Archive for January, 2019

Answer to Last Week’s Blog Question!

Thursday, January 24th, 2019

Blog # 518; Copyright @ 2019; www.educatemhc.com
Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

This blog posting is sole national advocate, official ombudsman, historian, research reporter, education resource & online communication media for North American land lease communities

To input this blog, &/or affiliate with EducateMHC, formerly Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, or COBA7, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764

To subscribed to the Allen Letter, CLICK HERE To buy 30th annual ALLEN REPORT, CLICK HERE
To subscribe to the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! business journal, CLICK HERE

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ And, goal for online media? To inform, opine, and help transform and improve manufactured housing and land lease community performance!

INTRODUCTION: Every once in a while, not usually often, one gets a rare opportunity to ‘take the pulse’ of their industry. This is one of those occasions. Started asking ‘the question’ posed in Part I of this week’s blog posting, a month or two ago – but received no answers. But NOW we have answers from ‘people in the know’. What follows here is the tip of the proverbial iceberg. To experience the whole story, you’ll have to read the February issue of the Allen Letter. Available to you via www.educatemhc.com

Part II. If, as a businessman or woman, you’re thoroughly engaged in the manufactured housing industry and or land lease community real estate asset class, and plan to be in Louisville, KY., for the MHShow next week (30 & 31 January), arrive a day early to participate in the only MHAlive! ‘think tank’ session kicking off year 2019?! Seriously. You’ll be glad you did. Details to follow….

I.

Answers to Last Week’s Blog Question!

This Question was first posed publicly, during January 2019: ‘Why is manufactured housing off the pace to ship 100,000 new HUD-Code homes by year end 2018?’ Here’s part of the answer!

But first, to make sense of what follows, know the most recent new manufactured housing shipment report, from HUD’s contractor, Institute for Building Technology & Safety (‘IBTS’), is for month of November 2018. Up to that point in time, previous IBTS reports for September & October, as publicized in EducateMHC’s widely-referenced MH ‘#s & $s’ Reports, new HUD-Code homes monthly shipment volumes had already fallen from the 100,000 targeted pace!

September = 7,519 MHs shipped; down from August @ 9,157 & 61 fewer than Sept. 2017!

October = 8,588 MHs shipped; up from September’s 7,519 but 48 fewer than October 2017!

November = 7,760 MHs shipped; down from October @ 8,588 & 842 fewer than Nov. 2017!

In an effort to address the question posed at the beginning of this blog, we reached out to the ‘Big Three C’ HUD-Code housing manufacturers (Clayton Homes, Inc., Skyline Champion Corporation, & Cavco Industries, Inc.), as well as a several smaller regional firms. Heard back from everyone except two smaller regional ones.

Also interviewed land lease community owners/operators known to be regular volume purchasers of new HUD-Code homes, directly from factories, then siting, selling, and often seller-financing them onto rental homesites.

What we learned from both segments of the manufactured housing industry, as well as suggestions from outside the industry and realty asset class, is there are as many as eight significant influences in play here. These range from inventory adjustments, to changes in homebuyer preferences, to specific continued uncertainties in the manufactured housing market.

Again, to learn these eight reasons in detail, ensure a copy of the February issue of the Allen Letter is on hand in your office when it is distributed.

II.

Last Call for MHAlive! ‘think tank’ on 1/29

While 25 owners/operators of land lease communities participate in professional property management training – and certification later that day, via the Manufactured Housing Manager program, others will spend Tuesday afternoon (29 January 2019) engaged in four 50 minute MHAlive! ‘think tank’ sessions, from 1-5PM. Both events will occur, in different meeting rooms, at the Hilton Garden Inn located at 2735 Crittenden Dr., Louisville, KY. (adjacent to the KY state fairgrounds).

What’s MHAlive! ‘think tank’ all about? While some folk find this difficult to believe; to date, it is the ONLY OPPORTUNITY for manufactured housing aficionados and land lease community owners/operators to meet informally together to identify and openly discuss industry and asset class issues and other matters of importance to them! Cost? Only $20.00 ‘at the door’, to defray meeting-related expenses. And while advance notice of ‘intent to participate’ is appreciated (already have some committed to attend), it’s OK to simply show up that day for the event. To sign-up, phone (317) 346-7156 or email: gfa7156@aol.com

Topics for this MHAlive! ‘think tank’ session? I’ll arrive prepared to at least beginning to talk about:

• ID & parse ‘evergreen issues’ (i.e. ‘always timely & important but not resolved’). Covered in earlier blog postings & 30th ALLEN REPORT, but still unresolved till today!

