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A Tale of Broken Hitches

November 29th, 2017 No comments

If you have been in the industry for anytime at all, especially in the area transportation, you have had a hitch failure. It always comes as an inconvenience, but can cause major damage, and injury to other motorists.

Unfortunately, that isn’t where this story starts.

This one starts on a somber November morning when 26 families are told they would be forced to leave a park many had lived in for years.

Some cried, some were mad, some just stood in shock!

The main question, of course, was why?

The owner was a nice compassionate man who had owned the park for years. The park was over 95 percent occupied. I went to see him and investigate what was happening.

Could this all just be a misunderstanding?

The meeting between the owner and I was a solemn one. He stated that it was true.  He was closing the park, and making everyone move.

Normally this isn’t that major of a concern, but this is the third park in my area to close or be re-purposed in less than one year.

Many of their residents live below the poverty line, and are struggling to make ends meet.

Where are they to move to?

Their homes will not pass many park requirements, due to age, and they cannot trade up to a new home that would pass due to their financial position.

This leaves many home owners to simply throw up their hands and walk away.

I asked the park owner to sell. I didn’t want it, nor is it in my long-term plans, but it made better sense then closing.

He declined my offer. He stated that the major driving force in the closing was state and city regulators. The city had recently annexed the area, and TECQ also played their part.

When it was all said and done, the owner couldn’t complete with such force. 

So, I set out with the team to help as many as we could.

We are working with 6 families and have moved 2.

This is where we come to our broken hitch. Due to the age and condition of the homes, we require a hold harmless be signed by all parties.

ShawnFullerIntegrityHomesManufacturedHomeProfessionalDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

We know that these homes can be moved, but must be moved cautiously.

Sure enough, I pulled the most difficult one, and less the 3 miles from its new home, the hitch and header plate failed.

That’s the bad. It gets worse. It happened in front of an affluent high school right after lunch. And within minutes, we had over 15 police officers from 4 different agencies on the scene.

A not so simple repair became almost impossible with the red tape created in a matter of minutes. Some may be asking, why go that way?

It was our only permitted route.

Needless to say, we were able to make the repairs, and get the home safely transported.

The damage? None. I never went over 35 mph the entire time I was moving the home. And due to the fact I was in a school zone I was traveling between 10-15 mph.

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We were on site with the home before dark, and with a happy customer. She even argued with the officers that we had done nothing wrong. 

So here is my question to the industry.

What if? What if we get to a place where we don’t have a place to put our products because of overzealous regulators who run good small-and-large parks out of business?

We sit back, and say this can’t happen but it does everyday.

Also what happens when we take “affordable housing” out of our vocabulary, what are we? Just housing…like everybody else.

We need to be collectively active in protecting our industry. 

The two families that we were able to help had their homes installed before Thanksgiving, and I am wishing them a Merry Christmas. ##

ShawnRosaFullerIntegrityHomesTexasManufacturedHousingIndsutryVoicesManufacturedHomeProfessionalsMHProNewsBy Shawn Fuller,


MH Industry Professional, Texas

 

(Editor’s Note: Shawn’s story reminds me of Marty Lavin’s Back to the Cornfields, linked below, and stories too numerous to link. Comments or news tips on this or other industry relevant topics are invited at the link at the right.)

 

“Make MH Great Again” – Marty Lavin Exclusive

About-Face! City Council Mh Prohibition Reverses Course

October 16th, 2015 No comments

Boy, it is nice when I get to share good news.  Wins for the industry and sharing good news are probably the two best parts of my job, and fortunately for me, those two things almost always go together.

Last night in Huntsville, Texas, the city council reversed course on what started out looking like another bad news day.  A couple of weeks ago the city council met and voted on first reading (they need two readings to make ordinance changes official) to prohibit all manufactured homes from being sited on a lot within the city limits.  Initially they had a small exception for homes going inside communities and for replacement of existing manufactured homes, which incidentally is state law that TMHA worked to get passed years ago.  But other than those two limited exceptions, no more manufactured homes.

The first reading vote was 5 – 2 in favor of the MH prohibition.

A local reporter covering the council wrote a story about the proposed prohibition, and Jenny Hodge with MHI emailed me alerting me about what the council was proposing.  We then pulled titling records and retailer selling records and started contacting retailers with a selling presence in Huntsville.  Thanks to Rob here at TMHA, we were also able to gather some telling data about manufactured housing in Huntsville.  Specifically, we learned that from 2011 to 2014 a total of 843 manufactured homes were sold with the city of Huntsville listed in their address.  MH presence aside the demographics were incredibly telling of a city in real need of more affordable housing, not less.  The median income of a household in Huntsville is $27,362 per year.  Of the existing housing in the city 16.6 percent is more than 45 years old.  Housing supply, specifically affordable housing supply, is clearly constrained because nearly two-thirds of Huntsville residents are renters and in this large renter category 61.8 percent spend more than 35 percent of their monthly income on their rent.  To consider further limitations on sources of affordable housing seems illogical.

But as we all know this isn’t a logic puzzle, it’s politics.  Because this was one of the more rare instances where we actually found out about a proposal before it was final we were able to inform our retailers who would be adversely impacted by the proposed prohibition.  From there those retailers and other citizens who turned up last night at the council meeting to testify against the proposed ordinance took over – and did all the heavy political lifting I might add.

We cannot thank Gary Adamek with Reliable Homes and Les Stone with Clayton Homes enough for the work they did, the time they spent, and the persuasive testimony they provided last night.  These retailers and the results they secured in a near complete reversal by the council (they voted unanimously to continue to allow MH within city limits) once again demonstrates the power of engaged, passionate, local advocacy.

Again, when it comes to local (city and county) politics it is imperative that local constituents and businesses are there to advocate for their industry.  When this happens in a timely manner the industry’s chances of securing a victory increase many fold.

I hope that Gary and Les’ success last night serves as an example to all those in our industry about the power of local political engagement.

Everyone has heard the term, “it takes a village,” and that applies to political advocacy.  The power of timely information coupled with individuals willing to engage locally on behalf of their interests, the interests of the industry, and the interests for consumers who want affordable housing options, can prevail when properly deployed.  I’m happy to report such a deployment occurred last night. ##

http://www.texasmha.com/news/featured/about-face-city-council-mh-prohibition-reverses-course