In a letter dated June 6, 2019 obtained by MHLivingNews, Senator Tina Smith (MN-D) wrote Senators Mike Crapo (ID-R) and Sherrod Brown (OH-D) to urge greater support for lending on affordable housing, particularly naming manufactured homes.
Senator Crapo is the chairman and Senator Brown is the ranking member of the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. Smith is a freshman senator and has already proven to be active on issues involving affordable housing, specifically naming manufactured homes on numerous occasions.
Senator’s Smith letter begins as follows.
“Dear Chairman Crapo and Ranking Member Brown,
Following the Banking Committee s March hearings on the housing finance system, I am writing to highlight several key areas that I believe should be prioritized in any housing finance reform effort. Since the financial crisis, Congress and federal regulators have worked to stabilize the housing finance system and strengthen both the primary and secondary mortgage market. As we now consider reforms to the housing finance system, it is imperative that we preserve the progress being made in these areas and that these gains are not lost.
Specifically, I ask that you:
Retain specific Duty To Serve requirements for affordable housing, manufactured housing, and underserved rural and tribal communities.
The Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) of 2008 directed the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) to develop plans to serve underserved markets. The first Duty To Serve (DTS) plans went into effect in 2018, and have already resulted in promising initiatives to target specific housing issues in rural and native areas and in the manufactured housing market. The value of DTS plans is their specificity; there are unique challenges in these markets that might not be addressed without the direction of Congress.
For example, manufactured housing is a critical source of affordable housing in Indian Country in Minnesota, where there are additional legal barriers to building a home on trust land. Often these homes are titled as personal property rather than real estate, which is a distinction that can determine available financing options. Under their DTS plan, Freddie Mac developed a pilot program that set out to better understand how they might develop a secondary market for these loans.’ A housing finance system that does not direct guarantors to serve specific underserved markets might fail to address specific challenges like this one.”
Smith One of Several Lawmakers – Democrats and Republicans – Who See Value in Manufactured Homes
Senator Smith is just one of several legislators that have discovered the value of modern manufactured homes. Keep in mind our prior report, linked here and below, that recalls the letter from a bipartisan panel of Minnesota lawmakers who similarly found that the facts strongly support manufactured housing.
Much, but not all, of what has gone wrong with the public perception of manufactured housing is arguably internal to the industry. There are powerful forces that have purportedly manipulated the financial system to the benefit of their own firms. See our deep dive into those concerns, linked below.
Without mentioning Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corporation or Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF), the last sentence in the paragraph below may be an oblique reference to the problems found in the manufactured housing finance market.
Per Smith’s letter:
“Require guarantors to support lending to low- and very low-income borrowers.
The GSEs current affordable housing goals require Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to purchase a certain percentage of mortgages to low- and very low-income households. These goals allow mortgage originators in Minnesota and across the country to offer more loans to borrowers they might not otherwise be able to serve. To say that the private market would fill these gaps has been proven untrue.”
The balance of Senator Smith’s letter is found at this link here as a download.
Bad News, Good News
There are plenty of authentic ‘good news’ stories and video interviews with actual homeowners who were not paid to say what they believe and experienced found here on Manufactured Home Living News. One of them is posted further below.
But also look at the Last Week Tonight with John Oliver report, which outlines the troubling issues that routinely trace back to specific companies that are often members of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). For whatever reasons MHI member firms often – but not always – are connected to examples of problematic behavior in the manufactured housing industry. A prominent example previously covered is linked here.
Let’s stress that we follow the facts, quote sources accurately, follow the money and evidence, without political favor, as we are independents. We believe that manufactured homes ought to be a non-partisan or bipartisan issue. For example, see what prior presidents said and did tied to manufactured housing, linked here.
Be A Savvy Housing Shopper
For those considering a manufactured home, we have always – and will continue to – urge shoppers to carefully discern the track record of the company they are considering doing business with. For example, if you are considering a manufactured home in a land-lease community, before buying, ask them for written assurances that if they decide to pursue selling their property, that they will first:
· provide a long-term lease with common sense consumer and business safeguards, and/or
· offer to sell that community to the residents at a fair market price via some form of cooperative or other favorable resident-ownership model.
If it is an honorable business, they should have no problem doing so. Honorable professionals should also be happy to have you talk to other residents and/or prior manufactured home buyers to see what their service experience has been like.
See the related reports for more insights on issues pertaining to the ‘good news’ about modern manufactured homes. Senator Smith mentioned Native Americans in her letter. The interview below includes a Native American and his wife who both love their contemporary manufactured home. As with all of our videos, the couple were not paid a dime to share what they said. It is evident from the video that they speak from their hearts. They – like many others – simply want people to know the truth of their experiences.
Today’s manufactured homes – when properly understood – can and do solve the affordable housing needs of those who grasp and follow this misunderstood option. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (Lifestyle news, commentary, fact-checks, and analysis.)
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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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