• Making sense of MH national advocacy ‘alphabet soup’, e.g. MHARR, MHI, NCC, NAMHCO, COBA7, & EducateMHC. ‘Who does what for you & why & how well?’

• The U.S. affordable housing crisis & you! (What it is & what can be done about it). ‘Housers’ looking favorably at MH, but what’s being done to deliver what’s needed?

• 30th anniversary ALLEN REPORT, i.e. new data, emerging trends, and more….Ask the author those questions; recommend how to improve content & format in future!

A CANDID SUMMARY. Some MHAlive! ‘think tank’ sessions boast a dozen or more enthusiastic participants; others smaller and ‘not so much’. But that’s the beauty of making such opportunities available, as participation becomes THE gauge, a truth-teller, as to where businessmen and women are on 1) issues, 2) national advocacy, 3) affordable housing, even the ALLEN REPORT.

And frankly, if someone arrives, and wants to talk about preserving their personal or corporate legacy via memoir or autobiography writing, there’ll be FREE copies of the popular ‘Who Will Preserve Your Legacy?’ booklet.

So, stop by the Hilton Garden Inn at 1PM prepared to jump into an afternoon of open, friendly, and lively discussions relative to manufactured housing and land lease community – related matters!
***

George Allen, CPM & MHM
EducateMHC

Receive your Allen Letter? MH ‘#s & $s’ report shows slide; &, what’s a ZNE home anyway?

Tuesday, January 15th, 2019

Blog # 517; Copyright @ 13 January 2019; www.EducateMHC
Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

This blog posting is sole national advocate, official ombudsman, historian, research reporter, education resource, & online communication media for North American land lese communities!

To input this blog, &/or affiliate with EducateMHC, formerly Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, or COBA7, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ And, goal for online media? To inform, opine, and help transform and improve manufactured housing and land lease community performance!

INTRODUCTION: While we, as an industry, finally have reliable reporting of production, in terms of new HUD-Code home shipments, we continue to confuse ourselves and those watching, with purposely differing, and at times inaccurate, based line statistics. This is easy to correct if the commitment is there to do so. You ready for ZNE design and fabricated new homes? That’s Zero Net Energy usage; an increasingly common phenomena in California, and eventually spreading East. And where will you be on Tuesday, 29 January, in Louisville, KY? If a land lease community owner/operator, then at the one day MHM class. OR, in the afternoon, participating in the latest MHAlive! ‘think tank’; four 50 minute sessions from 1 – 5PM.

But First, a Very Special Announcement!

Some reading this blog are subscribed to receive the Allen Letter, the Allen CONFIDENTIAL!, & or 30th anniversary ALLEN REPORT – all of which arrived at your offices digitally, for the first time, earlier this month (January).If you are a paid subscriber and have not seen this email come through, please contact Erin Smith via EducateMHC@gmail.com – to send you another link, ensuring access to this important and timely industry information! And if you are interested in subscribing to any or all these publications, do so at www.EducateMHC.com

I.

Educate MHC’s MHShipment ‘#s & $s’ Report for November 2018

The question no one is asking, so no one is answering: ‘Why is manufactured housing industry off pace to ship 100,000 new HUD-Code homes by year end 2018?’ (It’s now mid-January 2019)

Institute for Building Technology & Safety (‘IBTS’) reports 7,760 new HUD-Code homes shipped in November 2018; down from 8,602 homes @ November 2017, & 8,588 homes, October 2018. HUD, MHARR, COBA7, & NAMHCO report unadulterated MH shipment #s as tallied by IBTS!

Makes one wonder, doesn’t it: ‘What’s going on’; OR, ‘not going on’, that’s slowing recovery of HUD-Code manufactured housing from its’ nadir year (2009) of 49,789+/- new homes shipped? One would think the two national advocacy entities dominated by manufacturing members would have, or offer, an answer to this present day mystery. But we continue to await it….

