Lawsuit Filed Against City to Defend Manufactured Home Owners Rights, led by Equal Justice Non-Profit

Collage, illustration design by MHProNews.

NEWARK, ARKANSAS – on Tuesday, 7.17.2018, Equal Justice Under Law – a national civil rights organization based in Washington, D.C. – filed a federal civil rights complaint against the City of Newark for blocking and banishing residents simply because they do not own an expensive home.


In 2015, the Newark City Council [AR] passed an Exclusion Ordinance forbidding any mobile home worth less than $25,000 (single-wide1) or $35,000 (double-wide1) from existing within the city limits,” Equal Justice told the Daily Business News on MHProNews in a statement. “Failure to do so is punishable with fines up to $500 a day.”

Newark’s poverty exclusion scheme heightens a serious problem across the state of Arkansas: a lack of access to affordable housing,” stated Chrysse Haynes Director of Communications & Development for Equal Justice Under Law.  “For every 100 working family households living on extremely low income, the state has only 50 affordable homes available. Many Newark and nearby residents, including our plaintiffs, are personally affected by this – who either cannot find affordable housing or who are prevented from offering it.”

Among those affected are Veneda and Robert Marshall a retired married couple.

In order to supplement their social security income, they purchase used manufactured homes, which they fix up and rent out throughout Newark, AR.

With a vacant lot available on Thomas Creek Drive, the couple decided to place a multi-sectional manufactured home there.  But they were prevented from doing so because it did not appraise at $35,000. Yet, dozens of interested responses came to the Marshall’s from an online rental listing.

The Marshall’s stated that they are committed to providing affordable and safe housing to local residents. None of their four properties have ever been cited for a health or safety violation.

This is an important legal action for manufactured home (MH) owners, affordable housing advocates, public officials, and MH industry professionals to consider. Photo supplied by Equal Justice, text graphic added by MHProNews.

Equal Justice believes the city’s arbitrary ordinance is preventing a retired couple on a limited income to utilize the property and resources they have available to them, while further exacerbating the need for affordable housing citywide.

Provided under fair use guidelines.

Executive Director of Equal Justice Under Law Phil Telfeyan says, “a society and the basic principles of fairness embodied in our Constitution.”

Equal Justice Under Law seeks a declaration from the federal court that the Exclusion Ordinance unconstitutionally discriminates and penalizes individuals based off their wealth status, and seeks an injunction prohibiting the City from banishing residents simply because they are poor, and want to live in an affordable, safe, manufactured home.


Key Manufactured Home Industry Takeaway

While Equal Justice is suing on behalf of citizens who want to own an inexpensive manufactured home, this suit and a prior one that was already successful are arguably legal actions that benefit manufactured home sellers too.

The MH Industry and our industry’s millions of home owners owes a note of thanks to the Equal Justice non-profit. See related reports for more details. Editorially, MHProNews applauds such efforts.


About Equal Justice Under Law

Equal Justice Under Law offers pro bono assistance to those most in need, giving voice to the silenced and disenfranchised. Our work focuses on a range of criminal and social justice issues. Since our founding in 2014, we have filed 31 lawsuits in 12 states and Washington, DC to end wealth-based discrimination and create a justice system that is truly equal,” the nonprofit told MHProNews. ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

Footnote 1) The terminological error is in the original statement, the preferred terminology for a manufactured home, which is what these described homes are, would be single-section and multi-sectional.  Equal Justice will be advised of that, for more details on proper terminology and its significance, see the article linked here.

(Third party images, and content are provided under fair use guidelines.)

Related Reports:

“Mobile Home Ban” Suit Win, “Equal Justice Under Law,” Manufactured Home Owners, Buyers, Industry

Industry Voices

Home > association, Image, Legal, Manufactured Housing Industry Commentary, Manufactured Housing Professionals, Zoning > McCrory Lawsuit – “Significant Victory Against Zoning Discrimination” – Manufactured Homes The McCrory lawsuit is a significant victory against zoning discrimination that many working families in Arkansas face from cities and towns when they attempt to place a factory-built dwelling unit in a territorial jurisdiction governed by municipal ordinances and regulations.

What local officials may or may not realize, is that there is more than a legal cost to their town for such discrimination. There is an economic and development cost too. The report below reflects an academic view that it can costs even modest sized cities millions, and the nation trillions a year, because of discriminatory land use that harms affordable housing such as manufactured homes. Read the report and downloads from the article below for more details.

YIMBY vs. NIMBY, Obama Admin Concept Could Unlock $1.95 Trillion Annually, HUD & MH Impact


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