Whatever someone’s politics may be, reality is what it is. The Washington, D.C. based Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) has for decades established a history of dealing with reality.
Earlier today, MHARR issued the first of what will be a series of media releases based on their initial analysis of Biden Executive Orders (EOs), and other change-of-power details as it relates to HUD, the FHFA, and beyond.
Their initial report below will be followed by an MHProNews analysis and commentary.
IN THIS REPORT: FEBRUARY 2, 2021
BIDEN INTENSIFIES FOCUS ON AFFORDABLE HOUSING
President Biden, in an Executive Memorandum issued on January 26, 2021, has set out policies designed to intensify the federal government’s commitment to ensuring affordable housing opportunities for lower and moderate-income Americans, and particularly groups that have suffered from “systemic barriers to safe, accessible and affordable housing,” including “people of color, immigrants [and] individuals with disabilities,” among other people in need of affordable housing. MHARR distributed a copy of this memorandum on January 27, 2021 and noted that it would provide a further analysis of the President’s policy directive in relation to federally-regulated manufactured housing. That analysis, as further detailed below, indicates that while the substantive goals of federal housing policy have not changed significantly with this new directive, major differences in the approach, pace, and forcefulness of the implementation of those goals within the Department of Housing and Urban Development are likely going forward. With these changes, MHARR will recalibrate its approach to all aspects of federal policy pertaining to manufactured housing, in order to advance key objectives under the industry’s two good federal laws – laws that for too long have been hijacked, twisted, distorted, and misappropriated to benefit corporate conglomerates and more affluent constituencies, rather than people in need of affordable housing as specifically identified by President Biden.
At the outset, despite cosmetic differences in presentation and emphasis, it is important to recognize that the substantive character of the Biden Administration’s housing policy is not significantly different from that of the Trump Administration – i.e., ensuring the greatest possible availability of affordable housing, homeownership, and related home financing for Americans in need of affordable housing. This fundamental goal directly aligns with the unique strengths and abilities of the HUD Code manufactured housing industry and with the objectives and interests of the industry’s smaller, independent businesses, as represented by MHARR. The key difference between the two administrations, by contrast, is likely to inhere in the nature and degree of effective implementation of those policies, particularly within HUD. President Trump, for his part, as a private business executive before becoming president, had a tendency to delegate policy implementation to agency personnel without forceful or effective follow-up and oversight. As a result, many good policy initiatives were either scuttled, distorted, or endlessly delayed by institutional resistance within agency bureaucracies (see, articles below). President Biden, on the other hand, as a long-time Washington, D.C. veteran and insider, knows how the federal bureaucracy functions and can reasonably be expected to put in place the type of oversight necessary to ensure that administration policies are actually implemented for the benefit of people in need of affordable housing.
Just as importantly, the timing of these changes in the implementation of policies designed to help people in need of affordable housing, could not be better for the industry’s small businesses and for the lower and moderate-income Americans who rely the most on affordable, mainstream manufactured housing. Despite the fact that the industry today is building its best homes ever, access for many Americans to the industry’s mainstream affordable homes has either been totally blocked or severely diminished by zoning laws that discriminatorily exclude manufactured housing from many areas of the country and by the absence of federal support for the vast bulk of the industry’s consumer financing. And while good laws designed to remedy these issues have been enacted by Congress – i.e., the enhanced preemption provision of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 and the Duty to Serve (DTS) provision of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA) – those laws have either been ignored or knowingly subverted to serve the interests of powerful corporate conglomerates rather than people in need of affordable housing (see, article below, “New DTS Plans Backtrack on Chattel Loan Support”). Now, though, with an intensified emphasis and focus on the availability of affordable homeownership for people actually in need of that homeownership, rather than corporate oligarchs or wealthier homebuyers, the true objectives of those laws can and must be realized after far too many false starts and failures.
Put differently, manufactured housing has always been economically available as a housing option for virtually all Americans due to its inherent affordability. Now it is time to make manufactured housing practically available to all Americans, including those who have previously been excluded from the HUD Code market due to baseless discrimination in local land use mandates, or non-existent federally-based support for manufactured home consumer lending.
Based on the above, MHARR has developed a plan of action to work with the Biden Administration and Congress to help manufactured housing meet not only the objectives of the last two presidential administrations, but also the full purposes and objectives of federal law as set out by Congress in the 2000 reform law. With respect to the Duty to Serve, MHARR will take the lead in opposing and correcting the worsening misuse and abuse of DTS by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and their federal regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) which seek to direct it away from mainstream, affordable HUD Code manufactured housing and people in need of such genuinely affordable housing, and instead benefit a handful of industry conglomerates and the more affluent consumers that they – i.e., Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHFA would prefer to deal with (see, DTS article below). Similarly, regarding discriminatory and exclusionary zoning and placement edicts, MHARR will intensify its ongoing efforts to utilize not only the enhanced federal preemption of the 2000 reform law, but also the likely-to-be reinvigorated implementation of HUD’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) construct in order to benefit people in need of affordable housing as prioritized by the Biden Administration. Moreover, in all respects, MHARR will rely upon those same Biden Administration priorities to promote fair and reasonable regulatory policies that benefit those same people in need of affordable housing.
