Industry Watchdog Cuts Through the BS

Blog # 590 @ 19 June 2020; Copyright 2020. Educatemhc.com

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

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I.

Industry Watchdog Cuts Through the BS

Were you privy to, and did you read, MHARR’s ‘take’ on HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research (‘PD&R’) publication titled, ‘Evidence Matters’, released during June 2020? If not, I encourage you to phone (202) 783-4087 and ask its’ author, Mark Weiss, to send you a copy! *1

Why? Because Mark goes to great length to make his case, ‘An Unequaled Opportunity (Is) About to Go to Waste’! Specifically, he calls HUD out for not acknowledging ‘exclusionary zoning is a major problem for the manufactured homes it regulates’ – knowing all the while, it (‘HUD’) ‘has the statutory authority to preempt exclusionary edicts.’ And Mark goes on to describe, in detail, ‘the discriminatory lack of any meaningful federal support for manufactured home consumer financing.’ He also decries the lack of complete implementation of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (a.k.a. MHIA@2000), though acknowledging the (hopefully) soon arrival of Ms. Dana Wade back at HUD as ‘the top-level political appointee with direct authority over the federal manufactured housing program.’

Stimulated enough to contact MHARR for a copy of this four page communique?!

End Note.

#a. Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, or MHARR.

II.

What to Expect in ‘SmittyAlpha6’ Autobiography

What has been your major stay-at-home project during the coronavirus hiatus these past four months? Well, one of mine was to (maybe) finish the autobiography I’ve been penning these past several years…since finishing SWAN SONG in 2017, the combined history of manufactured housing shipments since 1955, land lease communities since 1970, and some of my career experiences. That book, by the way, is still available for purchase from EducateMHC: visit educatemhc.com Contains more MH & LLCommunity info than any other book heretofore published, or that is ‘in print’ today!

Well, I’ve pretty much completed the autobiographical narrative; now deep into content editing and proofreading for clarity and grammar usage. When will it be completed, printed, bound, and ready for distribution? Too early to tell, maybe later this year, more likely during early or mid-2021. In any event, here’s a taste of extraordinary life experiences already described therein….

As a toddler, I fell into an open cesspool behind our home in New Jersey and nearly drowned. Years later, my father taught me an ‘old foundry man’s trick’, of running one’s bare hand (in my case, two fingers) through a one inch thick stream of molten aluminum poured from a red hot crucible into a green sand mold – without being maimed! While in Vietnam, I was trained to chest-carry a soccer ball-sized nuclear munition, via helicopter, to the outskirts of Hanoi to destroy a major bridge. And shortly after returning home from overseas, our reserve USMC infantry company was activated in the middle of the night, issued combat arms and live ammunition, deputized, and ordered into Delaware River –flooded Chester, Pennsylvania, to restore law and order. A patently illegal, unprecedented, historical misadventure! Another decade later, I worked for a multiple mobile home parks owner, from the Middle East, who settled his Indiana and Kentucky major business losses by murdering a dozen attorneys and their clients, using an Uzi submachinegun, in a high rise office building in downtown San Francisco, California. And there’s more….

FYI. ‘SmittyAlpha6’ is the working title for the autobiography. What’s it mean? During the last six months of my combat tour in the Republic of South Vietnam, during 1968 & 69, I was commanding officer of A-Company, 3rd Shore Party Battalion, 3rd MARDIV. ‘SmittyAlpha6’ was my radio call sign.

III

WHITE PAPER

You likely first read about a WHITE PAPER, prepared by Next Step President Stacey Epperson & Clayton Homes Director of Communications Audrey Eason, in the current issue of MHInsider magazine. Therein, the article was titled ‘The Value of Manufactured Homes’. Did you read it? I did and was motivated to chase down a copy of said WHITE PAPER. Here’s some of what I learned from it:

• A thumbnail summary of mobile home and manufactured housing history

• A history and description of ‘affordable housing’ in U.S. markets – but sans any working definition.

• Too few ‘starter homes’, i.e. “…two-thirds of renters intend to continue renting because of financial reasons, up from 59 percent two years ago – with 11 million Americans spending more than half their paycheck on rent, according to the Home 1 Advocacy Campaign…”

• CrossMod™ “…new class of HUD-Code homes is gaining traction in larger metropolitan areas – and challenging zoning ordinances that have limited manufactured housing in the past. These homes are available at a smart, attainable price-point around $200,000, with land, in most markets.”

• Role of off-site built homes in disaster recovery plans.

• “…off-site homes can appreciate (in value) at nearly the same rate as onsite-built homes, with the national housing index experiencing an average annual increase of 3.8 percent…” Sorry; but I need to see more ‘stats’ on that one. In my experience, the only two large land lease communities, in the U.S. where large HUD-Code and modular homes routinely appreciate in value, are SaddleBrook in Grayslake, IL., and Bay Wood in Lewes, DE.

Of course there’s more in the WHITE PAPER than is being described here. One of the lingering questions, in my mind, is where do land lease communities figure into this off-site built housing picture? After all, nearly half of all new HUD-Code homes are now sold directly into land lease communities nationwide, where they are then sold and often seller-financed by the property owners/operators. Seems, to me, this WHITE PAPER delivers but ‘half a loaf’ where the overall manufactured housing industry is concerned. But hey, that’s just me a-thinking and commenting.

Hmm. Perhaps we now need a WHITE PAPER extolling ‘price point’ superiority of new off-site, HUD-Code manufactured homes going directly into land lease communities from factories. Any ‘takers’ out there? I’d be pleased to assist….

***

George Allen, CPM, MHM

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