1. Who, what and where: (Your name, and your role/job title at what organization or firm)?
Teresa Payne, Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Regulatory Affairs, Department of Housing and Urban Development
2. Please tell us a bit about your background and how you arrived in your role with HUD and the manufactured housing program now.
I have been working at HUD for over 14 years. I began my government career with HUD’s Office of General Counsel, working in both the RESPA enforcement and RESPA policy offices. I served as the Deputy Director of the Office of RESPA and Interstate Land Sales, a similar regulatory program, for three years and Director of Housing’s Office of Business Development for about three years. I am honored that the Commissioner selected me for this position and am excited about this new opportunity to work with the manufactured housing industry.
3. What are your personal interests or hobbies? How do you like to spend non-work time?
Our household is very active. I have two small children, and my husband and I very much enjoy spending time outdoors with them. I personally enjoy exercise to maintain my health and I to try to find ways to weave that into family activities. Running and tennis have been life-long pleasures. When I was a young child, I would spend hours on the backboard trying to see how many times I could hit the ball in a row. I guess I started goal-setting at an early age!
4. How do you personally like to respond to challenges that come up for you professionally? (In other words, how do you try to tackle problems and arrive at effective solutions?)
I think it is important to listen to and work with all stakeholders to arrive at the most effective and practical solutions. I also like to engage staff and colleagues in challenges – which I view as opportunities – and encourage creative thinking to arrive at possible solutions.
5. Do you have any friends or relatives who own or live in modern manufactured housing?
Not currently. However, my parents’ first home was a manufactured home in rural North Carolina. It was very affordable for a young couple starting out and beginning to make a new life together.
6. Tell us your impressions from your tour of the homes at the Great Southwest Home Show in Tulsa. What did you think of the entry level homes? What was your take on the ‘residential’ style HUD Code homes?
The visit to the Home Show in Tulsa was my first experience of the kind. I was amazed at the size of the show and the variety of manufactured homes that are available. The entry level homes truly showed good value. The residential style of HUD Code homes struck me as being a product that could be configured to meet the desires of consumers seeking a higher level of amenities and more space. It was exciting to see that the products have kept pace with new home technology, luxury and comfort.
7. In Tulsa and at Washington DC at MHI’s summer meeting, you said, “Manufactured Housing Rocks!” and “Manufactured Housing Still Rocks!” Please share your background thoughts to those statements.
Manufactured housing is an industry that has significantly advanced through the years and it’s exciting to be a part of this movement for affordable housing. The owner of today’s manufactured home gets a product at an affordable price with the modern flexibility of design. In addition, I have thoroughly enjoyed the people I have met through this industry. They have been friendly, dedicated, knowledgeable and hardworking – they truly rock!
8. What are some of the biggest issues facing affordable housing in the U.S.? How do you see the situation being improved?
It’s really a balancing act – manufactured housing has to maintain its affordability while also keeping up with consumer’s expectations for safety, comfort and value. It is HUD’s role to help ensure that both are met effectively. We are also working and living in an economic climate of uncertainty that is adversely affecting all U.S. housing and manufacturing.
9. How can manufactured housing play a role in providing more affordable housing?
The Commissioner and I both consider manufactured housing to be an important source of affordable housing in today’s market. The industry – both large and small stakeholders – and HUD should find areas where we can work together to advance the design and construction requirements of manufactured homes. After all, we are all working towards the same goal of serving a vital market and sector of the housing industry. HUD’s role is critical in assuring that all manufactured housing products are safe and perform as expected. The industry’s role is to understand its market and business environment, including the construction and safety standards. Everyone wins when there is a happy consumer that is living in a great manufactured home product.
10. HUD recently commissioned a study on how manufactured housing can fit into urban areas and help address affordable housing needs there. Did you find the conclusions surprising? What impact do you expect the information will have?
I am not sure which study your question is addressing. If you are referencing the “Regulatory Barriers to Manufactured Housing” study, the final report has not been issued by HUD yet. This study was conducted by HUD’s Office of Policy, Development and Research.
11. The Obama Administration has indicated moves towards more support for rental housing. Do you see anything on the horizon that may give more support for manufactured housing as the smart affordable housing alternative?
HUD has always recognized and supported rental housing as an effective form of affordable housing. It has also promoted manufactured housing as a smart affordable housing alternative through working with the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee to continue ongoing improvements in the design, construction, quality control and installation of these homes.
12. What advice would you give a first-time buyer looking at manufactured homes? What advice would you give a retiree?
All consumers should be educated and well-informed prior to making an expensive purchase. There is a great deal of consumer information on the Internet provided by manufacturers, retailers and consumer advocates. HUD recently posted three new consumer videos entitled ‘Shopping for your home,’ ‘Shopping for your loan’ and ‘Closing the deal.’ I would encourage all consumers to watch these videos before and during the home buying process. They can be found on HUD’s YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/HUDchannel). I would also advise anyone looking to buy a manufactured home to make sure they can afford the monthly and yearly expenses associated with the long-term investment.
13. What is one of your proudest accomplishments or achievements?
Passing my first bar exam was one of my proudest achievements before I came to HUD. While at HUD, one of my proudest accomplishments was building and leading a nationwide account liaison team to serve as the main point of contact with FHA-approved lenders.
14. Any other thoughts or comments?
I think I’ve covered a lot. I look forward to working with the industry in the years to come!