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 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 says it will now initiate further actions to temper, slow-down and/or reverse this increase. “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,” MHARR President, Danny D. Ghorbani, states. “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.” Thayer Long at the Manufactured Housing Institute said the issue has been on the forefront at MHI since April. Long says MHI staff met with members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development regarding the HUD Fiscal Year 2011 budget for manufactured housing. MHI told the subcommittee that HUD’s request of a $10 fee increase is not justified because production levels are down and therefore HUD’s responsibilities for standards setting and enforcement activities are reduced. Furthermore, Long says MHI argued that HUD has not carried out its responsibilities to make timely updates and changes to the Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards. Also, HUD’s responsibility to implement installation programs in the 15 states that don’t have installation programs has yet to happen. MHI told the subcommittee that, should Congress determine that a fee increase is necessary, it should be a temporary increase for just one year.
The complete statement from MHARR is available here: http://mhmsm.com/c/16