REST OF THE (LISTENING SESSION) STORY

Blog Posting # 648 @ 23 July 2021: EducateMHC

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

EducateMHC is the online national advocate, asset class historian, data researcher, education resource & communication media for all land lease communities throughout North America!

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INTRODUCTION: OK, as promised, here’s ‘the rest of the story’ relative to last week’s virtual Listening Session hosted by the FHFA and GSEs. These observations are from my notes, not recordings; so, if any errors, I apologize beforehand – and please let me know! Also, there’s soon to be a new manufactured housing and land lease community-related book available, initially at the upcoming final Networking Roundtable & Retirement Celebration on 12 August in Nashville, TN. PLUS, if you haven’t already done so, plan to be present at the RV/MH Hall of Fame Induction Banquet on 16 August 2021 at the RV/MH Hall of Fame facility in Elkhart, IN.

I.

REST OF THE (LISTENING SESSION) STORY

First a summary of some, but not all, that was presented by participants in the recent virtual Listening Session. Then, in my opinion, the ‘ bottom line’ of the entire experience – from manufactured housing and land lease community $ perspectives.

As I mentioned in last week’s blog posting (#647), Dr. Esther Sullivan of the University of Colorado, and author of Manufactured Insecurity, led off with an impassioned activist plea, among other things, for an end to the predatory (my word, not hers) property management practices of land lease community portfolio firms like Havenpark Capital. Fortunately – and thanks to the revelation of such offenses at the previous Listening Session, GSEs no longer guarantee real estate-secured mortgages for this property type unless tenant lease protections are in place.

Grant Beck of Next Step Network was the first to specifically state that Duty to Serve (‘DTS’) 2022-2024 plans, as they put forth today are woefully inadequate, and encouraged new leadership at FHFA to reverse course and create a better, supportive climate going forward.

Bruce Thelen, head of operations at REIT, Sun Communities, Inc., in my opinion, delivered one of the best statements of the day. He described the lack of new HUD-Code home inventory; lack of new land lease community development; asked for more support for local housing market land use and zoning for affordable housing; and, for more attention to be paid to low income individuals.

Nick Bertino, from Wells Fargo Multifamily Commercial Group, focused on the new lease protections (a.k.a. tenant protections), pointing out practical problems relative to getting lease addendums signed, leases audited. Suggested certified mail as a means of serving notice to homeowners/site lessees about these important matters.

Todd Kopstein, CFO of Cascade Financial was the first to make heartfelt and practical arguments in behalf of getting chattel financing for home-only loans, especially those sited in land lease communities. Also encouraged GSEs to start sharing their research info with finance firms.

Adam Rust of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, was the first of several speakers to ‘carry coals to New Castle’ relative to encouraging more support for facilitating the purchase and financing of resident-owned communities or ROCs.

Mark Weiss of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (‘MHARR’) described what his advocacy group views as ‘unfulfilled promises’ to U.S. consumers relative to GSEs Duty to Serve (‘DTS’) plans for 2022-2024. Strongly encouraged the FHFA to reject both GSEs DTS plans as they exist today.

Doug Ryan of Prosperity Now pretty much summarized what had been said before his presentation; that new DTS plans do not go far enough in serving would be homebuyers, and that there’s much more need for home-only (chattel capital) finance.

Paul Baretto of LearnMH encouraged FHFA to stop GSE’s discrimination against single section manufactured homes; commented on manufactured housing valuation, appraisals, and local housing market regulations; and, encouraged GSEs to consult on how to encourage more chattel capital. Paul’s off the cuff remark about a ‘new HUD-Code coming out this week’ stunned everyone. Turns out he was talking about recent HUD-Code updates relative to attached or ‘zero lot line’ manufactured home placement – not a major change to ‘the code’.

Jennifer Hopkins of the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund parroted the need to stop discrimination against singlesection manufactured homes by the GSEs, and described her organizations ongoing support of ROCs. By now, given the widespread vocal support of ROCs, it was surprising that ROC USA was not represented at this Listening Session.

Rachel Siegel, researcher for The Pew Charitable Trusts made some challenging remarks relative to manufactured housing titling (‘should be real estate-secured type & no personal property titling’); need for more home-only loan financing; again, tacit support for ROCs; and, need for even more tenant (lease) protections than exist now.

Dr. Lesli Gooch, Manufactured Housing Institute. While there were chattel capital goals in previous DTS plans, there are no purchases anticipated this time around! The GSEs are headed in wrong direction. GSEs must commit and act in favor of personal property financing, especially relative to creation of a secondary market for chattel capital.

A written statement by Tony Kovach was read by a Listening Session staffer. It cited the affordable housing crisis in the U.S. at this time, and how manufactured housing is the most affordable type shelter available today, and how he considers the CrossMod™ home to be ‘seductive’. At that point he went on a rant (my choice of word) lambasting three of the most well known and respected executives in the manufactured housing industry.

The $ bottom line? In MHARR’s presentation, and at least one other, a May 2021 report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (‘CFPB’) was cited as to how GSEs ‘continuing failure and refusal to serve the manufactured home personal property market – harming – “Hispanic, white, black and African-American, and American Indian and Alaska Native borrowers who make up larger shares of chattel loan borrowers than among site-built loan borrowers.’ This directly conflicts with the fundamental policies of the Biden Administration, as set forth in Executive Order 13985 (January 20, 2021). “Affirmatively advancing equity, civil rights, racial justice and equal opportunity are the responsibility of the whole of government. Because advancing equity requires a systematic approach to embedding fairness in decision-making processes, executive departments and agencies must recognize and work to redress inequities in their policies and programs that serve as barriers to equal opportunity.’ So, at this point in time, the GSE’s DTS plans for 2022-2024 are a failure relative to this administration’s standards!

