A pair of tips from a major Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) corporate member on a reported shortage of workers caused MHProNews to reach out to independents on the topic of availability of labor during the COVID19 pandemic.
One HUD Code manufactured home producing independent contacted responded by email saying “Extreme shortage of good applications. $15 per hour federal unemployment bonus on top of $7-$9 state unemployment makes no sense but neither does anything else going on right now.”
In a follow up, MHProNews asked “Have you had labor shortages as a result of absenteeism and lack of qualified applications?”
The response from that same producer was “Only because of positive Covid cases. Having difficulty expanding production because of an extremely tight labor market. Wages are up 25% from two years ago. Everyone has big backlogs in Texas. Demand is strong and production is down so here we are.”
Another HUD Code builder said similarly to MHProNews, also via email.
“We are struggling finding people to work. We have positions to fill and no applicants. This so-called stimulus and unemployment stimulus I believe has done more harm than good.”
In addition to those points is this from an independent manufactured home producer: “No shutdowns over it [supply chain issues] but there have been challenges mainly with windows, appliances and right now struggling with AC equipment at retail. Commodity type products have not been an issue but got a huge price increase this week on OSB.”
The tips from and about the major MHI member producer will be the subject of a planned upcoming report that may be available as soon as next week.
But significant issues such as an artificially induced “labor shortages” caused by a stated combination of illness, fear, and being paid not to work begs questions.
Among those questions:
- why aren’t labor disincentives to work among the issues that MHI is working on with Congress and the White House?
- Why is MHI focusing on supporting rental housing owners instead of the specific items needed to support more manufactured home sales?
- Are MHI’s much-touted alliances with other housing-sector nonprofits helping or harming the manufactured home industry’s interests?
- Why does MHI routinely fail to promote the logical solution of full implementation of good existing laws that would cause affordable manufactured home sales to soar?
Against that backdrop is the following.
MHI “Housing Alert” – Manufactured Housing Institute, err, Manufactured Hypocrisy Institute – “Carries Water” for Billionaires, Their Corporate Interests, While Harming Small Businesses, Consumers, and Economy – Say Current, Prior Members and Staff
The Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI, a.k.a Manufactured Hypocrisy Institute, Monopolistic Housing Institute, Machiavellian Housing Institute, et al) issued on Friday, July 31, 2020 a formal “Housing Alert” memo to their members at about 6:45 AM ET.
The MHI email asked members and their readers to contact their “Senators.”
“Why is MHI only asking for contacts of “Senators,” said an informed and connected source in an email to MHProNews. “Why didn’t MHI also ask their readers and members to reach out to their Congressional Representative too? Is it because the Senate is in Republican control? Is it because the House is in Democratic hands?” Interesting questions.
Another longtime contact with deep MHI ties said they didn’t want to weigh in on this specific item MHI was addressing per se, other than to note that MHI had “failed” the post-production sector of the industry for years. In that MHI connected person’s view, that undermines anything the Arlington, VA based trade group says or does in other matters.
Here is an email on that topic from a MHEC – Manufactured Housing Executives Committee – member.
As part of a longer message, with typos in the original – “…Has MHI Totally screwed-up, failed and devastated the PP on KEY POLICY MATTERS (i.e., zoning, consumer financing, new developments, placement, national advertising and marketing, etc., etc.), thus critically hurting the entire industry’s and our consumer’s wellbeing, prosperity and advancement? The answer is resounding yes…and it is MHI’s wrongheaded POLICIES on those types of PP issues that I, we, all of us will continue to expose, fight and in many cases beat the hell out of them. Incidentally, this whole thing is another reason that these poor souls need their own independent national PP association.”
PP in this context means “post-production,” something akin to the RV dealers association. That same MHEC source added, “All that said, though, I can see, understand and fully support your interest and involvement (as a hard-hitting investigative journalist) in these other types of PP issues.”
With that backdrop, next MHProNews will pivot to the MHI housing alert. Their emailed message’s text will be followed by additional information, analysis, and commentary. Note to new readers, quoting MHI should not be misconstrued as an endorsement of the Arlington, VA based trade group or its policies. Additionally, MHProNews was an MHI member for years before this pro-industry publication parted ways with MHI.
Tell Congress that an Extension of the Eviction Moratorium is Not the Right Approach to Keep People in Their Homes
Congress is currently crafting the next phase of the COVID-19 relief package, which will likely include further funding for unemployment insurance, additional stimulus checks, and other relief. As a part of this package, many are calling on policymakers to include an extension of the federal eviction moratorium that expired last week. A protracted eviction moratorium is not a sustainable, long-term solution for American families facing financial hardship and is ruinous to the rental housing market. We urge you to contact your Senators to tell them that an extension of the eviction moratorium is not the right approach to keep people in their homes.
What to Tell Your Senators
Ask your Senators to oppose extending the federal eviction moratorium and instead support emergency rental assistance targeted to those impacted by COVID-19.
