Dueling forces are apparently engaged in Washington, D.C. that each seek to frame a pending federal study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) are revealed in this media release to MHProNews from the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR).
The MHARR release will be followed by additional information, plus MHProNews Analysis and Commentary.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: MHARR
MHARR SEEKS TO KEEP HUD ZONING STUDY ON TRACK
Washington, D.C., January 19, 2021 – The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) has filed comments (attached) with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) seeking to ensure that a pending HUD study of state and local regulatory barriers to the use and placement of “factory-built” structures is – as it should be — properly focused on discriminatory and exclusionary edicts targeting affordable, federally-regulated mainstream manufactured housing. MHARR’s comments were filed in connection with a December 18, 2020 HUD request for OMB approval of “information collection” pertaining to such a study.
A HUD study of the negative impacts flowing specifically from discriminatory zoning edicts that either exclude or severely restrict the placement of affordable HUD Code manufactured homes in many communities, was sought by MHARR in an April 4, 2019 meeting with officials of HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R), and in a subsequent April 24, 2019 request to HUD Secretary Ben Carson. MHARR, in making this request, emphasized that discriminatory land use, zoning and placement restrictions and exclusion laws – together with the complete absence of federal securitization and secondary market support for manufactured housing personal property loans — are key drivers in keeping inherently affordable manufactured homes out of large areas of the United States while simultaneously depriving millions of moderate and lower-income Americans of the affordable homeownership that they need and want. This has had devastating consequences not only for the availability of affordable housing and homeownership for American families, but for the industry as well (and most particularly its post-production sector), which has seen production and sales levels fall far below its historic baseline over the past decade-plus.
MHARR reasoned that a specific and definitive study of this type could be an important step in its ongoing effort to advance the full and proper implementation of both the enhanced federal preemption provision of the 2000 reform law, and the Duty to Serve Underserved Markets (DTS) mandate of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA). Enhanced federal preemption, designed to invalidate state and local “requirements” that broadly interfere with federal superintendence of federally-regulated manufactured homes according to the full purposes of the 2000 reform law – and not just conflicting state and local construction standards, as had been the case before – was specifically included in the 2000 reform law to prevent the discriminatory exclusion of manufactured housing via zoning edicts, but has been baselessly ignored by HUD for two decades. Meanwhile, DTS was enacted to ensure market-significant support for all types of manufactured housing consumer loans but, after more than a decade, has not been implemented at all with respect to the personal property loans which represent nearly 80% of the entire mainstream manufactured housing market. At the same time, the industry’s largest corporate conglomerates have arguably sought to divert the focus of DTS from mainstream, affordable manufactured housing, to significantly more costly types of “factory-built” homes, by going outside of the manufactured housing mainstream and using confusing names and designation instead of ‘federally regulated manufactured housing.”
MHARR, therefore, as its comments stress, is extremely concerned that the overly and unnecessarily broad language of HUD’s request, referring to “factory-built structures” rather than “federally-regulated manufactured homes” (similar to what Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and industry conglomerates have done with DTS), could be misused to either shift the focus of this information collection and study away from affordable, mainstream HUD code manufactured housing – where it should be – or otherwise skew or undermine the results (and value) of such a crucial study by including other types of unrelated, much more costly “factory-built” homes that fall outside the ambit of mainstream, affordable, federally-regulated manufactured housing. MHARR’s comments, accordingly, call on OMB to ensure that any authorization for HUD’s information collection and related study are specifically targeted at mainstream, affordable, federally regulated manufactured housing and not other types of unrelated, so-called factory-built structures. Without such a specifically targeted focus on mainstream, affordable federally regulated manufactured homes, a study of this type could not only fail to establish the factual bases needed to push-forward the full implementation of enhanced federal preemption but could actually harm that effort with further highly negative consequences for both the industry and moderate and lower-income American consumers of affordable housing. Put simply, OMB cannot allow this information collection and related HUD study to be “hijacked” for purposes hostile to affordable, mainstream manufactured housing.
MHARR will continue to closely monitor activity affecting this study in an effort to ensure that its value and legitimacy is not compromised in relation to the 2000 reform law.
The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform is a Washington, D.C.-based national trade association representing the views and interests of independent producers of federally regulated manufactured housing.
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The download of their comments letter is found linked here.
