The sun rose slowly over Deadwood, SD that day. The hills and trees offered cover for a variety of animals, including big horn sheep, and mountain goats.
Outside the Inn at Deadwood, the manicured landscaping yielded naturally to the glass doors that welcomed tourists, gamers, and business professionals.
It was in that convention center that a recent ‘peaceful battle’ in the Manufactured Housing Revolution was fought. Yes, there’s a book for professionals by that title, found at this link here.
But a chapter of the next book – Volume 2 of the Manufactured Housing Revolution – is a broader battle. Because that war is being waged on behalf of the tens of millions seeking their part of the American Dream.
Inspiring the MH Revolution
The keynote, luncheon speaker addressed a packed room, one that meeting organizers Jerry Vogler and Stuart Doggett said, “was the best attendance in years.”
Weeks before, Vogler called L.A. ‘Tony’ Kovach. Vogler reminded Kovach that he promised “to light up the room like a Christmas tree” with his message to the 5 State Convention attendees.
An earlier speaker at the same convention, Ken Corbin, emailed MHLivingNews after his Deadwood address to say on-the-record that, “I thoroughly enjoyed your [Tony Kovach’s] program. It was on target and had the attendees fully involved. I’m looking forward to hearing you speak again in the future!”
Kovach’s power point began with the bold statement that manufactured homes and their owners are on several levels one of “the Civil Rights Issues of our Time.”
Kovach spoke for about 90 minutes, and thus had time to hit numerous points.
Among them was how he discovered through the interviews of dozens and dozens of manufactured home owners that that they’re overall happy with their lifestyle choice.
Those manufactured homeowners are also often eager to share that experience on camera with the world.
The Working Class, Middle Class, Upwardly Mobile, Plus the Rich and Famous
If manufactured homes are accepted by the rich and famous, why not by the masses of other Americans?
Kovach also asks, “Why is there so much ignorance and bigotry against manufactured homes and their owners?”
Kovach points to sources inside and outside of manufactured housing (MH) as contributed to those avoidable misimpressions.
He says that there’s a need for sharing the truth effectively. The award-winning MH professional, publisher, and consultant says that manufactured housing’s “stories must be told in compelling ways, not as commercials, but as real-life people sharing what their knowledge from first-hand experience.”
So, Kovach explained to the packed room, it’s about letting manufactured home owners, professionals, and third-party experts share the facts they know in a way that makes sense to the general public. Because millions today are looking for affordable quality homes.
Policy makers, investors, and the media are also seeking what the industry can do.
The Truth is Hiding in Plain Sight
Kovach outlined how every major concern that potential home buyers, policy makers, and the media have, there are real world facts that address those issues in a way that satisfies the open-minded.
For example, on the topic of tornadoes, Kovach said, how many realize that the odds are typically “millions to 1” in favor of the home owner that they won’t die in a windstorm that strikes a manufactured home.
In fact, the publisher explained that federal studies reveal that the tub or shower in any house is some “70 times more likely” to cause an accidental death, than a tornado is to likely to kill a manufactured home resident. “Are people scared of their tubs and showers?” – Kovach quiped to chuckles and nodding heads from the audience (note: to see popular MH vs. Tornado video, click here).
There are fears about depreciation that are common, even though university-level federal research has disproven those fears, Kovach explained.
That research shows that manufactured homes inside city limits on infill sites appreciate side-by-side with conventional housing in the same neighborhood. All of the factors that cause people to think, “NIMBY – Not in My Back Yard” are based upon myths or outdated realities, he says.
But perhaps the biggest concern that people have is about self-esteem. No one really wants to be thought of as “trailer trash.” So – he points to home owner, retired businessman and minister, the Reverend Donald Tye, who’s said, “It’s just as wrong to use the T-word [trailer] to describe a manufactured home, as it is to use the N-Word about a black man.”
Tye and dozens of his neighbors in the Cincinnati, OH metro own homes manufactured in Indiana, that appreciated side-by-side with conventional housing. Tye said that Zillow proves their values have increased some 400% over the years. He says they are hard to tell apart, and that the factory-built homes are often superior to some built on site.
As important, Tye – whom Kovach spoke about during his presentation – explains that manufactured homes are perhaps the best opportunity for millions of low wage workers to create affordable quality living options that will allow someone to build personal wealth and escape the tenements of public housing.
“Since modern manufactured homes are accepted by millionaires and billionaires,” Kovach asks, “why shouldn’t they be accepted by the rest of the masses of all other Americans?”
The answer to changing perceptions, Kovach stressed, is effective, fact-based story telling at the local level.
He also said that it’s necessary to respond locally to each time officials or media misuse terminology.
Kovach has suggested for years that what the manufactured home owners and the MH Industry needs is something like what the ACLU, ADL or NAACP did for those groups that successfully advocated for their interest groups for decades.
Kovach has spent about half of his adult life in manufactured homes, and has lived in conventional housing he’s owned as well. He says that 3 of the 4 manufactured homes he owned, he profited on when he sold. The one he took a loss on was a rushed sale — which also worked out for him, because it lead to new professional opportunities that made the fast sale worthwhile.
Proper respect. Proper terminology. Enforcement of the enhanced preemption under the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA 2000). “We as manufactured home professionals and home owners must properly define ourselves, or others will define us, often to our disadvantage,” Kovach says.
Rev. Tye and Kovach have teamed up to explain just how this is a human rights issue that impacts millions.
He says manufactured housing evangelists are needed, people who use the example inspired by faith and those who believe, and apply it to the great good that comes from sustainable, responsible, home ownership.
“Let Americans discover how they can achieve their part of the American dream. As Rev. Tye has said, doing so will uplift the present and the next generation.” People want to leave a legacy for their children. Being able to pass on an often debt-free home is a great legacy, Tye has said, per Kovach.
“You can use should videos and the internet to do some of this,” Kovach said. “But just as faith at its core is passed on, person-to-person, so too most people need to experience modern manufactured homes for themselves. Doing so can improve lives, and one household at a time, it can uplift American society.”
The enthusiasm of the crowd was felt, as Vogler and others reported after the talk. “The Manufactured Home Revolution” is already underway in America. By 2020, studies suggest 1.1 million new factory Built homes a year will hit markets world-wide. “America helped pioneer this innovation in housing. We should lead the way and embrace this revolution as one that is good for almost everyone.” ##