Washington, D.C., November 18, 2010 — The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) has called on Congress to reject a major proposed increase in the appropriation for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) manufactured housing program and instead direct HUD to provide more appropriated program funding to its state partners.
In a November 15, 2010 letter sent to the Appropriations Committees in both the House and Senate, and the HUD appropriations subcommittees in both chambers, MHARR urges lawmakers to make significant changes to a proposal that would increase the amount of general revenue (i.e., taxpayer) funds appropriated to the HUD program from a one-time $5.4 to $7 million (or more), coupled with an increase in the user fee currently paid by producers of manufactured housing. Based on this, MHARR will now initiate further actions to temper, slow-down and/or reverse this increase.
At a time when Congress is expected to consider spending cutbacks in the face of record federal deficits and when the production of manufactured housing has fallen sharply (40% alone between 2008 and 2009) and remains at unprecedented lows, MHARR points out that there is simply no legitimate need or justification for such an increase in program funding.
Coupled with the fact that HUD has already misused its earlier and smaller one-time $5.4 million appropriation — financing a huge regulatory expansion that is not in compliance with relevant law and maintaining high funding levels for expanded program staff and contractors, instead of implementing the long-delayed federal installation program, which remains largely stalled — Congress should refuse any budget increase for the program.
Instead, MHARR is urging Congress to maintain funding at current levels and, at the same time, direct HUD to use any appropriated general revenue funds to provide additional badly-needed revenue for State Administrative Agencies (SAA) that work together with HUD to ensure the proper enforcement of the federal manufactured housing standards. Such funding would help to restore the federal-state partnership envisioned by Congress when it passed the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974, and reverse years of HUD neglect of that partnership, which has seen the legitimate role of the states downgraded in favor of entrenched, paid contractors.
In Washington, D.C., MHARR President, Danny D. Ghorbani, stated: “Efforts by HUD to dramatically increase the manufactured housing program budget at a time like this reinforces the perception that it is insensitive to — and out of touch with — the hardships faced by the industry’s small businesses and manufactured housing consumers. While industry production continues to decline and its mostly lower and moderate-income consumers continue to suffer, HUD regulators disregard the law, while running up the bill for the program. This is unacceptable and needs to be addressed by Congress”
The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform is a Washington, D.C.-based national trade association representing the views and interests of producers of federally-regulated manufactured housing.