Another mystery. Go to MHI’s website (MHI.org) and learn “90,000 new homes shipped per year = $2.6 billion contribution to the U.S. national economy.” Really? Using MHI consultant Dr. Stephen C. Cooke’s ‘production value’ of $43,126 per new HUD-Code home shipped (Based on 2013 base year of 60,288 new homes shipped, valued at $2,600,000,000), the above statement, in my opinion, would be more accurately rendered as ’90,000 new homes shipped per year = $3.9 billion ‘production value’ contribution to the U.S. national economy!’ Three points here:

• ‘Production value’ is one part of the manufactured housing industry’s contribution to U.S. national economy. Value of homes installed on-site, as well as ancillary services?

• Since ‘production value’ is only part of the contribution to U.S. national economy ‘pie’, so to speak; important to ‘get the numbers right’, i.e. $3.9 billion vs. $2.6 billion.

• Probably time to update the base year statistics, from year 2013 to at least year 2017

If you’ve not yet seen or read EducateMHC (formerly COBA7) MHShipment ‘#s & $s’ Report (for November 2018), obtain a copy of January issues of either the Allen Letter or the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! via www.educatemhc And while at it, if still needing your copy of the 30th anniversary ALLEN REPORT, order it as well. It’s the ‘biggest & best’ edition ever, at 16 pages in length, a 25 percent increase over previous editions! Chock full of interesting & helpful info!

II.

Zero Net Energy Case Study Homes, Vol I.

Get ready to learn and use new trade lingo when it comes to talking about highly energy efficient site-built and factory-built single family and multifamily residential housing. I introduced the manufactured housing industry, and land lease community realty asset class, to this emerging reality trend in past issues of the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! and the Allen Letter. Furthermore, we’ve had one of Steve Lefler’s Zero Net Energy (‘ZNE’) homes on display at an International Networking Roundtable in San Diego, a few years ago.

Well, there’s a new ‘almost cocktail table quality’ tome just out, authored by Edward Dean of Bernheim + Dean, Inc., titled, Zero Net Energy Case Study Homes, Volume I., covering no fewer than five ZNE applications or case studies. Early on, the author tells us there’re more than 15,000 ZNE-ish homes in the U.S. and Canada today; and that adoption of ZNE by ‘production home-building industry’ (That’s us!) is an emerging trend in its’ own right. By the way, the book is available for purchase via amazon.com

For an example of ZNE home design and fabrication, hailing from factory-built housing ranks, the author profiles an Oak Haven Modular House in detail. And the price of this book is well worth the technical data one obtains from this specific case study! However, This chapter however, gave me a bit of reviewer heartburn, as the author opted to use archaic terms like ‘trailer park’ (page # 46), to describe where to find an Oak Haven Modular Home. And the author, in my opinion, clearly does not understand the clear differences among the four types of factory-built housing, i.e. 1) production site builders (a.k.a. stick-builders) using pre-hung window & door components, wall panels & roof trusses), 2) panelizers, 3) HUD-Code manufactured housing (Never once mentioned, per se, ‘in the book’) aficionados, and 4) modular housing fans like Steve Lefler of Modular Lifestyles.

More information about this new release (book) will be forthcoming in a future issue of the Allen Letter.

III.

MHM Class & MHAlive! ‘think tank’ on 1/29

This will be my 41st Louisville MHShow! How many folk staying at the Crown Plaza host hotel remember when there was an equally huge hotel directly across the I-65 exit lanes outside the main entrance, and that there were no other hotels along Phillips Lane – where today there are at least eight? Who remembers dodging five lanes of auto traffic on those exit lanes, at night, to get from one hotel to the other and back again – to attend one or more manufacturer-sponsored dinners and exhibitor cocktail receptions? Yes, this manufactured housing show has a history.

And then there’s what oft happens ‘the day before the Louisville MHShow begins’. While exhibitors set up their booths, and manufacturers make last minute adjustments to their new home displays, off-agenda meetings take place at several nearby hotels. Some firms use this time for training sessions for their employees; land lease community owners caucus to discuss industry issues (e.g. representation) and plan for the year ahead; and frankly, many more than one job interview has been conducted somewhere in the host hotel.

