Edward Hussey-‘To be Clear, Madam Chairwoman, There is Nothing Wrong with the 2000 Law. The Manufactured Housing Improvement Act Doesn’t Need to be Amended. The Issue is Implementation by HUD’

During an affordable housing crisis, the best known, most proven solution to that troubling challenge for millions requires no federal subsidies or new legislation – HUD Code manufactured homes – oddly remains thwarted. Those apparently artificial obstacles exist despite often supportive federal laws. As part of our periodic series of reports with analysis to better understand the issues involved, the following remarks were made by then Liberty Homes Vice-President Edward J. Hussey to Congress. Additional information from others to Congress, along with MHLivingNews expert commentary will follow.  The text of Hussey’s remarks and more are from the federal record of the Congressional hearing on the Implementation of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (a.k.a.: MHIA, 2000 Reform Act, 2000 Reform Law). A bracketed remarks [like this] below was added by MHLivingNews for clarity.


Part I


Mr. HUSSEY. My name is Edward Hussey. I am appearing today in my capacity as immediate past chairman of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform. I am also vice president of Liberty Homes Inc., headquartered in Goshen, Indiana, a manufacturer of manufactured and modular homes.

Over the course of more than 35 years, I have been involved in nearly every aspect of the production and marketing of manufactured homes and the Federal regulation of manufactured home construction and safety. I have had the privilege of testifying before Congress previously about the benefits and advantages that manufactured homes provide to families seeking the American dream, and I was honored to serve as a House of Representatives appointee to the National Commission on Manufactured Housing in the 1990s which developed a conceptual blueprint for reforms to the Federal Manufactured Housing Program at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that were ultimately enacted by Congress as part of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000. The enactment of the 2000 law was a major watershed event for the manufactured housing industry. From humble origins nearly 80 years ago as a type of quasi vehicle, mobile homes in the 1960s and 1970s experienced a period of rapid growth of evolution that pointed to the need for Federal regulation to ensure quality and protect homeowners while ensuring the affordability and acceptance of manufactured homes nationwide.

As a result, Congress adopted the Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974, which established the current HUD Regulatory Program based on three interrelated principles: first, uniform performance-based Federal construction and safety standards to allow innovation and to take advantage of the efficiencies of factory built construction; second, robust Federal preemption to avoid a multitude of nonconforming State and local standards that would unnecessarily increase cost; and third, uniform, federally-based enforcement of the standards.

While the original 1974 law fostered major technological advances that saw the trailers of the post-World War II era become legitimate housing that in almost all instances remained at the original home site once installed, the HUD program established by that law was effectively a program for trailers complete with recall provisions.

As the industry progressed, it became evident by the 1990s that both the Federal Manufactured Housing Law and the Federal program needed to change in order to keep pace with the industry, allow manufactured housing to reach its full potential, and remedy HUD program deficiencies that had become evident since the inception of the Federal regulation in 1976.

Following 12 years of study and analysis including the recommendations of the National Commission, Congress enacted the 2000 law making what were supposed to be major changes to the HUD Manufactured Housing Program. Those changes were designed in part to ensure the continuing affordability of manufactured housing and more importantly to complete the final transition of manufactured homes from the trailers of yesteryear to legitimate housing at parity with all other types of homes.

Among the centerpiece reforms of the 2000 law were: one, the creation of a strong independent Consensus Committee similar to those used to develop other American building codes, to consider new and revised standards, enforcement regulations, interpretations, and changes to enforcement policies and practices; and two, an appointed noncareer administrator for the HUD program to finally bring manufactured housing into the mainstream of HUD programs, policies, and initiatives.

Unfortunately, it has not worked out the way that Congress had intended. Instead of fully implementing the 2000 law as Congress and the National Commission intended, HUD has done everything in its power to maintain the old status quo of pre-2000 and either ignore or materially alter the changes that Congress sought to bring about.

