Storytellers Wanted! The Mobile and Manufactured Home Storytelling Project – Truth Tellers, Myth Busters, and Behind the Scenes Revelations are Encouraged Here

On Sunday, April 14, 2019 at 4:48 PM an email was sent by Robert “Bob” Van Cleef to Mobile and Manufactured Home Living News ( It said in part the following: “I just discovered your site while looking for responses to John Oliver’s report.  I really like what I see and thank you for your reporting. One suggestion:  Please include a publication date with each article.  I was reading some back articles and couldn’t get a clear indication of “when” they were written.” It would be simple to plead “guilty as charged” to that assertion by Bob to dozens upon dozens of the reports here on That’s not an accident, it is frankly intentional because many of the reports are intended to be ‘timeless’ insights into mobile and manufactured home living. An article published a five or ten years ago may be as relevant now as then. While prices, for example, obviously change, the rate of savings in buying a manufactured home vs. buying a conventional ‘site built’ house are much the same.


The video below is a composite of several previously recorded video
clips of actual manufactured home owners. While prices may have
changed and timelines on deliveries can differ, the rate of savings
over conventional housing remains the same, per the Census Bureau.


Van Cleef’s email led to messages and conversations that resulted in his becoming a periodic contributor to MHLivingNews. Then, Van Cleef experienced an untimely death. But his memory lives on in here in reports that he wrote. From time to time, on MHProNews and/or here on MHLivingNews a remark by Van Cleef may be cited and the article it was posted from linked up.

Van Cleef like to write. Some people like to do videos. Others like to take photos. Some people feel ‘called’ to respond to a worthwhile cause.

Van Cleef and this author did not agree on everything, but we would have quite readily agreed with the powerful non-partisan insight shared by the Democrat turned Republican Ronald Reagan, who served as both a Governor of California and as the 40th president of the United States of America (USA). Reagan said this: “My 80 percent friend isn’t my 20 percent enemy.” Joe Scarborough of Morning Joe fame said via Twitter on 10.6.2013 this version of that remark: “The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally – not a 20 percent traitor.” ~ Ronald Reagan.”


There are some insights made by politicos that transcend political parties. Note as a point of interest, because paltering and projecting are regular themes on our platforms the following. Just because someone made a certain remark doesn’t mean that they lived the remark that they may have aptly said.

That noted, among the fascinating remarks from William Jefferson “Bill” Clinton, the former Democratic governor of Arkansas and the former President of the United States, is this pithy Clinton insight. “There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right in America.”

Various forms of manufactured or factory-built housing can be found in continents around the globe. But the mobile home origins of modern manufactured housing was popularized as a uniquely American industry. It dates back to the travel trailer era, and is a reminder that there are similarities as well as differences between travel trailers and the ‘trailer houses’ of yesteryear. It would be easy to dive into that history, but let’s do that via the links below and press onto the theme of this article.

Official U.S. Census Bureau Cost & Size Comparisons of New Manufactured Homes to New Single-Family Site-Built Homes – Facts for Shoppers, Affordable Housing Advocates, Public Officials, Investors & Researchers

Urban Institute – ‘The Role of Manufactured Housing in Increasing the Supply of Affordable Housing’ in the U.S.A., Unpacking UI’s Deep Dive into Manufactured Homes Research in July 2022

‘Debunking Manufactured Housing Myths – Get the Facts,’ Says Mortgage Giant Freddie Mac’s Research – FHLMC Counters, Clarifies Claims About Trailer Houses, Mobile Homes, and Tiny Houses

The Home Journey Roadmap, Mortgage Giant Freddie Mac Explains Step-By-Step ‘How to Achieve the American Dream with Manufactured Housing’ – Financing, Buyers Tips, Facts and Analysis

It would be a fair statement to say that Van Cleef committed himself to become a volunteer student of this author and the platforms produced by the parent company to MHLivingNews and MHProNews. Van Cleef’s interest, it would be fair to say, were several. As a manufactured home resident and owner himself, he was thrilled with the value proposition, which he would routinely express in his own words. But Bob was also troubled by “predatory” or “vulture” type personalities that had moved into the manufactured housing industry in apparently ever-greater numbers. and


Van Cleef became a volunteer advocate for the manufactured home land-lease community he and his wife lived in. He would follow the news, engage with public officials, wrote letters, and would from time to time write articles. Bob, IMHO, was a good student. He became quite adept at understanding not only the surface issues but what was occurring behind the curtain too.