Additional Information, Plus MHProNews Analysis and Commentary
Like it or not, some things simply take time. On the side of those who think and act long term, look at Warren Buffett.
That patience and persistence strategy of Buffett finds its counterpart in our industry’s leader for independent producers. The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) worked year after year on getting what finally became the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA or 2000 Reform Law) enacted. That was accomplished when changes at the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) leadership allowed for a shift in their prior purportedly obstructive position. In conjunction with the late Will Earle of the Texas Manufactured Housing Association (TMHA), the coalition to get the MHIA into law was forged. The measure quickly took shape and became federal law.
Regrettably, after an initial period of mutual effort, the record and commentaries reflect that MHI moved away from supporting full and proper enactment of the MHIA. One leaked and now-illustrated document below. That document came from a source that shared it from MHI.
MHI used have that document above publicly available. When the Arlington, VA based MHI redid their website some years ago, that document was removed from public access. Those events occurred during what MHProNews has referred to as the Berkshire Hathaway era of Manufactured Housing.
MHI continues to posture efforts to seriously ‘grow the market,’ but the video below is one of several piece of direct evidence that arguably reveals that those efforts are a sham. Jennison’s statement was preposterous.
Just how ridiculous his thoughts expressed above proved to be was demonstrated by none other than Jennison a few months later. At the apparent prompting by Tim Williams of 21st Mortgage Corporation, who for years was the Chairman of MHI, Jennison made a major public pivot from the above. He moved from saying that slow growth was okay to saying that robust growth and 500,000 new HUD Code manufactured homes a year was possible. Jennison made that statement, prompted by MHProNews communications with Williams/21st, in a video recorded remarks.
But what that comment by Jennison demonstrated is that MHI leaders say things that they have little or no intention of actually achieving. When viewed dispassionately and holistically, logic and statements by key MHI corporate members makes it clear that MHI became a tool for consolidation. That consolidation was less costly and less likely to encounter regulatory barriers if done slowly over time.
Tim Williams role in this charade was confirmed by another leak from an MHI source, see that report and Williams’ shocking admission to dozens of MHI members in the report linked below.
That admission by Williams only further demonstrated the validity of the thesis MHProNews has advanced in recent years about a scheme to carve up manufactured housing independents between major MHI member firms.
What Gedo, oddly in trying to defend Clayton, Berkshire brands and MHI, did was to illustrate and confirm the very points MHProNews has been making for years.
Mary Gaiski and others who are MHI affiliates have publicly made the point that matters are getting worse, not better. This despite MHI posturing otherwise.
Thus, MHI has for years postured one thing, while effectively using diversion and delay tactics that undermine independents while benefiting the consolidators.
Like it or not, it is the long-term play that Buffett and his allies have been engaged in that is paying them dividends. Independents in every sense of that word must grasp that long-term thinking, planning, and acting is what can ultimately result in reversing these problems. In a similar fashion, MHARR has arguably been the primary long-term vehicle by independents for thoughtful action. History shows that MHARR has prevailed several times before. Thus, they may well be able to do so again.
But note that there are apparent efforts by MHI to undermine their efforts. More on that soon.
There are times when Warren Buffett’s coy words should be carefully examined. When he said there was class warfare, the economic carnage for untold numbers of souls that he referred to as “roadkill” that lies in their wake should be viewed as a declaration of economic and political warfare. They have been waging war for over 15 years in our profession, longer in some others.
It is difficult to find a good reason not to consider the words of the largest force directly involved in HUD Code manufactured housing. But those words should sometimes be taken at face value, and at other times as a cryptic code, as financial writers have observed.
A Silver Lining to the Biden Regime?
MHProNews is on record publishing reports that question the legitimacy of the Biden-Harris Regime. Let’s note that others have not publicly followed that claim in our profession.
That noted, is there a possible silver lining for manufactured housing and other professions from what is already shaping up to be an apparent train wreck for our industry?
As Thomas Jefferson, founding father, diplomat and the third President of the United States (POTUS) said in the Declaration of Independence which he drafted, “Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”
That phrase is one of several penetrating insights by Jefferson into history and human nature. It may hold a key to unlocking a door on the road to recovery from what is already shaping up as a Biden Regime and their allies created disaster for millions of independently owned businesses and the millions of more employees who worked for them.
