HUD Takes Shot at Industry, Consumers and Defies Congress

Pressed by a growing number of inquiries from members of Congress expressing concern over the accelerating deterioration of the industry and consumers’ ability to obtain financing for manufactured home purchases, HUD has issued a response that is remarkable in its contempt for the industry, its homes, consumers and Congress itself.

The January 11, 2010 response rejects calls from Congress for the appointment of a non-career Administrator for the federal program, as provided by the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000. The response, goes much further, though, exposing a deepening institutional rejection of manufactured housing itself, including the availability of financing for HUD Code consumers and the proper implementation of key aspects of the 2000 reform law. Instead, the response reflects an approach to the HUD program that is a throw-back to the 1980’s and 1990’s, where program regulators and contractors will effectively have a blank check from senior management regarding the standards and their enforcement. This blank check will also allow the further politicization and polarization of the program, as has been evident in recent years, where the interests of the industry’s smaller businesses are pitted against a handful of larger companies in a range of matters relating to the HUD program and access to means of financing.

To address this HUD response and enable further action by grassroots industry members to engage Congress on these critical issues, MHARR has produced and distributed to industry members a January 25, 2010 packet which includes HUDYs January 11, 2010 response, the December 2, 2009 letter from Congress that HUD responded to and a point-by-point analysis of that response.

Since the start of new Administration, more and more members of Congress have been questioning the mismanagement and decline of the HUD program and the decline of a HUD Code industry that provides affordable non-subsidized housing for millions of lower and moderate-income Americans and a source of employment for many others. With half of the industry in Washington, D.C. having thrown in the towel, making meaningless or harmful “deals” with regulators and keeping industry members largely in the dark over these issues, a growing number of grassroots industry members are moving away from this same old approach and are acting directly to engage their own members of Congress seeking a resolution to the industry’s crisis in Washington, D.C. These activities are gaining momentum in the nation’s capital, as lawmakers are increasingly sympathetic (and, accordingly, re-calibrating their approach) to an industry that has plants and retail centers closing — causing major job losses — increasing vacancies in communities and, most importantly, no financing available for millions of lower and moderate-income Americans to buy its affordable non-subsidized homes.

from MHARR Washington Update – January 27, 2010

MHARR is a Washington DC.-based national trade association representing the views and interests ofproducers of federally-regulated manufactured housing.

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