Thanksgiving in MHVille, Backstory of Misunderstood But Most Proven U.S. Affordable Housing Solution – From Trailer Houses, to Mobile Homes, to Manufactured Housing – Modern Manufactured Homes Reality Check

It may seem like a modern miracle. It may sound too good to be true. Brand new homes with warranties and consumer protections not found in housing that is far higher priced, yet only about half the cost of conventional construction. But before getting ahead of our true story, a look back for understanding is appropriate. For decades, the secular side of the Thanksgiving holiday and “Black Friday” marked the ‘start’ of the Christmas season and related shopping. Of course, Thanksgiving began as a religiously inspired festival in the U.S.  Thanksgiving is documented to date back to 1619 in what is now called the Commonwealth (state) of Virginia. The date of the Thanksgiving celebration varied by state until 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln made it a national holiday. Sarah Josepha Hale (1788–1879), who Britannica says was the first female editor and author in the U.S, wrote letters to public officials for some 40 years advocating an official national Thanksgiving holiday. In 1863 President Lincoln made Hale’s vision a reality by setting the date for a National Day of Thanksgiving by executive proclamation.

According to the American Presidency Project, Lincoln said in his proclamation (italics added):

  • “It has also pleased our Heavenly Father to favor as well our citizens in their homes…”
  • “…set apart the last Thursday in November next as a day which I desire to be observed by all my fellow-citizens, wherever they may then be, as a day of thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God, the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe. And I do further recommend to my fellow-citizens aforesaid that on that occasion they do reverently humble themselves in the dust and from thence offer up penitent and fervent prayers and supplications to the Great Disposer of Events for a return of the inestimable blessings of peace, union, and harmony throughout the land which it has pleased Him to assign as a dwelling place for ourselves and for our posterity throughout all generations.”

Home ownership and private property rights have long been understood as important components of the ‘blessings of liberty.’

According to FEE: “The Founding Fathers upheld the economic view of property. They believed that private property ownership, as defined under common law, pre-existed government. The state and federal governments were the mere contractual agents of the people, not sovereign lords over them. All rights, not specifically delegated to the government, remained with the people–including the common-law provisions of private property. Consequently, the constitutional rights regarding free speech, freedom of religion, the right of assembly, and private property rights are all claims that individuals may hold and exercise against the government itself. In brief, private property refers to the rights of owners to use their possessions which are enforceable against all nonowners–even the government.”

These God-given rights to privately owned property are constitutionally protected in the U.S.A.

Rights to privately owned property bolster and are intertwined with other guaranteed rights, which some experts say have long been under assault in America and around the world. Given that most of human history around the world has been marked by slavery, indentured servitude, and various forms of lord-vassal-servant relationships, it is good on Thanksgiving Day for those who own a home to be thankful for homeownership and all other blessings a person or family may have.

Along with ending serfdom or slavery in a formal sense, it is wise to understand that the right to private property goes with personal freedom. Economic, religious, political, and personal liberty all go hand-in-hand. Part of the tragedy of our era is that reportedly tens of millions are still de facto slaves in various parts of the world, including Communist China, North Korea, and parts of Africa to name but a few. The fight for freedom never stops. In some browsers, you can click the image and follow the prompts to see it in a larger or full size.


But it is also important to note that about 1/3rd of the U.S. population is still without a home they can call their own.  Freedom is limited when one’s dwelling isn’t owned by its residents. Look carefully at a typical lease to see how many limitations on a person’s rights renting imposes.

Beyond some 111 million U.S. renters there are tragically also some 600,000 homeless in American in 2022. That means that about 1 in every 588 Americans is homeless. As conventional housing costs and rental costs both soared following the declared COVID19 pandemic declaration, the need for proven free market solutions to affordable housing that doesn’t cost taxpayers a dime ought to be explored.

Turkey, gatherings of family and friends, and football are among the items associated with Thanksgiving in the U.S. The videos posted below shed light on some of the history of the holiday.



From Trailer House to Mobile Home to Manufactured Housing

Modern manufactured homes are at the apex of the evolution from trailer houses to mobile homes to federally regulated HUD Code manufactured homes. Manufactured homes are built to third-party inspected state and federally standards for installation, quality, safety, greener/lower energy use, and durability.




The HUD Code for manufactured housing is a performance code which is designed to inspire innovations so long as the homes ‘perform’ in a similar dynamic fashion that conventional housing does in a given part of the nation. The interview below with the first Office of Manufactured Housing Programs (OMHP) administrator, William “Bill” Matchneer provides visual and descriptive factual insights that merit celebration during holidays and every day.



The infographics and linked reports on this page help complete the evidence for the valuable role that modern manufactured homes could play, so long as public officials abide by the various laws that are designed to support more affordable manufactured home ownership.


The stories – the good, bad, or true tales that might land somewhere in between that spectrum – about the promise and hurdles found in manufactured home living are the subject of hundreds of reports on MHLivingNews. So too are the reports that aim to get to the root issues that could spread the blessings of manufactured home living while limiting the artificially caused woes are explored in articles, videos, and reports found on MHLivingNews.

A 1952 Rebel, photo by Bob Vahsholtz. The trailer house was about 8′ wide and thus akin to the travel trailers of yesteryear. They could be pulled by properly equipped cars or pickups. By the mobile home era, 10′ and 12′ wide homes were produced in factories that required permits to be moved on highways and routinely needed heavier duty vehicles to move them. Those mobile homes sometimes featured ‘pull out’ or ‘tip out’ living rooms. Sections might be combined on site to form ‘double wides.’ By the late 1960s and early 1970s, mobile homes were selling like hotcakes. But not all mobile homes were built to proper safety standards. It was the mobile homes that had inferior insulation or safety features that began to give the industry a poor reputation. That prompted better manufacturers to ‘team up’ and seek federal regulation. In 1974 Congress established those federal standards which became known as the HUD Code for manufactured housing. On June 15, 1976 the first HUD Code manufactured homes were built. There have been no mobile homes built in the U.S. since the manufactured housing standards went into effect on 6.15.1976.


Manufactured homes properly understood and widely supported would benefit the vast majority of Americans, not just those who are renters.

The graphic below is from 2018, and prices have changed (risen) since then. But manufactured homes are still about half the price of conventional housing.

Millions want or need quality affordable housing. Manufactured homes can be purchased for about half the cost of building a new conventional home. That’s simply a fact.

The Tampa Free Press featured a report, see the linked item below, that explained how modern manufactured homes were only about half the cost of a similar sized conventional house.


Taxpayer funded subsidized housing has never been provided at a level that can work to meet the needs of the nation. After decades of trying that approach, why is there any reluctance to do what common sense dictates? The need for quality, durable, safe and energy-saving factory-built manufactured homes ought to be apparent. But ignorant policies that are often driven by special interests and NIMBYism has harmed the most proven solution for the affordable housing crisis.


Ironically, resisting manufactured homes means more ‘tent cities’ pop up. Isn’t it obvious that manufactured home living is preferable to tent or cardboard box living?



Nor would taxpayer-funded subsidy programs be needed, so long as manufactured housing would be deployed in the numbers that are needed to meet current and future needs for affordable housing.


The facts are in. The research has been done. In fact, the largest known collection of third-party research on manufactured housing is found right here on this website. Reports like the one linked below include several research studies that routinely debunk the outdated concerns that might have applied to trailers from the 1930s to the 1950s, or to mobile homes from the 1950s to the early 1970s, but no longer apply to manufactured homes.

Research-Data-Stats – Media & Investigator Resources – Mobile Homes, Manufactured Homes, Manufactured Housing Research – HUD, Univ-Studies, CFPB, Nonprofits, GAO, NFPA – Exec Summary, Definitions, Facts, Trends, More

Which Is It? Is it a Mobile Home or a Manufactured Home? Visual Guidance Planned by AP Stylebook for Reporters/Journalists Useful to General Public, Public Officials, and Researchers


What is needed is for more people to dig into those facts and discover the often-surprising realities that go with the truths about manufactured homes.


Updated Mobile Homes, Manufactured Homes, Conventional Housing Comparisons, Data, and Infographics 2021 – Third-Party Researched Facts – From Trailers to Affordable Modern Manufactured Housing

Affordable Housing, Conventional Housing, Mobile Home, Manufactured Home, and Modular Housing Conundrum – What U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Research Revealed

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


What’s truly amazing is that Congress, after studying these facts, passed widely bipartisan legislation to support HUD Code manufactured homes. But those laws are languishing. Key portions of those laws are improperly enforced, which is what is limiting manufactured housing today. That bears federal and state level investigations to hold those accountable who have undermined what should be a fundamental private property right of Americans to own an affordable home.

Note in some browsers and devices the image below can be expanded to a larger size.


MobileHomeHUDCodeManufacturedHomeProductionTotalsByYear1959to2021ManufacturedHomeLivingNewsManufacturedHomeProNewsEIN2.6.2022 Note: this image can be opened in many browsers and devices to a larger size. Click the image and follow the prompts.


It may require more people of good will who want the blessings of liberty and home ownership for all our fellow Americans of whatever background make the American Dream a reality for the highest possible number of Americans.  Happy Thanksgiving from MHLivingNews. ##

Billionaire$ and Millionaire$ Proudly Hang Out in New York Manufactured Homes, Condo Resort


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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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