This year? Well, at the Hilton Garden Inn – down the street and then some, from the Crown Plaza, two events are scheduled:

• One day Manufactured Housing Manager class, from 9AM to 4:30PM. 20 MHM candidates will spend the day learning and discussing every aspect of land lease community professional property management. No tests, just a lot of knowledge sharing, operational tips, and interpersonal networking. Everyone receives a copy of Landlease Community Management, a monograph of MH ‘readings, MHM certificate, and MHM lapel pin. Still room for more: (317) 346-7156 or inquire via gfa7156@aol.com Cost? Only $295.00 per MHM candidate. To date, nearly 1,500 MHMs in North America!

• Afternoon, from 1 – 5PM there’ll be an informal MHAlive! ‘think tank’ session. These events are held several times each year around the U.S. They’re decidedly informal, low cost ($20.00 at the door, to defray meeting-related expenses), and frankly as enjoyable as they are productive. From a list of seven recommended topics, four appear to be garnering the most attention: ID & parse MHIndustry ‘evergreen issues’ (i.e. ‘always timely’); Making sense of MH national advocacy ‘alphabet soup’ (e.g. MHARR, MHI, NCC, NAMHCO, COBA7 & EducateMHC); the Affordable Housing Crisis & You (i.e. What it is & what you can do about it!); and, the 30th ALLEN REPORT (e.g. new data, emerging trends & more…). If you plan to participate, in part or in full, talk to me ahead of time relative to preparation, etc… (317) 346-7156 or via gfa7156@aol.com

So, there you have it, the perfect mix of MHM training/certification OR participation in a MHAlive! ‘think tank’, where your views could very well affect the future of the manufactured housing industry and land lease community real estate asset class! Then, the next day, attend the Louisville MHShow, inspecting dozens of new homes and visiting dozens of exhibitors!

George Allen, CPM, MHM
EducateMHC & COBA7
Box # 47024
Indianapolis, IN. 46247
(317) 346-7156

MHProsperity Indicator & Hello EducateMHC!

Thursday, January 10th, 2019

Blog # 516; Copyright @ 6 January 2019; www.EducateMHC

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

This blog posting is sole national advocate, official ombudsman, historian, research reporter, education resource, & online communication media for North American lease communities!

To input this blog, &/or affiliate with Educate MHC, formerly Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, or COBA7, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U! And, goal for online media? To inform, opine, and help transform and improve manufactured housing and land lease community performance!

INTRODUCTION. This week? In search of prosperity indicators for manufactured housing & land lease communities. ALSO, the Best Thing That’s Happened to Community Owners Since 1993!

I.

In Search of a Prosperity Indicator for Manufactured Housing

Some would say we already have one. The IBTS tabulates and distributes a monthly report tracking the volume of new singlesection & multisection HUD-Code homes shipped throughout the U.S.!*1 And up until the last quarter 2018, the ‘prosperity’ news had been good. As an industry, we were riding a new home shipment surge that seemed to assure we’d eclipse 100,000 new homes by year end 2018 – a ‘first’ since 2006, when the ‘Katrina factor’ boosted the annual total of new homes shipped, to 117,510+/-.*2 But the last quarter 2018 has been different. New home shipments slipped off the 100,000 pace, ending November 2018 with a YTD (‘year to date’) total of only 90,612 new homes shipped. Will we see 9,388 new homes shipped during December 2018 – the number needed to eclipse 100,000? That’s doubtful, as the number of homes shipped during November was only 7,760 and that down from 8,588 during October. Point? Yes, IBTS reports measure and report manufactured housing prosperity, in terms of ‘new HUD-Code homes shipped’, but can we refine this further?

For a moment, let’s look at the other side of prosperity, i.e. ‘misery’. Ever heard of the Misery Index? It was originated in 1960 by economist Arthur Okun for use by President Johnson. In its’ basic form, a Misery Index is the ‘annual inflation rate’ plus ‘seasonally adjusted unemployment’ rate. Examples. The Misery Index peaked at 21.98 during June of 1980 (That’s super misery!). But nearly 40 years later, during December 2018, the Misery Index was at 5.88, down from 6.22 during October and 5.98 in September. So, the lower the Misery Index number better ‘feelings’ (i.e. less misery) abound. No, the Misery Index is not an appropriate measure of prosperity for the manufactured housing industry.

