Chief Joseph shed tears over litter years ago, Rafaela would be shedding tears over people who can work but live without working. She would wonder why we would do that to people when she knows work stems hunger, all hunger.

Industry hunger

Now as an industry we have been on a “home hunger” for 15 years. Hunger usually drives one to make changes to relieve or abate the hunger.

Are we baking a larger industry pie to eat better, or cutting the one we have into ever smaller pieces?

MartyLavinJDExpertWitnessTataroAwardWinner-NotEnoughHunger-IndustryVoicesMHProNews-

Graphic by MHProNews.

Is hunger driving us to do the right things, the hard things, or like in the Spanish Civil war, will our industry winners be slightly less destroyed than the losers, just a very few lucky ones relieving their hunger?

The country seems headed to perdition, our habit of letting people eat, be housed and live normal lives without working destroys hunger and the need to behave properly in order to stem hunger. HUDVille, like the country, seems to miss the need to stem hunger.

Will this be the final step my mother saw those many years ago when she says, “Este es un gran pais y industria, pero no hay bastante hambre.

Rest in peace, my loving Rafaela. ##

marty-lavin-posted-on-mhpronewsby Martin V. Lavin

 

 

 

(Editor’s note: Marty Lavin is arguably one of the most successful people in our MH Industry. Totaro Award winner, with extensive, successful experience in MH Lending, MH Retail and MH Communities, he’s a person of deep, caring thoughts and often penetrating insights.)