The result is that manufactured housing, as far as HUD and other governmental and quasi-governmental agencies are concerned, stands essentially where it did when Congress convened the National Commission in 1993, a semi-vehicular ‘‘trailer’’ in need of ‘‘improvement’’ through constantly expanding regulation and enforcement. This outdated and indefensible orientation has had a domino effect on the entire industry and its consumers, subjecting both to ever worsening discrimination that among other things has virtually eliminated public and private consumer financing for manufactured home purchases and has negatively impacted the placement and acceptance of manufactured housing.

As detailed in our MHARR written statement, manufactured housing production since the enactment of the 2000 law has declined more than 86 percent from 374,000 homes in 1998 to 50,000 homes in the last 2 years [MHLivingNews note: this hearing was held on February 1, 2012 – but as the remarks should make clear, Hussey’s message is still very relevant to understanding why the affordable housing crisis is what it is]. Over the same period, nearly 75 percent of the industry’s production facilities have closed and more than 7,500 retail centers have closed.

This represents a devastating loss of affordable housing opportunities for lower- and moderate-income American families, and hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the manufactured housing industry have simply disappeared.

And this has occurred in no small part due to HUD’s refusal to embrace manufactured housing and the clear directives that Congress set out in the 2000 law. Manufactured housing can and should be a private sector solution in conjunction with other programs to meet the housing needs of Americans on all rungs of the economic ladder without the need for subsidies that needlessly burden taxpayers and increase the Federal deficit and Federal debt. Manufactured housing can fulfill this role and provide the American dream—

Chairwoman BIGGERT. Mr. Hussey, if you could wrap up please?

Mr. HUSSEY. I am. Just to be clear, Madam Chairwoman, there is nothing wrong with the 2000 law. It does not need to be altered or amended. The issue is its implementation by HUD.

Chairwoman Biggert, Ranking Member Gutierrez, we thank you for holding his hearing and for the opportunity to address the subcommittee.

[The prepared statement of MHARR can be found on page 36 of the appendix.]

Chairwoman BIGGERT. Thank you.” ##


Part II


Then Congressman Sean P. Duffy (WI-R) was at the hearing when Hussey spoke. According to Wikipedia: (WI-R), “Sean Patrick Duffy is an American politician, prosecutor, former sports commentator, and reality television personality who is currently a co-host of The Bottom Line on Fox Business, as well as a contributor on Fox News.” That noted, then Congressman Duffy at the same hearing said the following. Duffy had the following to say about Hussey to those at the hearing, and by extension, to those who have read the testimony.

QuoteMarksLeftSideMHLivingNewsMr. DUFFY. Thank you, Madam Chairwoman. I want to thank the panel for coming in today. Specifically, I want to thank Mr. Hussey for coming in. He is involved with Liberty Homes that manufactures housing not only around the country, but in my district, where Liberty Homes employs 80 people in Dorchester, Wisconsin.

We are well aware that they are a great job creator but they also provide affordable, safe, low-cost housing to people in my district. That is a dual benefit that we have from Liberty Homes in Wisconsin’s Seventh Congressional District.

I am well aware of the December 2000 law that passed Congress, the Manufactured Housing and Improvement Act of 2000. Its intent was to streamline the regulatory burdens and open up financing for homeowners. I am well aware that quite a few folks on this panel don’t believe that the intent of the law has come to pass, and I look forward to hearing the testimony of the panel about some of the issues that you face, and to pass on some of the solutions that we may address to resolve the problem.

I yield back.”



According to the Yonder Culp Funeral Home website are the following.

Edward James Hussey, 95, of Goshen passed away February 7, 2013 from complications of Parkinson’s disease.

Mr. Hussey was born September 14, 1917 in Detroit, Michigan, of Edward and Mary (Shea) Hussey. Mr. Hussey graduated from Detroit Catholic Central High School in 1934 and the University of Detroit in 1942 with a degree in accounting.

While attending night school at University of Detroit he worked at the family grocery store and for the Ford Motor Company.