Maybe it’s not a measure of prosperity, or even misery, we really seek. Perhaps it has more to do with the nature of the new home purchase and finance transaction we make available to prospective homebuyers/site lessees and homebuyers/scattered building site owners. With those two leasehold/owned sites perspectives aside for the moment (i.e. rental homesites in land lease communities & scattered building sites conveyed fee simple), consider whether we’re selling homes onto leased sites in an ‘affordable’ fashion (i.e. total PITI & site rent total $ at the standard 30 percent Housing Expense Factor – ‘HEF’ – or less), OR in an innate ‘risky’ fashion, where PITI accounts for the 30 percent HEF and homebuyer/site lessee or owner must pay household utility expenses in addition to said house payment – upping, upping HEF to between 40 & 50 percent! Hope none of this surprises anyone. To ‘proof’ this to yourself, use the ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Formulae’ worksheet to do your own calculations within four scenarios: scattered site conveyed fee simple, affordable & risky; rental homesite, affordable & risky. What do those housing price points pencil out to, in that order, beginning with $35,000 Area Median Income (‘AMI’) or Annual Gross Income (‘AGI’)? Simply, and somewhat shockingly, $119,000 & $158,000 in the first (home & site ‘owned’) instance; and $41,000 & $68,000 in the second (home owned & site leased) instance! To obtain your copy of the aforementioned worksheet, visit educatemhc.com and or phone (877) MFD-HSNG. The form is also available within SWAN SONG, the first history of the land lease community real estate asset class. Available from EducateMHC for $34.95 plus shipping & handling.

So, following those brief reviews of IBTS’ HUD-Code housing shipment reports, the Misery Index, and four perspectives of housing price point calculation facilitated by the Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Formulae worksheet, does any of them ‘paint the picture’ of where manufactured housing prosperity is at any given point in time? Your idea or suggestions? Please send to gfa7156@aol.com

End Notes.

1. Institute for Building Technology and Science, HUD’s contractor for researching this data.

2. Presence or not of (+/-) qualifier, relative to new HUD-Code housing annual shipment totals. IBTS, HUD, MHARR, & COBA7 – now EducateMHC, report this annual total number in the same fashion. The Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’) deducts Destination Pending units from any given month’s new home shipment total, and then adds back in the Destination Pending Units from the previous month.

II.

EducateMHC

The Best Thing to Happen to Land Lease Communities Since 1993!

25 ½ years ago, 19 owners/operators of (then) manufactured home communities, convened in Indianapolis, IN., to plan effective national advocacy for the unique, income-producing property type. Why? In 1994, several large portfolio ‘players’ would ‘go public’ (Think MHC, Inc. – now ELS, Inc; Sun Communities, Inc.; & Chateau Communities, Inc. UMH Properties was already, and had been, a real estate investment trust (‘REIT’) since the late 1980s. And American Landlease, along with ARC, would not join those ranks until 1998 & 2004 respectively.

As fate would have it, the Industry Steering Committee (‘ISC’), formed during August 1993, would become the nucleus of MHI’s National Communities Council (converted to ‘division’ status years later) or NCC. For a history of the NCC, read Bruce Savage’s The First 20 Years! – also available for purchase from EducateMHC.

February 2014 saw the debut of the ‘for profit’ national entity, Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, or COBA7, a division of GFA Management Inc., dba PMN Publishing. Land lease community products & services (e.g. ALLEN REPORT, statistical resources and directories, newsletters, networking venues, professional property management training & certification via Manufactured Housing Manager program) available for the past 30+ years, was now centralized in Indianapolis, IN.

And during year 2018, dissident land lease community owners/operators, in search of effective national lobbying for the real estate asset class, formed the National Association of Manufactured Housing Community Owners, or NAMHCO; headquartered in Arizona.

EducateMHC. Certainly not new to the manufactured housing scene, by dint of community ownership and successful entrepreneur business experience, the principals seek to convert near 100 percent of what owners/operators expected from COBA7, to a digital platform, improving and easing access to all resources, including property management forms, books, article reprints, newsletters, and more. Suggest you visit educatemhc.com; communicate via educatemhc@gmail.com, and or GFA via (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

***
George Allen, CPM, MHM
RV/MH Hall of Fame member
Emeritus member, MHI
Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247
(317) 346-7156

Be Careful What You Read & Believe in 2019!

Friday, January 4th, 2019

Blog # 515; Copyright @ 30 December 2018; community-investor.com
Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and
Earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.

