On September 22, 2011, a joint delegation of MHARR and MHI-member executives and staff met with Ms. Carol Galante, the new Acting HUD Federal Housing Commissioner-Assistant Secretary for Housing. As reported previously by MHARR, Ms. Galante, formerly a HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary responsible for multi-family housing, was appointed to this position in July 2011 when the prior Commissioner, Mr. Bob Ryan, became a senior advisor to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan.
The joint meeting, while partly introductory, also addressed three major substantive issues of industry concern that were agreed in advance by the participants from both national associations, led by their respective Chairmen, John Bostick and Joe Stegmayer.
The first issue addressed was the critical need for additional sources of manufactured home purchase-money financing, with a specific emphasis on Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Title I (chattel) financing and the impact of Ginnie Mae net worth and loan retainage requirements for approved lenders that have unduly restricted lender access to the manufactured housing market, to the detriment of both the industry and consumers.
Second, the group stressed the need for an appointed, non-career manufactured housing program administrator, as provided by the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000. An appointed-level administrator is essential to raise the visibility of the manufactured housing program at HUD, which is nearly ignored in HUD’s 2010-2015 “Strategic Plan,” to act as an advocate of manufactured housing as an affordable housing solution both within and beyond HUD and, most importantly, to manage the HUD manufactured housing program in accordance with the law. The group noted that a highly qualified candidate with extensive experience within the industry — a must for this job — had already applied for this position and that HUD should re-start the process for the consideration of that candidate.
Third, the group urged the Commissioner to appoint a collective industry representative to the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC), to ensure that the institutional memory, collective knowledge, expertise and know-how that the industry has assembled within its national associations are brought to bear within that extremely important forum.
As a follow-up to the meeting, the group plans to send a joint letter to the Commissioner regarding these matters.
All of this will be discussed in further detail at the upcoming MHARR November 2011 Board of Directors meeting.
Danny D. Ghorbani
Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform