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“Trailer Park Boys” Al Kemp, Canadian Manufactured Home Community Association, Reacts to Netflix Series

December 20th, 2018 No comments

Hi Tony, 

The short answer is that – at least in Canada – “trailer park” connotes exactly the type of persons portrayed in Trailer Park Boys.  This is a long-standing stereotype that was perhaps somewhat relevant 25 or more years ago.   

Today, manufactured home communities – our preferred term, and one more common in the USA than in Canada – are the antithesis of what “TPBoys” represents.  Are there still a few that fit the stereotype?  Yes, just as there a few run-down apartment buildings whose owners only care about receiving rent.

In Canada, manufactured homes must be built to a federal building code standard – Z240.  They are 2 x 4 or 2 x 6 construction, fully insulated with strong frames and roofs and sheetrock walls – the same as a fixed building.  A new home can sell for $150,000 to $300,000 CAD.  Compare this with the price of a similar sized fixed building: in the million-dollar range in Toronto and Vancouver; half a million plus almost anywhere else.

TrailerParkBoysCommentaryAlKempExecutiveDirectorManufacturedHomeParkOwnersAllianceBritishColumbiaDailyBusienssNewsMHProNews

The headline and this illustration are by MHProNews, which are customarily provided by the editor. The commentary is by Al Kemp, of the Canadian trade association as shown. Words in brackets are to clarify the meaning, and were supplied by MHProNews.  Editor’s note – Al’s “TPBoys” is a clever turn of a phrase! 

 

More important are the residents.  Typically, manufactured home community residents in Canada own their homes and have lived in the community for 10 to 30 years.  They aren’t drug dealers or [drug] producers; they aren’t partyers or uncontrolled alcoholics; they don’t get into fist fights, or do anything else that would make for an “interesting??” TV show.  Also, more and more young couples and families are moving in to manufactured home communities. recognizing them as an affordable housing alternative to renting an apartment, and because home ownership is otherwise out of their reach.

We say “communities” intentionally.  An apartment dweller, whether in an owned condo or a rental unit, might know one or two others, often just to say hello in the elevator. Because of the structure of manufactured home communities, and the tenure of residents, everyone not only knows most everyone else, they look out for each other, take care of a neighbour’s home while they go to Arizona for the winter.  The community has barbeques and pot luck dinners, bingo nights and garage sales. 

Pretty well everything I’ve described above wouldn’t play well on TPBoys!

The harmful aspect of the show was that it reinforced the negative stereotype that most politicians hold of our industry.  I once spoke to the Mayor of a small town in northern BC [British Columbia] and asked him how many communities there were in the area.  He replied, “Three, and I’d like to get rid of all four of them!”  Two of the three were members of our association, and I know they abided by our code of ethics, provided much needed housing (and property taxes) in the area, etc.

Our industry in Canada faces the ongoing challenge of a demand for more communities against a political resistance to their development.  We did a survey of our members earlier this year; the average vacancy rate was one site for every two communities.

What we need – and it would never attract sponsors – is a show called, “Manufactured Home Communities – the Ignored Affordable Housing Alternative.”

We will be launching a separate web site shortly, the content of which will be targeted at the 25 – 45 generation; ready to buy a home, but needing thousands more to do so.  It will contain stories from community residents, descriptions of homes, manufacturing processes, etc.  I’d be happy to send you the link once it is up and running early next year. ##

 

AlKempManufacturedHomeParkOwnersAllianceBritishColumbiaIndustryVoicesMHProNewsAl Kemp

Executive Director

Manufactured Home Park Owners Alliance of British Columbia (BC)

250-213-2627

The Long, Long Trailer, Keith Olbermann’s ‘Trailer Park Trash’ – Frank Rolfe, Mobile Home University, Response

April 24th, 2017 No comments

It is amazing to me that any media person can stereotype millions of Americans without being worried about their career being at stake.

In today’s politically correct world, why is it acceptable to use such a derogatory term as trailer park trash?

Newscasters and journalists are losing their careers over the use of every other insulting slang term  — however minor — simply from special interest groups threatening to boycott the advertisers. So why is “trailer trash” the one insulting term in the U.S. that you can use without any fear of reprisal? Is it because the average American feels it’s true, thanks to the consistent negative portrayal of the industry in the media?