For years, MHLivingNews and MHProNews have relied upon the insights and remarks of others. The video below is one of dozens of examples of that statement.


Bob Van Cleef didn’t just learn, he shared. Meaning, we learned from each other. He was respected here, and he is missed.

What made Bob ‘a good student’ of the manufactured home industry – its potential, good, and the apparent woes – was his willingness to learn. We might initially see some issue in different ways. But he was open to seeing something differently too. In short, he was coachable on most everything. It would be fair to say that he became more than an 80 percent friend, even though we had sometimes sharp disagreements on certain topics that did not directly relate to manufactured housing.


Manufactured Home Community Leader Discusses – Manufactured Housing Insanity?

We know from calls and messages from readers that people who own a manufactured home yearn to tell their story.

We know from conversations and messages that most people ‘love’ their manufactured home (some have an honest-to-goodness ‘mobile home’) but may have some issue with their community operator, or builder, retailer, etc.


Some people simply love everything that they experienced in manufactured home living. They may have no complaints, only praise. They want other Americans to understand why they love their mobile or manufactured home.

For those with the time, interest, and inclination, this is an invitation to reach out and share your story. There are not guarantees that we will publish something you may want to share. But we have the story of Bob Van Cleef as an example of someone that gladly shared and was published several times and is still recalled with fondness, respect, and appreciation.

We live in a HUD Code manufactured home. Like Bob, we previously lived in various kinds of conventional construction too. Millions of people who own or live in a manufactured home first lived in conventional housing.

There are differences, but when properly understood, manufactured homes perform in dynamically similar ways and may cost about half the price as new conventional construction. You can cook, clean, eat, live and love in a manufactured home in much the same way as you would in any other kind of permanent housing.

Do you or someone you know have the itch to be part of the solution to the perception, legal, and other challenges that manufactured housing faces? Email us at

Want to save time?

  1. Send one message with a brief bio about yourself that includes links to your social media.
  2. You could send one article that you have in mind about a topic related to manufactured home living. Tell the story you want to share in your words.
  3. Photos or links to videos online (could be social media, YouTube, Vimeo, Rumble or other videos) with embed codes are welcome.

Keep in mind that your work is voluntary. If we decide to publish, which some people and organizations have paid good money to get published, there is no financial compensation from us or our parent company (LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC) and you are granting us the use of what you provide as we see fit. It is like a letter to an editor, only it can be longer. To set that voluntary nature of this in context, we also volunteer scads of time because we are believers in manufactured homes and the opportunities in manufactured home living. We volunteer loads of time because we understand the obstacles and challenges, internal and external, and want to be part of the solution.

That email address again is Don’t use or send weird attachments, as they may not be opened for security’s sake. Please don’t involve us in marital or similar personal issues. But on topics that relate to manufactured home living in most ways that doesn’t cross some legal or moral line, we are keen to see and hear what you have to say. It is often far better than a letter to the editor, because often far more people will see it and you can be more creative in what you have to share.

That email address is In the subject line write “Storytellers Wanted! The Mobile and Manufactured Home Storytelling Project.”  ###

Our Journey in Affordable Home Ownership – Challenges and Rewards of Quality, Affordable Manufactured Home Living – Hopes, Horrors, and a ‘Shocking’ Peek into Gonzo Journalism?



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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.)

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. MHProNews has worked with people and politicos across the left-right divide.

By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – for

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 This article reflects the LLC’s and/or the writer’s position, and may or may not reflect the views of sponsors or supporters.

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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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