Thorns and Roses In Manufactured Home Community Controversy


Affordable housing is in crisis in much of America. Manufactured homes are the most proven solution that has been hiding in plain sight for decades.

 As a recent report reminded readers, there were numerous third-party organizations and media reports in 2018 alone that to various degrees made the case for manufactured homes.

A focus group video of manufactured home owners, plus numerous real – vs. staged – interviews over the years demonstrate that the owners of pre-HUD Code mobile homes and post-HUD Code manufactured homes routinely love their homes. 

Tiny houses get tons of media love. So do RVs. But manufactured homes are less costly per square foot than either of those two options. Conventional housing isn’t perfect either, as mainstream media reports reflect.

Exposé! Heartbroken Conventional Housing Buyers? Dare to Compare Site Built with Modern Manufactured Homes –

ABC News did the following exposé about the host of problems found in the conventional “site-built” housing industry. The above is one of many such videos. See another example in a local news video, below. This isn’t to pick on what D.R. Horton, or any other conventional ‘site-builder.’

 So, given each of those realites, how does one explain why manufactured homes are not more widely embraced?

As the Daily Business News on MHProNews reader ponders that question, mindful that research studies prove those points, turn to the next item.

Manufactured home communities (MHCs) are a useful part of that affordable housing solution.

MHCs have been increasingly in demand among investors for a decade or so. With few new MHCs coming on-line in recent years, and with thousands that have closed for various reasons, given the law of supply and demand, the property values on remaining MHCs have been steadily rising.

That in turn means rising site fees in MHCs, which has often sparked a hue and cry among resident-activists. 

The combination of factors has prompted a steady growth in the movement for residents owned communities or ROCs. 

While support for ROCs can span the left-right divide, it is fair to say that anecdotally, more support tends to come from those who self-identify with the political left.  

There are numerous currents and eddies that influences public perceptions about manufactured homes and communities. Despite the rollout of this or that previous effort by MHI, Clayton Homes, or others, the following reality is clear.

Manufactured homes are not connecting with the broad swatches of the public. That’s indisputably proven by the low total new home production numbers. It’s a post-production Issue.

Now, what to do about reality?


In a stated desire to boost public perceptions, ROC USA launched the #NobleNotMobile effort. The jury is still out, but so far, there’s not a lot of visible traction. That said, the notion is, well, a noble one. It is certainly better to light a candle than curse the darkness.

There are a number of resident groups in the U.S. ROCs are a standard staple in their narratives. 

Then, there are manufactured home post-production associations that have a stake in the image of the industry.

Given the collective poor performance in new home sales of any number of states, or the low national production totals of HUD Code manufactured homes, one might think that MHI, Clayton, et al, would awaken to the notion that public perceptions matter.

Indeed, their leaders have said that they do.

For those realists who grasp that public perception is an issue, consider the publicly posted comments that follow. 




Those are a sampling of what has been posted on articles about the Millie Francis religious art controversy.

When Francis was asked by MHProNews if she thought this would be an issue if the painting where a menorah, a Star of David, a painting of Buddha or the prophet Mohamed, she replied “Absolutely not.” She is convinced that an element of this issue is what is painted. Given the examples of angels or other religious art in the same community, one might wonder.

Industry feedback has been mixed.

But consider this comment from the community sector, “Tony, Brian Gallagher is right in saying that we in the community business have residents with religious or secular art visible outdoors year round. The additional details from that [mainstream news] story [Tony] posted [on LinkedIn] makes it clear to me just how wrong the Bradenton Tropical Palms seem to be.”

Others may say that they care, but they also say that for this or that reason, they don’t want to get involved in this specific controversy.

Why not? Is it because religion is involved? Doesn’t that topic resonate with potentially millions of Americans our industry may want to attract?  Or would we rather turn that – and other target audiences off – by allowing this Bradenton Tropical Palms/ROC issue to fester?

Meanwhile, the Millie Francis saga rolls on. There is every reason to expect more mainstream news stories, like the one below, or perhaps more reports that have less balance that could make the matter worse. Take five, click the image or link, and read it.


Thorns and Roses in MHVille

Various species of natural roses have thorns. With one in 3 new manufactured homes, per MHI, going into land lease communities and with large numbers of vacant sites still awaiting residents, one might think that MHI or their NCC would have acted to nip-in-the-bud stories like this one about Francis. 

No one is saying that MHI, ROCs, resident groups – or anyone other than the Bradenton Tropical Palms, Vanguard Management or the Knox and Levine law firm – have caused the current state of affairs for Millie Francis, based upon the currently known information. 

But just as one may stop to help an injured stranger, isn’t there wisdom in trying to sort out how this matter might be brought to a positive end that could turn negatives into a positive?

At Valentines, some clip the thorns off roses before they are given to a loved one. Why hasn’t one or more of the industry’s leaders stood up to the plate, and turned a problem into an opportunity?

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MH Black Eye, or Opportunity in Disguise? Vexing Saga of Millie Francis’ Faith Based Art, Bradenton Tropical Palms ROC, Vanguard Management, Knox and Levine


Publisher L.A. ‘Tony’ Kovach’s commentary on this topic is linked above. More details are found linked below the byline, offers, and notices.   manufactured home “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)


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Puzzling Case of Millie Francis, Where are Religious Liberty, Fair Housing, Resident, and Manufactured Home Organizational Defenders? –

Facts are at times uncomfortable. At others times, the realities of life are truly a puzzle. What follows is arguably the single-most covered topic in the mainstream news media involving mobile or manufactured home living at this time.

State-Level Data Provided for Total Manufactured Home Shipments in 5 Key States for 2018

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