Not too long ago, the reverse was true. “The Long, Long Trailer” starring Lucille Ball was a big film in 1953. Elvis lived in a “trailer park” in the films “It Happened at the World’s Fair” in 1963 and “Speedway” in 1968. Back then, the media portrayed “trailer park trash” as wearing tuxedos and driving sports cars — a 180 degree difference.

So why did they change their tune?

I think that education is the solution. Those in the industry know that there are some terrible properties out there, but they are a tiny fringe group of the 44,000 communities in the U.S. The average manufactured home community resembles a traditional subdivision — sometimes nicer than the surrounding subdivisions. We can only change the “trailer park trash” stereotype by convincing the general public that the term is unfair and offensive and not a statement of fact. That would generate a grassroots movement to protest the term aggressively and that, in turn, would scare the media away from ever using it again. If any journalist who uttered the phrase “trailer park trash” immediately lost their job, then it would disappear overnight.

So how do you educate the public about what our residents are really like? One method would be to fire off a barrage of articles — backed up by facts — on why the term has no place in a modern America; tied, via Google, to every article in which the negative terms are used.

Another would be to talk openly and honestly to the media and let them walk properties and talk to residents and break down their perceptions.

Finally — and this would be very expensive — to do a proactive public relations campaign that is clever and effective.

Am I offended by the term “trailer park trash” in the media recently? Certainly. I’m also disappointed and amazed. But I think it also serves as a wake-up call that our industry has a huge amount of work to do. When these negative terms disappear forever, then we will have done our job and elevated the industry to the next level.  ##

FrankRolfeRVHorizonsMobileHomeUnivtKeithOlbermannTrailerParkTrashRemarkIndustryVoicesManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

The headline and this graphic are produced and provided by MHProNews, a common practice among many in media to illustrate opinion or letters to the editor columns.

FrankRolfeRVHorizonsMHUnivPostedINdustryVoicesManufacturedHomeIndustryCommentaryMHProNewsFrank Rolfe
RV Horizons and Mobile Home University

(Editor’s Note 1: Rolfe’s comments are made with respect to a tweet by Keith Olbermann, published in an article on Washington, D.C.’s ‘The Hill,” see link here, or at the top, above.

Note 2: MHProNews contacted several top people at the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), as well as their media contact, to give them an opportunity to share a comment or respond. As of this time, more than 48 hours later, they have not done so.)

“Absolute Disgrace!” MH Industry Association Leader Reacts to Keith Olbermann’s “Trailer Park Trash” Tweet, Reported on The Hill

April 24th, 2017 No comments

It’s an absolute disgrace that this pejorative somehow remains ‘socially acceptable’ among the politically correct elite and their mouthpieces.

People like Olbermann, who routinely slam others over alleged “micro-aggressions” and other fabricated nonsense, would do well to show proper and decent respect for the millions of hard-working Americans who are able to own a home of their own because of the unequalled affordability of manufactured homes located either in — or outside of — manufactured home communities.

MMarkWeissManufacturedHousingAssociationForRegulatoryReformMHARRPostedIndustryVoicesMHProNews

The headline and this graphic are produced and provided by MHProNews, a common practice among some in media to illustrate opinion or ‘letters to the editor’ columns.

They, and a lot of other Americans living in the heartland of the country, deserve better than this type of arrogant slander. ##

MMarkWeissCEO-MHARR-ManufacturedHousingAssociationforRegulatoryReform-posted-IndustryVoices-MHProNewsMark Weiss
President & CEO
Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR)
1331 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Suite 512
Washington, D.C. 20004
Phone: 202/783-4087
Fax: 202/783-4075
Email: MHARRDG@AOL.COM

(Editor’s Note 1: Weiss’ comments are made with respect to a tweet by Keith Olbermann, published in an article on Washington, D.C.’s ‘The Hill,” see link here, or at the top, above.

Note 2: MHProNews contacted several top people at the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), as well as their media contact, to give them an opportunity to share a comment or respond. As of this time, As of this time, more than 48 hours later, they have not done so.)

“Intolerant!” – Community Owner Reacts to Keith Olbermann’s “Trailer Park Trash” tweet, reported on The Hill

April 24th, 2017 No comments

It was an intolerant remark in so many ways.

