The recent Federal Housing Finance Administration (FHFA) listening session in Washington, D.C. and their aftermath have added wrinkles to a growing body of evidence of corrupt and harmful practices purportedly involving federal officials, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, certain business and related nonprofits.
To oversimplify, aspects of federal laws that aimed at making housing more affordable have been turned on their heads. Black non-profit and business leaders indicated that the data is clear. Minorities are suffering a vast injustice in how Fannie and Freddie treat them vs. whites.
The cumulative effect of that racial inequality could top a trillion dollars. Failure to deal with that issue could result in serious upheaval. Some 50 years after the Kerner Commission, laws meant to rebalance social injustice are arguably being twisted to add to them. It is a staggering injustice that merits a separate article planned for the days ahead.
Manufactured home community residents made their case that when the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs or Enterprises) of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac are financing certain companies with problematic business practices, they are making living in those communities less affordable.
Those residents specifically named Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) member companies Havenpark Capital and ‘Frank and Dave’ run RV Horizons – now Impact Communities. In their own words, they explained how the GSEs financing or refinancing land-lease communities makes more money for those who in turn are jacking up site fees (a.k.a. ‘lot rents’) at rates far higher than MHI EVP and CEO-elect Lesli Gooch wants to admit occurs. After listening to several testify to their experience of double digit rent hikes, in an arguably tone-deaf fashion, she restated MHI’s claim that the average increase in lot rents are only 3 percent. Perhaps so…for non-predatory community operators.
Others in articles linked below likewise sounded alarms. Of course, there are defenders of the GSEs and FHFA. It is interesting to note that some of them have arguably benefited from the status quo.
Thus, reasonably nestled near the heart of all these troubling claims is this notion. This couldn’t occur without some level of collusion and corruption between officials at FHFA, Fannie and Freddie. That would have natural tie-ins with certain nonprofits and corporate interests that give them cover, because they benefit from the existing state of affairs.
In art and sculptures, ‘Lady Justice’ is often depicted as being blindfolded. She holds scales in one hand, a sword in the other. The meaning is symbolic. Justice is supposed to be equally applied. Issues like race, wealth or positions of power are what justice is supposed to ignore – rigorously enforcing the law with the power of the sword.
Just as good laws meant to foster more affordable home ownership are being turned on their heads, the meaning of the blindfolded lady justice symbolism is capable of a new meaning. Justice that ignores the plight of minorities, the elderly, those seeking to protect or obtain affordable housing are getting the ‘blind eye.’ Those eyes blindfolded to the outcry in Washington, D.C. or prior listening sessions merit attention and remedial action.
Despite the claim that there is ‘transparency’ in the process, a simple Google search reveals something rather different. Isn’t it obvious that FHFA, Fannie, Freddie – or others – could have brought mainstream media attention to these listening sessions? While there are search results to be found under the ‘all results’ tab, for those looking specifically for news there is at this time no result found.
Which begs the question. Is this transparency? Or are these listening sessions merely a mechanism to allow people to vent and hopefully go away?
As usual, there are an array of topics in the articles below. The latest general housing and manufactured home production and shipment data are among them. More on DTS along with other issues awaits.
So, with no further adieu, let’s look at the headlines and the text/image boxes linked to their respective reports. These cover reports, fact-checks, and commentary from 12.1 to 12.8.2019.
What’s New on Manufactured Home Living News
What’s New from Washington D.C. from MHARR
What’s New on the Masthead
What’s New on the Daily Business News on MHProNews
That’s a wrap on this edition of the manufactured housing trade media’s #1 source for “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © (Sunday weekly headlines recap, news, fact-checks, analysis, and commentary.)
Submitted by Soheyla Kovach for MHProNews.com.
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