It’s been a year since Hurricane Irma, and the headlines now are focused upon other matters, including the still-developing post-storm conditions in the Carolinas, which President Donald J. Trump visited yesterday.
We’ll get to the news from the White House, as well as other sources about the visit to the Carolinas, and how it all relates to manufactured housing further below. But we’ll start with a flashback to Hurricane Irma.
Because it reflects a story that received surprisingly little attention in manufactured home circles before now. It was President Donald J. Trump’s visit to a manufactured home land lease community that was hit by Hurricane Irma.
There are times that frankly MHProNews and/or MHLivingNews wants to be ‘first’ with a story, or to be the first to do a fact-check or spotlight of a mainstream media report.
But there are other times that it can be more revealing when our publisher decides, “Let’s wait. Let’s see what others in the industry do with this story before we weigh in.”
Why didn’t the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), or others make a big splash out of the following?
CBS News saw fit to cover the visit of the president to a land-lease community in the Naples, FL area.
“In Fort Myers, President Trump praised Florida Gov. Rick Scott for the response to Hurricane Irma. Aboard Marine One, the president and first lady got an aerial view of the destruction in Naples. They also visited a mobile home park that was badly damaged. Carter Evans reports.” CBS did more than verbally report the tour, they included video clips of President Trump in that manufactured home community. See that, in the video that follows.
“Was this a good vote?” President Trump asks a man in the video posted above. The gentleman and president were spotlighted talking in that manufactured home community. After the man replied in the affirmative about his vote, saying it was – “The best,” POTUS Trump repeated and emphasized the resident’s comment: “The best vote of his life.”
Perhaps the 45th president knew that he did well with millions of manufactured home residents, per extrapolation of surveys like those conducted by the New York Times and MHProNews?
Contrast and Compare…
Where was President Barack Obama in those damage tours in the aftermath of Super Storm Sandy? There is no evidence we can find with Google searches that former President Obama ever visited a manufactured home community. Why not? After all, Warren Buffett, the Clintons, and Kevin Clayton all had their respective ties to the 44th president. A recent report related to those ties is found below, and can be read later.
But isn’t it likewise an embarrassment that the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), the industry’s self-proclaimed post-production association, failed to promote the visit by President Trump a year ago? How could MHI fail to promote the event where President Trump, Vice-President Mike Pence, and Governor Rick Scott went to that MH community, to meet with residents, and hand out food and drink? Isn’t part of the value of a ‘photo op’ all about those people, places, promotions, and products that are in the background or foreground of the story?
Presidents Nixon, Ford, and Carter are among those that made a direct connection to the pre-HUD Code mobile home business, and/or the post-code manufactured housing industry. We see that President Trump made a personal visit to a community. His HUD Secretary, Ben Carson, promised greater cooperation with the manufactured home industry.
Now, compare that to former Presidents Carter or Obama.
Is it any wonder that manufactured housing is struggling to get back to 100,000 annual shipments, when by comparison, the RV industry is selling about 5 times as many of their units compared to manufactured homes?
There will be more in the near future on the visit by President Trump to that manufactured home community, planned for MHLivingNews and MHProNews too.
Let’s pivot to events from Hurricane Florence.
AFP had this video from a manufactured home community in the storm’s path. There are reports of flooded manufactured home industry locations and homes in the Carolinas.
There is a process that must be navigated for FEMA assistance. Flooding must subside, and related issues on identifying locations for placing FEMA MHU temporary homes are among the issues that lie ahead. For more on that, see related reports, linked further below.
Manufactured Home Industry Takeaways?
During the Obama Administration –
- Pam Danner at HUD,
- no help from FHFA and the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs),
- and more were all part of the manufactured home industry’s reality.
Keep in mind that:
- Combined with what Warren Buffett’s Berkshire brands reportedly did – along with the Clinton/Clayton report (see above), is it any surprise that HUD Code manufactured housing slipped to their lowest level ever during the Obama years?
By contrast, President Donald Trump has kept his promises to create more jobs, and lower regulatory barriers and taxes that harmed businesses of all sizes.
- Former President Obama threatened to veto Preserving Access, which never passed the Senate. By contrast, when S 2155 passed, President Trump was glad to sign it.
- During the Obama era, deep blue Democrat Pam Danner, JD, was put in charge of the Office of Manufactured Housing Programs (OMHP). By contrast, under HUD Secretary Carson – who called the regulations put in place during the Obama-Danner era “ridiculous” – Danner was moved out, and her former MHI VP and Danner ally, Lois Starkey, was for whatever reasons dismissed from service at HUD. The word heard is that Starkey is appealing.
Affordable housing and manufactured homes ought to be non-partisan or bi-partisan issues. Regrettably, that’s not always the case, as the above linked bullets and reports reflect.
An industry producer told MHProNews that during the Obama era, a federal official told him and his colleagues to their faces that, “You’re nothing but a bunch of Republicans!” As if that was a crime or sin?
The New York Times reported that Washington in the prior election voted for “Barack Obama won District of Columbia in 2012 by 83.6 percentage points.” CityLab said in 2016 that Secretary Hillary Clinton won 68.2 percent of the vote in the metro that included Washington, D.C.
Manufactured housing professionals should be under no illusions about the difference between how the most recent Democratic administration – former President Obama – treated manufactured housing, vs. how President Trump’s administration has behaved towards our home owners and the industry.
Washington, D.C. is a highly partisan town, tilting strongly Democratic. That fact will matter in reports that are yet to come. Stay tuned.
That’s this morning’s “News through the lens of manufactured homes, and factory-built housing,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © (News, analysis, and commentary.)
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