As the Trump Administration continues to move forward with plans on making government more efficient, a number of proposed cuts, including funding to National Public Radio (NPR) and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), there appears to be a clear message: serve the public interest in an efficient, businesslike and honest manner.
According to HousingWire, an area that could be potentially impacted is one that’s of great interest to the manufactured housing industry: the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
And, that impact could be significant.
A recent article in the Washington Post said that the administration is considering more than $6 billion cuts at HUD, which would contribute to the administration’s goal of cutting domestic spending by $54 billion overall, and would potentially decrease the HUD budget by up to 14 percent in fiscal 2018.
And that has raised the ire of more than a few people in Washington, and beyond.
One such voice is Rep. Maxine Waters, (D-Calif.), who wrote a note claiming that the proposed cuts would lead to an increase in homelessness.
“Every day, the Trump Administration reveals with their actions that they are willing to abandon and betray hardworking Americans and vulnerable families. This shameful plan would slash funding that fights poverty, revitalizes neighborhoods, helps the homeless, and makes housing more affordable, safe, decent and accessible for low-income Americans, veterans, and persons with disabilities. This proposal would destroy families, neighborhoods, and whole communities,” said Waters.
“If Donald Trump really cared about struggling Americans, he would be increasing funding to these critical programs, not planning brutal cuts. Make no mistake; this plan would result in more people living on the streets.”
For all of the anger, according to Douglas Rice at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, this isn’t the first time that HUD has seen cuts recently.
“In 2013 sequestration, the Obama administration eliminated 100,000 housing vouchers, which Congress later began to restore in 2014 and 2015,” said Rice.
HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary Jereon Brown says that the anger may actually be jumping the gun.
“The document is only a preliminary budget document, numerous versions are produced during the budget process,” said Brown.
“I can confirm that the budget negotiations are currently underway. This is a lengthy, back and forth process that will continue for at least the next two weeks,” he said. “Normally, starting negotiation numbers are rarely final budget numbers.”
A Win for Manufactured Housing?
HUD Secretary, Dr. Ben Carson, has promised to conduct an objective, ground-up assessment of the effectiveness of HUD programs upon his arrival at the Department, in order to both promote efficiency and achieve better results for the millions of Americans in need of safe, decent and affordable housing.
One of Dr. Carson’s first initiatives as Secretary included a nationwide “listening tour” regarding the operation of those programs and the housing needs of Americans.
Secretary Carson also emphasized the importance of private sector involvement and public-private initiatives to more effectively meet HUD’s mission and serve the affordable housing needs of lower and moderate-income Americans.
More recently, Carson stressed that the Trump Administration’s proposed infracture bill could also contain additional funding for housing. Like Brown, Carson also noted that the proposed budget may not be the same as the final budget.
And, when asked by Senator Dean Heller (R-Nevada) to describe in writing his view of the role of manufactured housing in the provision of affordable housing in rural areas, Carson responded.
“I do see manufactured housing playing an important role in providing affordable housing in rural areas. I think it’s important to ensure HUD’s policies promote access to this valuable resource,” said Carson.
Among the questions that remain are, will the listening tour reveal to Carson the opportunity to fully implement the HUD regulated Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000, replace the federal program’s Obama Administration appointed director, and thus open up options for inclusion of manufactured homes as quality, affordable infill in cities and towns across the country?
New manufactured home sales continue to rise at a rapid, double-digit pace. The industry can make the case for
being the most cost effective, modern, eco-friendly, safe, and efficient way to provide quality housing to American families.
That in turn preserves the ability of millions – from a wide range of income levels – to realize the American Dream of homeownership.
In fact, manufactured housing is an area that uniquely brings Democrats, Republicans, businesses and non-profits who have studied the option together, see examples at this link here.
MHProNews and MHLivingNews publisher L.A. “Tony” Kovach provides deep insight into this opportunity in Obstacles and Opportunities in Affordable Housing – October 2016, and the understanding that the solution to affordable housing is hiding in plain sight.
For more on HUD, the appointment of Dr. Ben Carson as Secretary, and what it means for manufactured housing, click here. ##
(Image credits are as shown above.)
Submitted by RC Williams to MHLivingNews.