Finally, as part of this plan of action, MHARR will now openly identify those within the industry — and some outside — who seek to distort or subvert federal affordable housing policy for their own selfish ends, while diverting or slowing the implementation of the industry’s good laws (e.g., DTS, enhanced federal preemption and the consensus and rulemaking requirements of the 2000 reform law) to benefit the industry’s largest businesses rather than the industry as a whole and Americans in need of affordable housing. All too often in the past, these good laws have been undermined by such actors who make a public show of supporting their full and proper implementation, while actually working behind the scenes for their own ends, thus enabling the dysfunction that has allowed HUD, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHFA and others to engage in prolonged patterns of misuse and abuse. This has had a substantial cost for both the industry and people in need of affordable housing, which MHARR now plans to expose in an effort to change the status quo and advance genuine, positive change.
MHARR will submit this plan to its Board of Directors at its upcoming meeting, for confirmation and implementation.
Additional Information, MHProNews Analysis and Commentary
The following are pull-quotes from the Democratic Party’s 2020 Platform document linked here.
On page 19 of that Democratic Party document, are the following pull-quotes.
- “Homeownership is at the center of the American Dream—and yet it has never been in reach for all.”
- “Homeownership has long been central to building generational wealth, and expanding access to homeownership to those who have been unfairly excluded and discriminated against is critical to closing the racial wealth gap. We have a nationwide shortage of affordable housing units, and tens of millions of Americans live in homes that pose risks to their health and safety.”
So far, that could have been a statement made by Trump Administration HUD Secretary Ben Carson, M.D., who said the following.
Returning to the DNC document, also starting on page 19, are the following statements.
- “Housing in America should be stable, accessible, safe, healthy, energy efficient, and, above all, affordable. No one should have to spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing, so families have ample resources left to meet their other needs and save for retirement.”
- “Democrats believe the government should take aggressive steps to increase the supply of housing, especially affordable housing, and address long-standing economic and racial inequities in our housing markets.”
- “Democrats are committed to ending homelessness in America.”
- “America’s history of using public policy and private lending restrictions to close neighborhoods off to Black families and other people of color and strip equity from their communities is long, painful, and unresolved to this day.”
Note that each of these are concerns raised by MHProNews over a period of years.
Returning to Democratic policy positions, starting on page 21, under “Curbing Wall Street Abuses,” is the following.
- “The scars of the financial crisis that triggered the Great Recession are still present in our economy and our society. Banks should never be “too big to fail.”…”
- “We will strengthen and enforce the Obama-Biden Administration’s Dodd-Frank financial reform law, including the Volcker Rule, to protect American workers from the impacts of future financial crises, and will support an updated and modernized version of Glass-Steagall.”
Also starting on page 21, is the section entitled “Ending Poverty.”
- “Democrats remain committed to ending poverty and enabling all Americans to live up to their God-given potential. We recognize that the official poverty rate, as measured and communicated by the federal government, fails to capture critical needs like housing, education, health care, transportation, energy, and other necessities, and therefore understates the true share of Americans living in poverty…”
Jumping forward to page 23, is the following section called “Tackling Runaway Corporate Concentration.”
- “Democrats are concerned that the increase in corporate concentration across a wide range of industries, from hospitals and pharmaceutical companies to agribusiness and retail chains, could be stifling competition and innovation and creating monopoly conditions that harm consumers. We will direct federal regulators to review a subset of the mergers and acquisitions that have taken place since President Trump took office, prioritizing the pharmaceutical, health care, telecommunications, and agricultural industries, to assess whether any have increased market concentration, raised consumer prices, demonstrably harmed workers, increased racial inequality, reduced competition, or constricted innovation, and assign appropriate remedies. Democrats will direct regulators to consider potential effects of future mergers on the labor market, on low-income and marginalized communities, and on racial equity, as well as on consumer prices and market competition. And as a last resort, regulators should consider breaking up corporations if they find they are using their market power to engage in anti-competitive activities.”
Again, the entire Democratic Party document that these quotes are pulled from is linked here.
There are several specific points in the Democratic platform positions cited above, which if they were properly implemented, would benefit tens of millions of people. That would include manufactured home residents, renters, downsizers or upsizers, manufactured housing independents, investors, affordable housing advocates, and other professionals. Let’s note that as an independent publisher, MHProNews is NOT changing it’s well-reasoned and often-stated legal concerns and stances regarding Biden-Harris.
Rather, we are hereby stating that as a trade publisher, will hold them to their own words and stated aims. We will call BS as needed. They pledged to be there for “All Americans,” including those “who did not vote” for them. Was that sincere? Are those pull quotes from the DNC policy positions sincere?
Let’s see how that works out in practice, shall we?
The Biden-Harris bureaucracy can start with the revelations found in the report liked below.
MHProNews has already started outreaches to various federal agencies regarding the allegations above. Additional follow up is planned.
MHProNews and/or our MHLivingNews sister site will report as warranted. Because it isn’t about flowery promises pre-election. Rather, it is about the actual performance now that Biden-Harris have taken power.
Stay tuned for more of what is ‘behind the curtains’ as well as what is obvious and in your face reports. It is all here, at the runaway largest and most-read source for authentic manufactured home “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use” © 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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