Mr. Hussey served in the U.S. Army (1942-1946) during World War II, achieving the rank of Major and was awarded the Bronze Star. He served in the Signal Corps in the European Theater in England, France, Belgium and Germany. Later in life Mr. Hussey returned to Europe and took his family on a tour of many of the battlefields on which he served during the war.

He married Mariana Chase McCue on December 1, 1945 in Hudson, Mich.

Ed and Mariana met on a blind date prior to Ed’s graduation from college. Mariana was his cherished wife and life’s companion for over 63 years.

After World War II Mr. Hussey was a certified public accountant and a partner with Arthur Anderson in Detroit, Mich.

Having been raised in Detroit, Mr. Hussey was a lifelong fan of the Tigers, Lions and especially, the Detroit Red Wings. He loved ice skating during the winter and boating year round.

In 1960 Mr. Hussey purchased Liberty Homes, Inc. where he served as President and Chairman of the Board for over forty years.

Mr. Hussey was a vocal advocate of the manufactured housing industry and fought long and hard to promote manufactured housing.

During his tenure at Liberty Homes, Mr. Hussey was twice elected chairman of the Manufactured Housing Institute, Washington D.C. and was a founding member of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform.

Mr. Hussey was inducted into the Manufactured Home/Recreational Vehicle Hall of Fame in 1995.

Mr. Hussey was an active member of St. John the Evangelist Church in Goshen and a member of the University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business Advisory Council for many years.

In 1985 Mr. Hussey was awarded an honorary degree from St. Mary’s College in recognition of his service on the St. Mary’s College Board of Trustees.

Mr. Hussey was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Mariana; both of his parents; a brother, Martin; three sisters, Marian Lutz, Virginia Schueren and Genevieve Hussey; and son-in-law, Robert Key. He is survived by nine children, Edward Joseph (Sue) Hussey of Valparaiso, Nancy (Thomas) Parrish of Elkhart, Mary (James) Noone of Rydal, Pa., Kathleen Amato of Chicago, Ill., Maureen Key of Lake Forest, Ill., Michael (Elna) Hussey of Goshen, Daniel (Kathy) Hussey of Burr Ridge, Ill., John (Terry) Hussey of Goshen, and Mariana (Kevin) O’Rear of Granger; 40 grandchildren; and 16 great-grandchildren.

Ed Hussey was very proud of his large family and often vacationed with as many of his children and grandchildren as he could assemble. New Year’s in south Florida was often a mini family reunion.

Though slowed in later years by Parkinson’s disease, Ed Hussey fought the disease and remained active in the industry he loved.

…The funeral Mass will be recited at 10 a.m. Saturday, February 16, 2013 at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, 417 S. Main St., Goshen [IN]…” ##





That snapshot of Ed Hussey’s biography is keenly insightful. Coupled with Hussey’s comments to Congress, shown above, it suggests concepts near and dear to the hearts of well over 100 million adult Americans.


As a disclosure, this writer personally toured Liberty Homes’ production center in Dorchester, Wisconsin. The firm I was managing for at the time sold Liberty Homes, which I was proud to have my team selling. I recall with fondness a pair of journalists for a Wisconsin based publication that were blown away by the Liberty Homes they were shown. They simply could not believe the value. A local official also embraced the value and plugged the community we were selling those homes in his newsletter. Having toured thousands through modern manufactured homes, it is my experience that people who cross the threshold into a properly sited and displayed manufactured home are routinely dazzled.


Liberty Homes Aurora model, photo uploaded to MHLivingNews on November 25, 2013. Tens of millions of Americans who would look at a home like this in person would love to own a home like this one, or others that Liberty produced.  


The American Dream has long included the notion of home ownership. For a variety of reasons found in reports like the one linked below, traditional home ownership is out of reach for most renters today. Yet, most renters, per the National Association of Realtors (NAR), still want to own a home of their own.




