Songs can often capture ideas and emotions in poetic and transformative ways. Ballads by definition are songs that tell a story. The ballad that Gretchen Peters wrote that was performed by Martina McBride blends a range of symbols that brilliantly captures the story of an abused woman, as told through the eyes of her daughter. For the next few minutes, let’s broaden the meaning of that song – posted further below – seeking independence for all those who have been let down, overlooked, betrayed, or abused.
In one of the richest nations on earth per capita, we see a homeownership rate that is dwarfed by often much less fortunate countries. Why is that so?
In cities across America, local and national news increasingly tells the story of a growing homeless population. Some of those homeless once held – or still hold – jobs. When people sleep in cars, older or even disabled RVs, that is a warning sign for the American Dream.
A recent Gallup survey was spun on its head when it said that patriotism is on the decline. That may be, but far more people believe in America than don’t. Whatever someone thinks about immigration and the border crisis, the fact that millions want to come to the USA tells us all that our nation is superior to the one that they are leaving.
There is much good here in the U.S.A. But there is work still to be done.
There are unintended consequences to land-use policies that cities and towns across the country have when they block access to the most proven form of affordable housing. That would be manufactured homes, as a bipartisan group of Democratic and Republican lawmakers have found. They laid out the facts in a report linked below.
Former HUD Secretary Julián Castro (Democrat) and current HUD Secretary Ben Carson (Republican) both have praised manufactured homes and as a necessary, proven, and important resource in the battle for affordable and attainable home ownership.
That said, why have so many lawmakers or public officials at the local and state levels allowed NIMBYism and special interests to thwart the aspirations of literarily millions of people collectively?
There is an appeal to manufactured home living that much of the nation, for whatever reasons, fails to grasp. Manufactured homes have not just the poor or lower middle class living in them. These factory-built marvels also have retirees, millionaires, some rich and famous people calling a manufactured home their home. Their stories are among the dozens upon dozens of people from all backgrounds and economic conditions that are told on this Manufactured Home Living News site.
Rephrased, pre-HUD Code mobile homes and post HUD Code manufactured homes (MH) – see the definitions and distinctions above – are a proven way to solve the affordable housing crisis. Preserving existing housing and other options should also be part of the plan.
But in places like Bryan, TX, despite organized protests, petition drives, and months of activism – after plenty of evidence was presented to city leaders that what they were about to do was wrong – those local officials turned a blind eye to the aspirations of their own citizens, per what those protestors said. Let’s note that some officials and leaders stood tall, fought for and are still fighting for the rights of their neighbors to own a manufactured home.
This is why existing federal laws and proven solutions must be brought to bear, not as a campaign slogan, but rather as a rapidly deployable tool in the fight for economic justice, which includes the access to affordable housing.
Put differently, we don’t have to wait until the next election for public officials to put to work laws that already exist and are not being properly enforced.
Only an increased supply of new homes and access to more new home sites will fix what is wrong. Secretary Carson and the National Association of Realtor (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun have both essentially pointed to that same issue and obvious solution. To boost the acceptance and understanding of what must occur, people’s fears and misconceptions should be alleviated. That requires some education, but it doesn’t take that long, as a few minutes of reading the article linked below rapidly reveals.
Those officials in Bryan, TX – and other places like that city – may not be considering that down the line their failure to allow in affordable new manufactured homes could some day result in tents, homelessness, or people sleeping in cars. It is failure to allow more affordable manufactured home sites to be developed that in turn causes existing sites values to skyrocket, which leads to higher taxes and other costs for existing community residents. There is a high price to pay by the majority when the law of supply and demand are manipulated or ignored. Thankfully, not all local officials are as arguably misguided as those in Bryan seem to be, as County Commissioner James Hanning illustrated in the interview video below.
Most Americans have a proven ability to be pragmatic when given the facts.
The FEAR report linked above presents the facts, research, and evidence that there is more economic growth as a result of allowing affordable homes. The report also demonstrates that manufactured homes appreciated side-by-side with conventional housing in several U.S. cities, studied by independent researchers commissioned by HUD. The facts can melt the fears of the NIMBYites.
There are existing federal laws that a few special interests, including some tragically within the manufactured home industry itself, that have been thwarted. That’s not merely ‘wrong.’ It ought to be – and several of their actions may already be – against the law. Antitrust laws, enhanced preemption provided by law for manufactured homes, and the lending options already passed by Congress over a decade ago need to be enforced.
A few are profiting at the expense of the many because those few have learned how to manipulate the system in their favor.
An Evolutionary Understanding of the Facts
This writer is man enough to publicly admit that based upon new insights and information, my understanding of certain issues, companies, and organizations has evolved. Thus the quote below applies to me. I’ve worked in this industry for decades, with years of good customer relations. I’ve lived in conventional housing in nice neighborhoods and in manufactured homes in nice communities. Years living in manufactured home communities occurred both as a resident like any other, but also later in management roles. That said, my understanding of the industry’s nuances had to evolve in the light of new facts. Will others evolve in their views too, also based upon new information and understanding? Don’t we all have to look with fresh eyes at issues that have persisted for far too long?
With new insight, including but not limited to those linked or noted from this post, let’s return to McBride’s refrain, tweak it only slightly with the words in black below the music video, and sing along…
“…Let the whole world know that today’s the day of reckoning. Let the weak be strong. Let’s right what’s wrong. Roll the stone away. Let the guilty pay. It’s Independence Day.”
Now you may better understand our mantra, “We Provide, You Decide.” © Dig into the related and linked reports above and below to round out the picture. Let’s restore the American Dream, starting with an understanding of Independence Day. ## (LifeStyle News, reports, analysis, fact-checks, and commentary. All third-party images and content are provided under fair use guidelines for media.)
L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach is co-founder of MHLivingNews and MHProNews. He is a highly acclaimed industry expert and consultant, a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, and is a 25 plus year award-winning manufactured home industry professional. Kovach earned the Lottinville award in history at the University of Oklahoma.
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Washington, D.C., June 18, 2019 – The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), in a June 13, 2019 communication to Fannie Mae Vice President Jonathan Lawless (copy attached), has reiterated its call for a congressional investigation into the failure of both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to implement the statutory Duty to Serve Underserved …