This blog posting is the sole national advocate, voice, official ombudsman, historian, research reporter, and online communication media for all North American land lease communities!

To input this blog, &/or affiliate with Educate MHC, formerly Community Owners (7 part) Business Alliance, or COBA7, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U! Goal of online media? To inform, opine, and help transform and improve manufactured housing and land lease community performance!

INTRODUCTION. Adopt the MH ‘media discernment challenge’ as a key business resolution for New Year 2019! Let Steven Brill’s new book, TAILSPIN enlighten you as to how national political & economic affairs relate, in part, to manufactured housing & land lease communities. And decide now whether to participate in the 29 January 2019 afternoon MHAlive! ‘think tank’ the day before the Louisville MHShow begins! A lot to read and absorb in this blog posting!

I.

A Worthwhile New Year’s Resolution:

Do Be Discerning About The MH Media You Read, Believe & Use During 2019!

Yes, this was the gist of Part III of blog posting # 514 last week, and enough of you responded positively to the ‘media discernment challenge’ to make it worthwhile to reiterate here. One veteran state MH association executive had this to say about the matter:

“I am totally on board with your industry New Year’s resolution! Out with the derisive negativity, and in with communicating the positive attributes of manufactured housing and land lease communities.”

How ‘bout you? Ready and willing to focus your manufactured housing trade reading on state MH newsletters, the MHInsider magazine, Manufactured Housing Review online ezine, and the Allen Letter professional journal (transitioning from print to digital format)? Sure hope so. Those four are all you need to stay abreast of trade news throughout the industry and real estate asset class. Contact me via gfa7156@aol.com if you need help contacting these pubs.

As a related aside, I’m working (reading) my way through F.L. Lucas’s classic book, STYLE, ‘The Art of Writing Well’, first published in 1955. It’s chockfull of passages worthy of reflection, retention, and application. Here’re musings appropriate to the ‘media discernment challenge’:

“…the modern world would hardly tolerate in criticism, the vulgar horse-whipping (writing) style of _______. The few 20th century writers who have tried it…have damaged themselves more than their enemies.” P.94. Reputations come and they go.

And this…

“…one of the eternal paradoxes of life and literature – that without passion, little gets done; yet, without control of that passion, its effects are largely ill or null.” P. 116. Amen to that! But I take it a step further and say ‘ill & null’.

And finally…

“…the man who seems trying to deceive others has often first deceived himself.” P.126.

You can look forward to a complete review of STYLE during the weeks ahead. There’s even an apt quote therein, with application to the manufactured housing industry, and our penchant for evolving trade terminology over time. In the meantime, practice media discernment!

II.

A Partial Review of Steven Brill’s book, TAILSPIN.

‘The People & Forces Behind America’s 55 Year Fall –
& those Fighting to Reverse it’

Learned of this 2018 tome from a ‘houser’ at the National Housing conference in Washington, DC. during early December. I have not read the entire 441 page book, just pages I was told spoke about affordable housing-related matters in the U.S. today. Well, it turns out that was not wholly accurate, but I did pick up on enough politically-charged observations and economics commentary to make for an interesting, albeit short ‘read’. Here’re some select comments. The first one, to me, was a shocker.

“After Presidents Kennedy and Johnson began the war on poverty…President Nixon followed up in ways that might shock the next generation of Republicans. Even before he took office in January 1969, Nixon approved a proposal from his transition staff that called for a guaranteed national income – a set amount to be paid to every American, as a floor of available funds to protect them from poverty. He was unable to get Congress to approve it, but he did initiate a variety of other programs.” Pp. 316 & 317. Hmm. Now we maybe know from whence that socialist goal originated.

“The two principal dynamics that will inevitably drive more people into poverty unless they are reversed, are wages and housing costs.” P. 320. And here’s how that pencils out in today’s society…

“Affordable housing is commonly defined as housing requiring rent (or mortgage) payments of no more than 30 percent of a worker’s disposable income. And, “…according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, no worker earning the federal minimum wage in any place in America, can afford to pay the prevailing fair market rental rate in any state where they work. That generalization may not hold for families with two wage earners, but it does summarize the squeeze low-wage earners face.” P.321. And well describes the housing market best served by manufactured housing and the land lease community lifestyle!

Want to fix these sorry matters?