There are millions of good, honorable, hard-working folks who choose the affordable option of living in a mobile home.

MariBlaquiereHighlandMobileParkStPetersburgFLAboutKeithOlbermannTrailerParkTrashRemark

The headline and this graphic are produced and provided by MHProNews, a common practice among many in media to illustrate opinion or letters to the editor columns.

I don’t know why the Leftist media, and the Left in general, have no obligation to be inclusive or tolerant or accurate. Their driveling commentary just makes me tired.

MariBlaquiereHighlandMobileParkStPetersburgFLMari Blaquiere
Co-Owner Highland Mobile Park
St Petersburg, FL

(Editor’s Note: Blaquiere’s comments are made with respect to a tweet by Keith Olbermann, published in an article on Washington, D.C.’s ‘The Hill,” see link here, or at the top, above.)

“Hypocrisy!” Keith Olbermann Crossed-the-Line with Misguided “Trailer Park Trash” Comments

April 23rd, 2017 No comments

Wow!! Keith Olbermann should be careful. I’m sure he knows that God humbles the proud, and gives grace to the poor.

KeithOlbmermanPerfectExampleHypocrisyFromLeftDemandPoliticalCorrectnessThenJudgeOthersReservedGodToddLambInvestmentsPostedIIndustryVoicesMHProNews

Headlines and these graphic are provided by MHProNews, as is customary with many in media.

This is a perfect example of the hypocrisy from the left. They demand and cry for ‘political correctness’ from the GOP and Christians, but then turn around and place themselves in the judgement seat (which should be reserved for God alone – Duet 32:35) by using the term “Trailer Park Trash.”

Some of the most joy-filled, hard-working and good people that I have had the privilege to know live in Manufactured Home Communities. I’m sure they would not appreciate his terminology, or Olbermann’s judgement on two Rockers and Sarah Palin.

It really is shocking to see the left-wingers squirm when they are not in power. A reminder to all Conservatives: “Pray for Donald Trump, the President is under constant attack.” ##

(Editor’s Note: The above is in response to the article on The Hill about the tweeted comment by Keith Olbermann, see link here.)

ToddGLambLambInvestments1postedIndustryVoices_ManufacturedHomeCommunities-MHIndustry-MHProNews200x200Todd Lamb
Lamb Investments

UMH Properties’ Sam Landy Reacts to Call to Defund National Public Radio (NPR)

February 18th, 2017 No comments

NPR and UMH both care deeply about people.

UMH has operated manufactured home communities since 1969. We believe enforcement of our rules and regulations is best for the majority of the people who live in our community.

NPR is reminding us that we must exercise our authority with compassion. We welcome outside oversight and criticism as it allows us to objectively evaluate our actions.

As with many op-ed or letters to the editor, the headline and graphics are provided by the publisher, but the thoughts and words published are those of the writer. Other Industry Voices perspectives are welcomed on this or other relevant topics.

We believe in each case covered here, we in fact did the right thing for our residents. and that we did it in a compassionate manner.

We welcome NPR’s follow up.

samlandy-umh-ceopresidentjd_credit-linkedi-posted-industryvoicesmanufacturedhousingindustrypronews-mhpronewsSam Landy, JD
President and CEO
UMH Properties

(Editor’s notes: Mr. Landy’s Industry Voices guest comment came in response to the commentary on the Daily Signal, linked here, calling for NPR to be defunded.  Landy was cited in the article, linked below.

NPR and Fair Housing: Is “Liberal Bias” Creating Fake News?

For the interview, A Cup of Coffee withSam Landy, click here.)

Call to Defund NPR draws Manufactured Home Community Owner Richard Nodel, Nodel Parks, Reaction

February 18th, 2017 No comments

Negative coverage of our industry is something many media outlets are guilty of, but I am a patriot first.

Anything that is an abridgment of our constitutional rights is a greater threat to all of us than just a negative news article.

Let’s fight bad information with good information, and not have to resort to unAmerican activities like censorship of the media.

Just because we don’t like the report, do we try and shutter the source? ##

RichardNodel-owner-NodelParks-manufacturedhomecommunities-posted-IndustryVoices-manufacturedhousingindustrynewsMHProNews-com-150x218Richard Nodel
Nodel Parks

(Editor’s note: Richard Nodel’s Industry Voices guest comment came in response to the commentary on the Daily Signal, linked here, calling for NPR to be defunded.  Landy was cited in the article, linked below.