Th organizations or institutional “forms to which” the American people and numbers in our profession to which they became “accustomed” include politicos, Obama-Biden-Bush-Cheney era deep state actors, as well as certain “providers” or corporations in major:
- news media,
- social media,
- tech including smart phones,
and others involved in the various institutions that would normally have been a check against this anti-American, anti-free enterprise, and arguably atheistic revolt being led by those who often have documented ties to Communist China or socialist positions. Those in turn routinely include the very corporate powers that paid to put Biden-Harris “into” office.
In the light of the flexing of raw corporate power in the Parler case, the likelihood that more who have been on the fence or hoping that MHI and their corporate masters would pivot is likely to dwindle.
While Biden mouths nice sounding words of “unity” to those in his party’s base who expect it, the steps that President Select Biden* has already taken are arguably designed to do several things. Among them is to incite anger and even violence against this purportedly fraudulent takeover of power.
Put differently, the Biden-Harris regime wants to either silence opposition or to incite Trump supporters and other freedom lovers into deadly attacks. For them, creating a crisis is one of several ways of “never letting a good crisis go to waste.” As progressive journalist Glenn Greenwald framed it just days ago, the threat of authoritarianism was not from the legitimately elected Trump-Pence Administration. Rather, it was from those Big Brother Billionaires who have thus far successfully snuffed out smaller rival Parler.
Pivoting back to manufactured housing, there are numerous Democratic lawmakers who on paper have long been supporters of our industry. Now that they have the Congress and the White House in hand, will they follow through on their commitments on topics like antitrust? Will they follow through on their commitments on manufactured housing?
Time will tell who was sincere or who was perhaps just theatrically posturing for the masses.
Either way, a special report lies ahead that will shed specific light on the zoning and placement issue.
One of the possible takeaways from what is occurring, a proverbial dark grace, is that ‘the real good guys’ and the authentic bad guys are being exposed. MHARR has from its inception been the true champion for independents. By contrast, the case can be made that MHI was long in the pocket of what MHI award-winner Marty Lavin called “the big boys” that run the operation. Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS) President and CEO Marguerite Nader said as much when she called MHI “our association.”
So, on the community side and on the manufactured side, the obvious trends toward consolidation illustrates what MHProNews published approaching a year ago, that beyond MHARR, numbers of these trade groups were little more than “Buffett’s Buffet.” A pleasant feeding ground for consolidators to do their work.
It is MHARR which has long fought against the tide, and they periodically have won significant victories through their persistence. As evils become more difficult to endure, the possibilities of revolts inside manufactured housing against those who dominate through MHI or other nonprofits increases.
Conventional housing is roaring. So why is manufactured housing snoring?
Our industry sadly has a sufficient number of backstabbers and those willing to look away, even though they arguably know how many lives and businesses have been harmed. But for those willing to look at the years of patterns and the cold, hard facts, the trends are difficult to deny. Which may explain why Berkshire, Clayton, 21st, and MHI, among others have not publicly disputed or challenged the thesis laid out by MHProNews. That thesis happens to fit with the efforts of MHARR, though we are independent entities.
An exclusive special report is looming here on MHProNews on the placement topic. Buckle up, get your friends and circle of contacts to open their eyes by sharing reports like this, and then stay tuned for more.
See the linked and related reports above and further below to learn more.
Notice: it is apparently reports and analysis like this that have once again caused a spike in readership, per 3rd party Webalizer site data. Our thanks to sources, readers, and supporters for making and keeping us the runaway most-read trade publication serving manufactured housing.
That’s a wrap on this installment of the runaway number one source for authentic “News through the lens of manufactured homes and factory-built housing” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (Affordable housing, manufactured homes, reports, fact-checks, analysis, and commentary. Third-party images or content are provided under fair use guidelines for media.) (See Related Reports, further below. Text/image boxes often are hot-linked to other reports that can be access by clicking on them.)
By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – for MHProNews.com.
Tony earned a journalism scholarship and earned numerous awards in history and in manufactured housing.
For example, he earned the prestigious Lottinville Award in history from the University of Oklahoma, where he studied history and business management. He’s a managing member and co-founder of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.
This article reflects the LLC’s and/or the writer’s position, and may or may not reflect the views of sponsors or supporters.
Connect on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach
The text/image boxes below are linked to other reports, which can be accessed by clicking on them.