“A recent article in the Washington Post regarding the HUD manufactured housing program and the reassignment of former program administrator, Pamela Danner, vividly highlights the glaring need for a new, independent, collective, national trade association to more effectively represent the industry’s post-production sector,” said Mark Weiss in the latest MHARR Issues and Perspectives.
Weiss, is an attorney by trade, and is the president and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR).
Weiss and MHARR were cited and interviewed in award-winning Juliet Eilperin’s documented Washington Post report 3 weeks ago. Eilperin laid out the tug-of-war over the HUD Code manufactured housing program, past, present and future. Mark Weiss, Pamela Danner, Lois Starkey, Lesli Gooch, were among those named and quoted. So too was Doug Ryan of Prosperity Now.
HUD Secretary Ben Carson drew serious attention from the Washington Post (WaPo), as did others at HUD.
The View from MHARR
“While the Post article, published May 2, 2018, was surprisingly objective in describing MHARR’s successful effort to change the leadership of the HUD program following the election of President Trump (noting that the Manufactured Housing Institute, by contrast, “did not weight-in on [Pamela] Danner’s reassignment”), the story concluded with an all-to-typically-negative account of late-2017 post-production enforcement activity by HUD regulators focused on homes sited in a Massachusetts manufactured housing community. That HUD and a Washington Post reporter would focus on a post-production regulatory issue and related post-production enforcement activity, however, is not, in itself, surprising, given HUD’s evolving – and expanding — regulatory emphasis on post-production matters and post production issues,” wrote Weiss.
To rephrase, Weiss is saying that the article the WaPo article spotlighted several trends from recent years. These include a growing encroachment by HUD on the installation of homes, among other problematic developments.
“Indeed, such growing emphasis by HUD and its defacto enforcement contractors (i.e., the Institute for Building Safety and Technology and SEBA Professional Services, L.L.C.) – and others — on post-production issues and post-production targets, is an entirely predictable by-product of the success of the industry’s production sector in two crucial areas, and represents a major challenge that the broader industry must now step-up to effectively address and resolve,” said Weiss.
“As with everything else, though, success within the production realm has been paralleled by challenges in other areas which the industry has failed – and continues to fail — to effectively address, precisely because it lacks an independent, collective, national voice to lead and advocate on those matters on behalf of the industry’s post-production sector. And, as the Washington Post article demonstrates, with just a single example, those challenges will continue to fester and expand, limiting the growth potential of the industry as a whole and the availability of inherently affordable manufactured housing for millions of lower and moderate-income American families, unless and until this underlying issue is properly addressed and resolved,” MHARR’s release to MHProNews stated.
A Step Back, Before Moving Ahead
In an on the record statement a week ago, the following on-the-record message came in to the MHProNews.
“Tony, Excellent lead article in your Saturday [Daily Business News] blog.”
The article referred to is linked below.
“You [MHProNews] now have placed the industry’s decades-long failure with its lack of a collective independent national post production representation in Washington, DC on top of its list of priorities and at the center of its debate going forward,” said the message from a RV MH Hall of Fame industry veteran.
“Until and unless this glaring failure [to create a meaningful post-production association] is addressed and resolved soon, the industry’s snail pace of progress, with its resulting federal, state and local damaging setbacks, will continue, and indeed multiply unabated.”
“Hopefully, the industry’s cooler heads will prevail on this most pressing matter, this time around.
Ghorbani, as long-time industry veterans recall, worked for the predecessor of what became the Manufactured Housing Institute IMHI). Ghorbani later was a key player in the creation of what today is known as the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, (MHARR), and became its first president.
While Ghorbani is officially retired, he is still an active advisor to MHARR. He takes part in many key meetings, as the photo with HUD Secretary Ben Carson above reflects.
As several industry members and observers have noted, a past squabble between Ghorbani and MHProNews publisher L. A. “Tony” Kovach was privately discussed and resolved some years ago.
While MHProNews and MHARR are independent of one another, the two often have similar perspectives on key issues; with each party bringing its own unique experiences to bear on industry topics.
MHARR’s Call for a New Post-Production Association
MHARR is not interested in being that new post-production association, as a report they published last year made clear.
But MHARR has stated that they are willing to lend their expertise, and experience in helping independent retailers, communities, lenders, and others to forge their own post-production association.
With an affordable housing crisis growing in scope, it is almost inconceivable to some industry observers and professionals that HUD Code manufactured housing is hovering at only an estimated 100,000 shipments projected for 2018.
An effective post-production association is an important part of the cure for that ailment.
As Weiss said in part of today’s newly published report, “…the modern industry’s unequalled ability to produce safe, high-quality homes that comply with all applicable federal standards, at an inherently affordable price-point. Data compiled on behalf of HUD proves this point.”
“In the July 2015 edition of the “MHARR Viewpoint,” MHARR observed that according to HUD’s federal dispute resolution contractor, of the 123,174 HUD Code manufactured homes placed in 23 federally-administered dispute resolution (DR) “default” states between 2008 and 2014, only 24 homes — or .019% — were referred to federal dispute resolution, a process encompassing, and available to, homeowners, producers and installers. Of those 24 referrals, only 3 – or .002% — were found to actually qualify for dispute resolution under applicable HUD regulations. Given those undisputed facts, MHARR pointed out that federal DR referrals “are a direct barometer of compliance with the relevant construction and installation standards, and the responsiveness of regulated parties (including manufacturers, installers and retailers) to homebuyers.”
Summing up, the quality of the HUD Code manufactured home industry’s product has never been better, and federal data proves it.
The industry accomplished the removal of Danner from her widely-construed as harmful impact to manufactured housing, thanks in no small part to the intervention of MHARR with HUD, as the Washington Post documented.
The Washington Post report made also clarified that fact based upon MHI SVP Lesli Gooch’s own statement. Gooch told WaPo that the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) took no part in the removal of Pam Danner. That was a stunningly tone-deaf response to industry members, with many in MHI, calling for Danner’s ouster.
That failure of MHI to act is but one more reason for a new post-production association. Such a body would arguably save the industry’s members money, and also help them penetrate markets they are now limited in.
MHI’s admission from Gooch – via WaPo’s report – ought to cause MHI supporters to rethink their lack of response to their own grass roots on that hot-button Pam Danner issue.
The entire MHARR Issues and Perspectives for June 2018 on the topic of the industry’s need for an effective, independent post-production association is linked here. ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)
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