NPR and Fair Housing: Is “Liberal Bias” Creating Fake News?)

AnythingAbridgementConstitutionalRightsGreaterThreatThanNegativeNewsArticleFightBadInfowithGoodInformationRichardNodelIndustryVoicesNodelParksMHProNews

The headline and this text graphic are provided by the editor, as is common with most publications. The comments are those of the writer, Richard Nodel.  Other thoughtful comments by Industry Voices on this or other topics of professional interest are encouraged.

DÉJÀ VU AGAIN? A New Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) Initiative

February 16th, 2017 No comments

A New Study

I like to say to myself “If you live long enough, you’ll see it all.”  I have now lived long enough to see a second MHI effort to do “major consumer research” to “profile the housing needs and opportunities for the industry among various underserved homebuyers.” Who can forget the first effort?

Jeepers, I have no heart burn with the stated goal and direction of this initiative.  I think it possibly worthwhile, furthermore, we already have experience along this trail.  In the early 2000’s Drucker Worldwide, who is conducting the current study, was replaced by Roper International, in the first effort.  If the stated goals at that time were somewhat different, what was not different was the goal of gathering information by a consulting firm, Roper, create a report, then present a possible campaign to increase manufactured housing sales.  Sounds good, right?”

The Roper study was to be the linchpin for an industry image campaign.  Surely that was badly needed at that time, and still is.  What remains to be seen is whether the course of this initiative ends differently than the Roper effort, which ended badly.

Timetable

According to the study timetable set forth by Dick Jennison, MHI President, it will be a multi-step process; the study first, then present the research results to the members of MHI to determine “its next step is late-summer” (2017).  I must say that all sounds logical, practical and well-conceived, and very Roper-ish.  So far, OK.

RoperReportDruckerWorldWideMartyLavinManufacturedHousingInstituteMHStudy-PostedManufacturedHomeIndustryVoicesMHProNews628x230

As with all Industry Voices, letters to the editor, and op-ed posted commentary, the writer has provided their own text, while we as publisher created this particular image graphic, using the writer’s words and photo.  Differing viewpoints on this or other industry issues are welcomed.

For those of you out of swaddling clothes by the year 2000, the new study must send a chill down your spine and some involved in the Roper study, like me, might say a few more things.  There might even be a question or two.

Again??

First of all, quoting Yogi, this all seems like déjà vu all over again.  Others might say, we sure had a fun time the last time we did a study but will the result be different this time?  Some skeptics might ask, what has changed so much in the 10-12 years since the Roper study was concluded?  Finally, is the initiative once again the springboard to the fabled “Industry Image Campaign,” or headed to something else?  One wonders.

In view of the history on this thing, it is logical to be skeptical of the entire process.

I was very much involved in the Roper effort, which died an ignoble death, dealt a crushing blow to the industry (from which it hasn’t recovered), supposedly couldn’t be afforded financially then, and the industry condition seems even weaker now.

I would question, what is the goal of the initiative in terms of advancing the stated aim?  After all, when you find out from the public that the MH industry is the least liked industry Roper ever studied, where do you go from there?  And, what has changed since Roper reported these facts to MHI membership?

  • Have fewer communities closed since Roper, putting their residents on the street?
  • Have rent increases in communities been muted?
  • Has financing the home purchase become easier since Roper time?
  • Have loan interest rates decreased substantially on new MH home purchases?
  • Does the news media paint any glowing MH articles other than the standard “man have you seen those new trailers lately? They are gorgeous!”  I’ve been observing that one since 1972, with little positive response form the buying public, except during periods of loose/defective retail financing.  Too many sure went wild with that one.

Remind the swaddling-clothes-set that the last industry top in 1998, which saw 373,000 HUD Code homes emerge from our factories, led to the present incapacitated condition of the industry.  Heavy defaults erupted thereafter, leading to the disastrous industry meltdown which saw many portfolios lose all value.

It wasn’t covered in “The Big Short,” but bankers/lenders and government regulators paid scant attention to the MH debacle which could easily have predicted the lender use of the MH lending style on site-built single family homes was likely to create the same result as that which occurred with those highly distressed HUD Code portfolios. Oh, mama!

