Some documents merit more than one look. On July 10, 2019 the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) produced a report that could have been written by a new writer being groomed for MHProNews. It raised several fine points. Let’s look at a few of them.
“As Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson has recently said, “manufactured housing is stepping out of the limestone, and into the limelight…”
Editorially, we’d concur with that segment of the quoted statement. We’d also agree with what follows from that same July 10, MHI document.
“Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies’ (JCHS) “State of the Nation’s Housing” report, presents analysis suggesting that if current inventory shortages persist, costs will continue to rise. In an accompanying press release, Chris Herbert, managing director of JCHS, stated, “To ensure that the market can produce homes that meet the diverse needs of the growing U.S. population, the public, private, and nonprofit sectors must address constraints on the development process.” This is where manufactured housing presents an unparalleled opportunity to provide market-wide relief.”
Well said by MHI.
What follows is good too. The next few paragraphs were all penned by someone at, by, or for MHI. Let’s check it out. As MHProNews has often done for years, we may take direct quotes and turn them bold and brown to make them ‘pop‘ or stand out, but otherwise leave the text as in the original.
“As efficiency in production is inextricably linked to a market’s ability to meet supply demands, manufactured housing outperforms other housing production processes. The innovative methods and systems afforded by the factory building process allows manufactured homes to be produced at the highest quality standards, with remarkable efficiency; all of which are translated to the consumer in quality and cost savings.
As efficiency in production is inextricably linked to a market’s ability to meet supply demands, manufactured housing outperforms other housing production processes. The innovative methods and systems afforded by the factory building process allows manufactured homes to be produced at the highest quality standards, with remarkable efficiency; all of which are translated to the consumer in quality and cost savings.
In a market where families feel that homeownership is out of reach, with the biggest obstacle being affordability, or lack thereof, access to manufactured housing couldn’t be more important. Freddie Mac recently reported that 82% of renters view renting as more affordable than homeownership – an increase of 15% from February 2018. Included in the same report, which details survey data on affordability issues, Freddie Mac presented the following data, illustrating Americans’ experiences with housing affordability:
• 51% of Americans have made spending or housing changes to afford their monthly housing payment.
• 44% of renters and 35% of owners who had trouble affording their housing payment over the last two years reported having to move to afford housing costs.
• Over half of workers employed in the essential workforce (e.g., teachers, nurses and law enforcement) have made housing decisions with their student loan repayment obligations in mind.
• Half of owners and 44% of renters in the essential workforce say they had to make different housing choices to afford daycare. Manufactured housing offers an alternative…”
Indeed, several of these are points that MHProNews and/or MHLivingNews has raised for years. So once, more, we applaud those comments.
That said, what’s up with the headline and graphic for this report? Why does it say “Manufactured Hypocrisy Institute” instead of the proper version of their own name?
This next two paragraphs by MHI are classic, and will shed light on that query further below.
“Manufactured housing offers an alternative to consumers and MHI is working to make sure they have access to homeownership through manufactured housing. To help policymakers understand and join this effort, MHI worked with its members to ensure HUD Code manufactured homes were the centerpiece of HUD Secretary Carson’s “Innovative Housing Showcase,” which featured three fully-furnished manufactured homes on display on America’s front lawn – the National Mall. Secretary Carson kicked off the showcase, highlighted manufactured housing in his remarks, explaining that manufactured housing’s “dramatic cost savings in construction enable responsible citizens to secure housing that may be considerably less expensive than renting or purchasing a sitebuilt home.”
The above is a mix of apparent spin, deception, and accuracy, but let’s go on to their near final paragraph before dissecting it.
“During an Open House hosted by MHI on the National Mall, Members of Congress, including Representatives Kathleen Rice (D-NY), Marc Veasey (D-TX), Michael Guest (R-MS), and Robert Aderholt (R-AL), walked from meetings and votes on Capitol Hill to learn more about the quality and attainability of today’s manufactured homes.”
Why did only 4 members of Congress make the short walk, taxi, or Uber ride down to the National Mall? Nice that MHI named the four, but what about the 100 senators or others among the total of 435 members of the House? Where is MHI’s self-proclaimed clout? Where were the dozens who have received MHI PAC money over the years? Perhaps more important, why did MHI wait so long to specifically address HUD Secretary Carson on the topic of enhanced preemption? More on that further below.
Satire and MHI
Satire can be useful to make a point. Synonyms for satire are: wit, sarcasm, irony, mockery and ridicule. Hmmm, ponder those as you read what follows.
In the first pull-quote above, let’s look at the entire paragraph, not just part of it.
“Recent reports reinforce concerns about a worsening housing supply shortage across the nation. As families across the country grapple with a housing market that currently fails to provide sufficient supply, driving up costs and setting attainable housing further out of reach, MHI is working with federal policymakers to ensure federal policies and regulations promote and support manufactured housing. As Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson has recently said, “manufactured housing is stepping out of the limestone, and into the limelight,” thanks to MHI’s efforts.”
Up until those last four words, “thanks to MHI’s efforts,” that’s aimed at providing more red meat for manufactured housing industry professionals and investors and had much merit. What makes those last four words worthy of satire and arguably earning a first-place award win hypocrisy, are the following.
· MHI may have indeed provided some phrasing and facts to HUD Secretary Carson’s office, for his writer’s use. As far as that goes, in fairness, that’s fine.
· However, what makes this a good case for the word “hypocrisy” will follow the synonyms for that word, which are: “insincerity, pretense, duplicity, two-facedness, falseness.”
· What has come into sharper focus in recent months is a purported pattern of MHI posturing – a pretense – for their industry readers, but doing something quite different with the general public.
Cases in point:
1) nowhere on MHI’s website at the time that this article is being drafted is HUD Secretary Carson’s 2018 or 2019 speeches to be found. Why not? As evidence, here are screen captures from the date shown, well after those speeches by Dr. Carson, which could prove useful if easily found on MHI’s website.
Also on July 10, 2019, MHI published the information below. It projects more ‘photo ops’ in an apparent effort to reflect their self-proclaimed clout. It includes a photo of Executive Vice President (EVP) Lesli Gooch, Ph.D., who some sources suggest is a front-runner to fill the retiring Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison’s job as president of MHI toward the end of this year.
MHI has high profile members who have called them out literally for hypocrisy. An example is shown below.
But the point for today isn’t to go through a litany of those currently or previously at or with MHI who have blasted the organization for hypocrisy or years of ineffectiveness. A good sense of that for new readers is found in the 600 word executive summary linked below.
Rather, it is to illuminate that they understand the issues, as their own words demonstrate. Yet despite their understanding of the issues, they have for years – and still now – are offering purported fig leaves or head fakes. They say nice things from time to time. But they fail to connect nice words with effective deeds.
Classic examples are touting the good things that Secretary Carson has said, while failing – until recently under pressure – to get HUD to focus on enhanced preemption. See the report linked above for more details on why that matters now.
As a result of a series of issues within the scope of MHI’s mandate, there is a ten month year-over-year slide in new HUD Code manufactured home shipments, which means declining sales during an affordable housing crisis. Posturing is not performance. Posturing is often arguably a reflection of hypocrisy and corruption. See the related reports below the byline and notices for more. Declining sales arguably means a lower value for numerous existing businesses in manufactured housing. That in turn means that when consolidation occurs, it happens at a discounted price from the intrinsic value of that business.
That’s today’s first look at manufactured housing “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)
Submitted by Soheyla Kovach for MHProNews.com.
Soheyla is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com. Connect with us on LinkedIn here and here.
Click the image/text box below to access relevant, related information.