The best way to protect the housing of those who have been impacted by COVID-19 is through financial assistance to keep renters from ever missing rental payments. Congress’ efforts thus far to provide robust financial assistance to households and businesses impacted by COVID-19 have prevented widespread evictions. Extending unemployment insurance and stimulus payments, along with a targeted rental assistance program, are needed to keep residents who have a COVID-related hardship in their homes. Congress should focus on these important measures and reject calls to extend the federal eviction moratorium.
With MHI’s advocacy page, making this request of your Senators is easy. Click here and follow the simple steps on MHI’s website. Once you have completed the letter, simply click “Submit.”
Thank you in advance for your support!”
Additional MHProNews Information, Analysis and Commentary
MHI said in part “As a part of this package, many are calling on policymakers to include an extension of the federal eviction moratorium that expired last week.” Let’s note that MHProNews reported days before on the topic of the expiring rental eviction moratorium.
Additionally, MHProNews exclusively reported on FHA and HUD responses to questions that have arisen as a result of the reportedly Wuhan, China originated coronavirus.
MHARR called HUD’s positions “sheer sophistry.”
That report linked above focused in part on the possible opportunities that could occur for manufactured housing if good existing laws were being fully and properly implemented. Note too that mainstream housing is apparently doing better, than manufactured housing. Yet housing affordability is still a critical issue. That implies a “failure” of MHI to capitalize on the opportunities that the pandemic created or exacerbated.
Next, returning to MHI’s statement, they said “A protracted eviction moratorium is not a sustainable, long-term solution for American families facing financial hardship and is ruinous to the rental housing market.” The first part of that may arguably have merit, but the second part of that is an example of paltering in action. Why?
Here is the logic of it. Since when is MHI in the business of defending the rental housing market? Who is MHI fighting for, rental housing providers or manufactured home sellers? Is this an example of the corruption that occurs when MHI’s CEO Lesli Gooch has been allowed to advocate for other housing nonprofits in a well evidenced conflict of interest with manufactured housing interests?
Isn’t MHI supposed to be promoting affordable home ownership through the sale of more manufactured homes? Why did their prior president and CEO argue on camera for slow growth? In fact, that is what occurred, prior to the 2019-2020 negative growth.
Rephrased, upon close examination, the MHI narrative quickly falls apart. Their messaging and its reasoning raises more questions than it answers.
While MHARR actively advocates for manufactured housing independent producers, and the NFIB is actively advocating for the interests of independent small businesses, MHI time and again reveals a pattern of behavior that only makes sense to the extent that it may appear to be ‘action’ but is in fact an “illusion of motion” that benefits consolidators. Where are the benefits to the smaller businesses that used to make up the lion share of manufactured housing which served millions of consumers so well?
Years of photo or video opportunities in the last part of the Richard “Dick” Jennison era and the early part of the Lesli Gooch/Mark Bowersox ear of MHI with meeting with public officials demonstrates MHI’s access. That’s fine, so long as photos lead to action that results in measurable positive results.
But the production and shipment trends reveal that MHI’s “clout” has reduced the industry’s total shipments for the second year running. MHI’s very access logically demonstrates their repeated failure to use that access to improve the operating environment for manufactured housing, which is what they claim to be doing as a trade group.
MHI won’t debate issues of performance or effectiveness themselves but is okay with surrogates attempting such. Nor will the Arlington, VA based trade group apparently do anything that might go counter to the interests of their larger members.
A close examination of the facts and historic patterns reveals that MHI and their major members are taking steps that steadily result in consolidation. Thus far year to date, this will be the second year that the industry is shrinking in size while MHI continues to promote concepts that have proven to be failures in the marketplace.
MHI’s job should be simple. They should ask the Trump Administration and their ‘congressional champions’ to have good existing laws enforced. MHI themselves said that “enhanced preemption” isn’t being properly enforced. Then why aren’t they pressing the issue each and every time they meet with public officials? Why are they diverting Duty to Serve or other financing options that could created potentially millions of home buyers for the industry?
Those good existing laws would create potentially millions of new homeowners, which would take market pressure off the rising cost of rental housing.
But with several large MHI members also involved in renting manufactured homes and/or selling to communities that do rental housing, there is a clear conflict of interest on that level too.
Thus, the need to establish a post-production trade group that would partner with MHARR to advance the implementation of good existing laws for the benefit of consumers and smaller businesses alike.
The facts back up the reasoning of MHARR, MHProNews and MHLivingNews. Indeed, quotes from MHI members underscores the point that ours is the only evidence-based case for why the industry is underperforming during an ongoing affordable housing crisis.
No single report covers all the reasons that explain how and why manufactured homes and the sales of more affordable housing to potentially millions of high-rent-strapped consumers. To learn more, see the related reports.
There is always more to come, so stay tuned with 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
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