Yes, the results were similar in site-built mortgages, EXCEPT, that lending there is so much greater in volume that the only similarity was in the results.

MH Ugly and No Apology

Repossessed homes, financial distress, broken families, children leaving their familiar school, moving in with relatives or to a homeless shelter, loss of home, and huge, and I mean huge lender/investor/government losses.  No one paid attention to the MH meltdown, and too little was learned little from it. And no one apologized.

MHI has a mission to assist the MH industry to prosper.  Growth is certainly a key component of that mission, and if we are in a slight upward hump in sales now, in comparison to our pre-1998 performance, we are but a shadow of our former selves, down by 75% or so.

So why am I bothering to write this piece when my MH activity today is almost exclusively as an expert witness for law suits?  I’m asking myself the same.  But, I greatly fear we are in a glide path to Roperville II, the study-hard, but no-action paradigm of the last effort and various other MHI efforts.

Again, note that all the Task Force initiative participants, save two, are from homebuilders, again similar to the Roper event.  After all, having spent the money on the Roper study, when it came time to pony up the $17.00 to be added to each home section’s invoice built at that time, there was no buy-in from the builders.  To this day I wonder how the builders thought MHI was going to fund any image campaign if most of the money was not coming from a fee added to each home section’s invoice.

And so when the builders didn’t bite, or at least most of the important ones didn’t, the entire Roper effort fell flat on its face.  Great and expensive dog food, but when put down, no dogs ate it.

My Roper stuff went into hibernation in my stand alone hard drive, and there it sits, lonely, still wondering whether it could have done for us what the RV guys and gals accomplished with their GoRVing image campaign.  During the Roper initiative, we had a large joint meeting with the RVers, and they recommended we move forward in the quickest term, with our image campaign.  The RVers all said they’d be on their asses had they not moved forward.  As an industry, we are a little thin on accepting good advice.

Right Course/Wrong Course

In my mind, MHI, for which I worked very hard for 20 years to advance industry healthy, seems under attack lately.  Further, they continue to posit that the health and growth of the industry lies primarily in hat-in-hand visits to various government divisions.  The Duty to Serve/GSE initiate seems for the moment the Holy Grail for the industry.  A great deal of time and effort has been directed there.  At least the current Drucker Study is away from that direction, and for that I think it makes sense on some level.

Parenthetically, I might suggest MHI spend a great deal more time and effort in pushing the Section 8 program to help individuals to buy their HUDs.  I have believed this for years, ever since a very highly placed GSE person said at one of my industry meetings, “The industry needs to find a way to help so many of your financially fragile clients buy their MH with government help.”  After all, why pay Section 8 to rent a rat crap apartment, when instead these same folks could buy their shiny, new MH with Section 8 help.  How much better than an apartment rental is that?  A lot.

Task Force

Some industry builders in the Drucker Study are people known to me.  I like them and they are intelligent folks.  But, one concept that emerged from Roper is a deep seated belief in the industry that you don’t do anything to help your competition, even if it might help you.  And it was obvious in the Roper effort that the “don’t help competition” was alive and well in the final decision to let Roper die peacefully. And some held that adding even an extra dollar to the invoice could destroy the industry!

I strongly suggest that as this effort proceeds forward, if it does, MHI determine two things quickly:

  1. Are builders willing to take important actions to help the industry as a whole even if their competitors will benefit?
  2. How will this be financed and paid for should it move forward?

I know Mr. Jennison wants to show the MHI membership he is taking bold moves to help the industry, especially as he seems somewhat under attack recently.  But the last time the Roper Study cost some $250,000.00, or thereabouts.  Money the industry didn’t have.  How much will be spent now, and where is it coming from?

I want to avoid seeming negative on this whole Drucker thing, but that is the problem with old age.  When young and I saw a ball bearing rolling across a table I wondered whether it would hit the ceiling, walls or floor.  I didn’t know then.  Well, the ball bearing always hits the floor, I know that now.

Please, please

A final plea to MHI. The Roper initiative saw a final meeting where Roper presented some thoughts on the direction of the proposed media campaign, with actual T.V. ads.  This is what Roper did for a living.  Not infallible, but still they are the experts.