“For Americans to come together now to fix their country, they will have to overcome the forces that have broken their country: a meritocracy (‘government by the most talented’) that has become the new aristocracy; the financialization of the economy and resulting dominance of short-termism; hijacking of the First Amendment that allowed money to take over Washington; marginalization of the middle class that would have to rise up and support any resurgence; polarization, entrenched incompetence, and cronyism that have soured most outsiders on the prospect of trying to get Washington to do anything productive…” and the list goes on….P.336. You up to this overcoming task? Who is? Read next paragraph, for one answer.

“What is clear is that in 2016, Donald Trump rode that fever (‘for change’) to the White House; promising Americans they could sit back while he fixed everything.” And “…46 percent of those who voted, figured things were so bad they might as well let him try.” P. 337. That is, except for Never Trumpers, Democrat revenge campaigners, and swamp-dwelling Deep Staters in Washington, DC. Thanks to a liberal-slanted secular press, he continues to fight an uphill battle.

Who else is to blame? “…the new technology that produced targeted digital media, represents one of those apparent breakthroughs during the 50 year tailspin that produced unintended consequences, and a valid excuse for people to remain at each other’s throats or disengage altogether. It polarized the news that people consume, driving them further apart.” For example, precipitous drops in newspaper employment (from 412,000 to 174,000 in 2001), due to loss of advertising revenue (a third of what it was in 2000), allowed “Americans to complain they (are) less armed with the straight-shooting journalism necessary to hold their elected leaders accountable.” P. 338.

What’s next? A revolution? “This will not be a revolution of those on the left against those on the right. It will be about the unprotected, demanding the protected become responsible and accountable, whether they are executives shielded by their corporate structures, their lawyers, their lobbyists, and their financial engineers; civil servants protected by work rules that need to be fixed and by the public’s inattention…” P. 339 And that list too goes on….

“My bet is that Americans will retake their democracy. Things may get worse before they get better, but the odds are that events like these will become trigger points that prompt Americans to reclaim the legacy of their country’s historic resilience.” & “Americans are going to answer the call of a New Frontier. They are going to decide that enough is enough. That it is time to storm the moats.” P. 341

There you have it; what Steven Brill sees having happened in the U.S. during the past 50 years, and what must happen to preserve our constitutional democracy.

FYI. Steven Brill is an investigative journalist who’s written for The New Yorker, Time (the New York Times) magazine, Esquire, and Fortune. He teaches at Yale University and appears as an expert analyst on NBC, CBS, & CNN – but apparently not on the FOX network. So, a conservative he is not.

III.

MHAlive! ‘think tank’ on 29 January 2018

OK, we haven’t mentioned this, in blog postings, since #513, two weeks ago. But NOW is time for YOU, if interested, to plan on participating in this periodic ‘coming together’ of forward-looking manufactured housing and land lease community businessmen and women. The MHAlive! ‘think tank’ session will begin promptly at 1PM, and end at 5PM, at the Hilton Garden Inn (near the Louisville, KY., airport) on Wednesday, 29 January 2019. Cost? Only $20.00 per participant, to pay for the cost of the meeting room and related expenses (i.e. handouts).

What’s the agenda? Not chiseled in stone yet; still up to you! Here’re seven topics already suggested by individuals committed to attend the MHAlive! ‘think tank’ event:

• Preserving One’s Personal or Corporate Legacy via Memoir Writing, Here’s how…

• Evergreen (‘always timely’) manufactured housing issues listed in 30th ALLEN REPORT

• Speaking of ALLEN REPORT. Perhaps time to parse this compendium of asset class data

• You satisfied or dissatisfied with degree & scope of MH national advocacy these days?

• MHTrade media. Selection improved during 2018; still an issue with faux muckraking?

• Want to know more about lease-option & other forms of chattel capital financing?

• Affordable housing crisis. Answer = manufactured housing & land lease communities?

If you’re interested in participating, please contact me at gfa7156@aol.com or (317) 346-7156. DEADLINE for registration is Friday, 18 January 2019. And when signing-up, tell me what four topics (Name new ones if you wish to do so) most interest you. During that afternoon we’ll focus on four topics during four 50 minute sessions. Ask yourself: ‘When and where does this industry offer me this sort of opportunity to meet and ‘talk business’ with my peers?’

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George Allen, CPM & MHM
EducateMHC