Is anyone out there in the Biden Administration paying attention to what’s ‘not happening’ in the GSEs 2022-2024 Duty to Serve (‘DTS’) plans being reviewed by the FHFA? If so, what’s next?

II.

‘From SmittyAlpha6 to MHMaven’

This is the title to George Allen’s ‘Adventures of a Lifetime’ autobiography. The book was a major work project during Carolyn and my 400 consecutive days of self-quarantine in our home during 2020.

First, an explanation of the title: ‘SmittyAlpha6’ was my radio call sign while commanding officer of Company C., 3rd Shore Party Battalion, 3rd MARDIV, in Vietnam during 1968 & 69. ‘MHMaven’ is an Allenism abbreviation for Manufactured Housing Maven, coined in 2008.

Quoting the back cover of the book. This “…is the story of how childhood adventures, college years, a 13 month combat tour in RVN as a Marine officer, and working as a business manager for several companies, prepared him for the 40 year career to follow. In 1980, Carolyn and George launched GFA Management, Inc., to fee manage investment real estate for others and themselves. Soon thereafter they self-published George’s first book, followed by a dozen more over the years, and engaged in freelance consulting in the manufactured housing industry and among land lease community owners/operators throughout the U.S. and Canada.”

“Were there unusual and exciting adventures along the way? For sure, mostly military!

Trained as an Atomic Demolition Munitions (‘ADM’) technician to fly alone into North Vietnam
Disarmed a shaped-charge demolition after fuse burned into blasting cap & didn’t detonate
Rigged & helo-lifted two Russian field guns from the Ho Chi Minh Trail, to Dong Ha & the U.S.
Led fully-armed Marine infantry squad into a flooded U.S. city, to restore peace and order
Engaged in many overt and sensitive covert consulting assignments for property owners.”

And there’s more, much more, to this life story and the Lessons Learned while living it.”

The book will not be available for purchase ($39.95 + S&H) until after the final Networking Roundtable and Retirement Celebration, occurring on 12 August 2021, at the downtown Hilton Hotel in Nashville, TN. For more information on that event – and the book, when available for purchase, visit www.educatemhc.com

Need one or more good reasons to attend the seminal event occurring 12 August 2021?

If you agree, ‘the development of raw land into land lease communities’ is the reemerging trend in manufactured housing, then be present to hear Scott Roberts of Roberts Communities describe how his family’s firm has been successfully doing this throughout the U.S.! And, ‘icing on the cake’, so to speak, will be the popular audience interaction ‘Fireside Chat with George Allen’. Why popular (at past Networking Roundtables)? Because this is the ONLY national forum, anywhere in the manufactured housing industry and among land lease community owners/operators, where ‘any topic, issue or matter is fair game’ for the audience and the moderator! Again, for more information and to register, visit www.educatemhc.com

III.

RV/MH Hall of Fame Induction Celebration

Where will you be the evening of Monday, 16 August 2021? Hopefully, at the annual RV/MH Hall of Fame Induction Celebration banquet in Elkhart, IN. I know I plan to be present – for what’s expected to be the largest such gathering in the nearly 50 year history of the RV/MH Heritage Foundation. At this point, at least 650 RV & MH aficionados will be present to honor 20 inductees from the combined classes of years 2020 and 2021.

And plan to arrive early that afternoon, for several good reasons:

• Tour the truly inspiring and well-archived RV history exhibit hall
• Tour the new, huge, manufactured housing exhibit hall being readied for this event!
• Tour the refurbished RV/MH library, and see the George Allen Library Exhibit, recently donated to the RV/MH Hall of Fame
• Shop in the eclectic RV/MH store, awash with clothing, mementoes, and books by many RV/MH authors

Who’re the ten manufactured housing inductees this year? 2020 class followed by 2021 class.

• Ken Anderson, MHRetailer and state association executive in AZ
• Keith Casenhiser, of Bessire & Casenhiser, land lease community owners/operator in CA
• Charles Lott, Fleetwood Homes executive from GA
• Debra (Dee) Pizer, MHM, longtime operations manager with ZemanMHC in IL.
• Alan Spencer, MHRetailer, SD

• Steve Adler, land lease community owner/operator of MUREX, in FL
• Burt Dickman (deceased) land lease community developer/owner in IN. &a veteran
• Ron Dunlap, former MH association executive in VA., & a veteran
• George Porter of Manufactured Housing Resources in DE. & a veteran
• Jerry Ruggirello, long time land lease community owner/operator in MI.

That list reads like a veritable (‘true, genuine’) ‘Who’s Who’ among manufactured housing and land lease community executives and pioneers, from ten different states!

While not intentional, there’s an emphasis on military veterans this year, i.e. at least three of ten inductees are military veterans. And I know Spencer Roane, MHM, a 2017 Hall of Fame inductee & USN veteran; and I (USMC vet), will be sitting with George Porter -inductee and USA veteran, at his table with his family, during this stellar RV/MH event!

Now interested in attending? Phone (574) 293-2344 for more information and to purchase banquet tickets.

***

George Allen, CPM, MHM
EducateMHC

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