Furthermore, because middle aged or retiree homeowners don’t want to pay sky-high prices or higher interest rates, existing homeowners have doggedly dodged selling. So, listings of conventional resale housing are at multi-year lows. Most cities are around 50-60% of the inventory they had prior to the pandemic,” says John Hunt, chief analyst and principal with MarketNsight, a housing research firm tracking markets in nine states. “We’re still selling houses at about 80% of the clip as last year.” That is according to U.S. News in a report dated January 24, 2024. The facts are clear. There is no other proven way to close the affordable housing gap that rivals a modern manufactured home


Liberty Homes, Aurora model kitchen photo. This photo was uploaded on November 25, 2013 to Manufactured Home Living News. Contemporary designs and options routinely offer upgraded appliances and a variety of colors.


The solution to so many of these issues is hiding in plain sight. It is modern manufactured homes. Hussey understood that well. His colleague at MHARR, John Bostick, understood that too. Bostick doubtlessly could own a conventional house. But he and his wife opted for a factory built home made in their own production center instead. Bostick’s daughter Lindsey also bought a manufactured home.




Numbers of others like Hussey and Bostick have worked tirelessly for decades to make the American Dream a reality for so many millions of Americans.


Liberty Homes Aurora model living area photo, uploaded on November 25, 2013 to Manufactured Home Living News.


According to research by mortgage giant Freddie Mac most Americans would consider a manufactured home. The evidence-base case can be made that manufactured homes is the most studied and proven form of affordable housing in U.S. history.







Without putting words into Hussey’s mouth, he and several others left the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) behind and formed what became the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR).  It has been said that actions speak louder than words. As regular and longtime readers of MHLivingNews know, as a former MHI member, we were critical of things that MHI did or failed to do then, and along with others we remain critical of their apparent missteps now. They are supposed to be educating the public, but where is something like this that they are doing?


Hussey has passed on, but his legacy endures.


Hussey was honored by the RV MH Hall of Fame before it arguably became politicized by influencers at the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), which is an entirely different topic.


This is another manufactured home produced by a MHARR member firm.


The insights Hussey presented herein based on his statements to Congress and his obituary reveal a man who loved America, loved his family, cherished his faith, and wanted others to be able to live the dream of home ownership he enjoyed and made possible to so many people in numerous states. God willing, his memory and message may still yet inspire numerous souls to fix what’s wrong with what is already right, good, and proven in America. ###


See his context and the full ‘debate’ context in the report, linked here. https://www.manufacturedhomepronews.com/epic-kevin-clayton-moat-rant-analysis-lesli-gooch-debate-defense-doug-ryan-charge-end-clayton-monopoly-over-manufactured-housing-breaching-buffett-berkshire-clayton-monopolistic-moat-method/





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That’s a wrap on this installment of “News through the lens of manufactured homes and factory-built housing” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ### (Affordable housing, manufactured homes, reports, fact-checks, analysis, and commentary. Third-party images or content are provided under fair use guidelines for media.) (See Related Reports, further below. Text/image boxes often are hot-linked to other reports that can be access by clicking on them.)

How quickly they grow! Our son is about the same height as dad now. On that occasion recalled by this photo, all on Capitol Hill were welcoming and interested in the discussion of manufactured housing-related issues in our 12.3.2019 meetings. But Texas Congressman Al Green’s office was tremendous in their hospitality. Our son’s hand is on a package that included a copy of the Constitution of the United States and other goodies. MHLivingNews and MHProNews has worked with people and politicos across the left-right divide.

By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – for MHLivingNews.com.

Tony earned a journalism scholarship and earned numerous awards in history and in manufactured housing. For example, he earned the prestigious Lottinville Award in history from the University of Oklahoma, where he studied history and business management. He’s a managing member and co-founder of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com. This article reflects the LLC’s and/or the writer’s position, and may or may not reflect the views of sponsors or supporters.


Connect on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach

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The text/image boxes below are linked to other reports, which can be accessed by clicking on them.





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