Washington, D.C., January 26, 2011 – The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) has submitted testimony to a key congressional committee detailing the drastic decline of the federally-regulated manufactured housing industry and urging Congress to intervene and conduct further oversight into the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs responsible for regulating the industry and supporting manufactured home financing for millions of lower and moderate-income American consumers. (See attached comprehensive package).
The January 26, 2011 House Financial Services Committee hearing, entitled “Promoting Economic Recovery and Job Creation: The Road Forward” is, according to the Committee, the first in a series of hearings to review the roadblocks that small businesses face, including “mixed messages” from federal regulators, “competitive disadvantages” created by government policies and a climate of “regulatory uncertainty.” In announcing the hearing, Committee Chairman, Spencer Bachus (R-AL), noted, If we are to enjoy a full economic recovery, new job creation must come from the private sector…and this hearing is just the beginning of our work to ensure government is encouraging, not inhibiting, job creation and economic recovery.”
As MHARR’s testimony explains, however, it is government policies – specifically HUD’s failure to fully and properly implement the reforms of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 and other relevant consumer finance laws – that lie at the root of a severe decade-plus decline that has cut manufactured home production by 87% and has led to the closure of nearly two-thirds of the industry’s manufacturing plants, with huge job losses in the industry’s production, retail and community development sectors, as well as related industries (e.g., component and product suppliers, installers, transporters and others).
This testimony is among the first steps by MHARR to implement a plan of action adopted by the Association in November 2010, based on the fundamental shift in the political climate and priorities in Washington, D.C. growing out of the results of the November 2010 congressional elections. It documents and explains HUD’s failure, since 2000, to fully and properly implement laws passed with overwhelming bi-partisan support by different Congresses, and the need to reverse these policies in order to revive the industry and ensure the availability of affordable non-subsidized home ownership for millions of lower and moderate-income families. As such, it is a key element of MHARR’s broader program, which is designed to fully engage Congress on multiple fronts, including the deterioration of the federal program; continued discrimination against manufactured housing and particularly the industry’s smaller businesses; investigation of the ways that regulators have undermined relevant laws; and an examination of the HUD program’s runaway budget and appropriations, which have enabled a costly expansion of regulation by the Department and its contractors – despite sharply reduced production – at the expense of revenue-deprived state agencies that, by law, are the first line of protection for consumers.
In Washington, D.C., MHARR President, Danny D. Ghorbani, stated: “With major shifts in the Washington, D.C. political climate resulting from the November 2010 elections, including the Administration’s sharp new focus on regulation and jobs, especially relating to small businesses, the manufactured housing industry has a golden opportunity to press for real reform of discrimination against the industry and consumers of affordable housing in the nation’s capital, in ways that could lead to recovery from the alarming decline of the past twelve years.” Ghorbani continued, “Real progress, though, is not going to come from the industry’s boilerplate go-along-to-get-along approach in Washington, D.C., which has sacrificed the interests of the industry and American consumers for a feel-good atmosphere while the industry is at the brink and consumers cannot obtain the affordable home ownership that they need and want.”
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.