The meeting descended into enumerable people complaining loudly about the projected ads. They had far better ideas!  Individuals who spent lots of time widening their asses seated in lender’s chairs and others who spent their days walking dusty lots in white shoes and gold chains at sales locations suddenly became Doyle Dane and Bernbach, the international advertising network.

Please, please, if you get to the point that some sort of campaign is warranted to move forward, do not allow a room of 200 people screaming at the proposal.  Keep it in a tight group, such as the task force.  Let them make the decision.  Democracy is not a good application to this process.  It needs benevolent dictators. ##

marty-lavin-posted-on-mhpronewsBy Marty Lavin, JD.
350 Main Street
BURLINGTON, VT 05401
att’y, consultant, & expert witness
only in factory built housing
 

 

NPR’s Syringa Mobile Home Park Story, Revisited by Community Owner

January 23rd, 2017 No comments

In the NPR story, the blame is on the community owner, tenants, county, and state.  This failure is across-the-board and does not represent the industry as whole, but is a growing problem that needs to be addressed when communities are used for investment purposes by those who don’t know what they are doing.

  • There is no excuse for the manufactured home community owners’ absence in managing his property.
    • Public utilities and infrastructure needs to be addressed.
    • It should be noted that with old infrastructure, you are going to have water line breaks and rare system failures. Many can be avoided, but some can be unknowable in advance.  Redundancy and daily inspections help prevent system failures.
    • The owner may not have the revenue to repair systems, and may need to tap utilities into local public water and wastewater systems.
  • Where is the tenant accountability?  Homes are personal property (unless units are rentals), and there is trash and debris everywhere in the photos from Syringa Mobile Home Park, in Moscow, ID.
  • Judging by the state of a many of the homes in the photos; they should be repaired, demoed, and/or replaced.  By allowing the living conditions to exist, the owner becomes part of the problem.
TomFathNewDurhamEstatesonCommentsOnNPRMobileHomeParkStory-postedIndustryVoicesMHProNews

Image credit, MHProNews. The headline and image are provided by the editor.

  • If homes are being left and are personal property, the county should be responsible with the community owner/tenant to remove homes. ##
tomfathnewdurhamestates-manufacturedhousingindustrymanufacturedhomecommunity-industryvoices-mhpronews

Tom Fath, co-owner, New Durham Estates.

Tom Fath | Operations Manager
New Durham Estates and Home Sales

Todd Lamb on NPR’s ‘Mobile Home Park Owners Can Spoil An Affordable American Dream’

January 4th, 2017 No comments

Tony, you are the third person sending me this NPR article. I read it and have BIG problems with the way the article was written.

The biggest problem is that it makes the City [of Moscow, ID] look powerless. In my experience, for far less, I’ve seen fines issued and many other tactics delivered to owners to force their way. Also, the city should have delivered the solution and fined the owner.

Where is the City or County responsibility in this issue? Really 90 days without water – I doubt that. If that is true (which I have no idea how those people lived without water for 90 days), the City should have been involved.

While it is true that community owners can direct the look and feel of a community, the safety of water and supply of water comes from the City or County.

SyringaMobileHomeParkMagarEMagarNPRDaniel ZwerdlingMobile HomeParkOwnersCanSpoilAffordableAmericanDreamManufacturedHousingIndustryVoicesMHProNews

While the letter is that of the author, Todd Lamb, the headline, and images were supplied by MHProNews – the publisher, as illustrations – common with letters-to-the-editor or an op-ed.

In Texas, there are plenty of Government agencies to make sure manufactured home community residents are safely delivered gas, water, and sewer at the Community owner’s expense.

Anyway, this owner is horrible, but the reason there are not many, if any other owners like him, is because it is stupid and bad business.

Who spends their life savings trying to buy an asset to let it go – to become run down and worthless?

It’s more likely that someone ends up in this situation by going into the project undercapitalized and inexperienced. However, that did not sound like the case with this jerk.

This NPR article was written with a consumer advocacy purpose in mind.  A very slanted view of the reality of the actual power and responsibility of a Community owner. ##

ToddGLambLambInvestments1postedIndustryVoices_ManufacturedHomeCommunities-MHIndustry-MHProNews200x200Todd Lamb
Lamb Investments