I'M HOME Monthly Update
I'M HOME Monthly Update: February 2017
Make Homeownership Affordable
Homeownership is the single largest source of wealth for American households and is a key part of the American Dream. Congress will be considering reforms to federal programs and agencies that help make homeownership possible for millions of families, and we need to make sure that underserved households are not shut out from the path to homeownership. Join our Affordable Homeownership Campaign to stay informed about ways to support families' dreams of becoming homeowners!
Resource Guide: First Steps Towards Resident Purchase Opportunity
While there are close to 1,000 resident-owned manufactured home communities in the United States, many states do not have policies encouraging resident ownership. Our updated resource guide, First Steps Towards a Resident Purchase Opportunity, outlines potential measures to help move states in the direction of greater support for resident purchase opportunity. Created in collaboration with the National Consumer Law Center, this guide presents thirteen potential policies that advocates can promote in the event that a full-fledged resident ownership policy is not feasible.
Transforming Niche Ideas into Thriving Communities
In a recent Inclusive Economy post, CFED president Andrea Levere highlights the promise of resident ownership through the lens of NPR’s recent series on manufactured housing communities. The two-part series, which we featured in our January Monthly Update, describes two manufactured housing communities. While the community in the first article must rely on a negligent owner to meet their infrastructure needs, the community highlighted in the second article has gained control of their land and is making infrastructure improvements through resident ownership. In her post, Levere attributes the success of resident ownership to Resident Owned Communities, USA (ROC USA), which empowers residents to form homeowner associations and purchase the land underneath their homes to preserve their communities. With the help of ROC USA and organizations such as Northcountry Cooperative Foundation and the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, residents are able to finance the purchase of their communities, improve infrastructure and gain land security. I’M HOME is proud to work with these organizations and all of our Lead Organizations to leverage and enhance the benefits of manufactured housing, the country’s largest source of unsubsidized affordable housing. For all that you do to make resident ownership possible, thank you!
Pitkin County Commissioners Preserve Affordable Homes and Prevent Evictions
County Board Commissioners in Pitkin County, Colorado, agreed to spend as much as $7.5 million to purchase the Phillips Mobile Home Park, thereby keeping residents in place and preserving manufactured homes in their affordable housing stock. The purchase would include 76.3 acres and prevent 60 people from becoming displaced. The Park has been in the same family since 1933 and has remained an affordable housing option in the county but in recent years has become too costly to maintain and operate. Since the family did not want to evict residents, they approached the county about purchasing the property. According to the County Attorney, the county commissioners may decide to sell off portions of the property not involved in affordable housing or allow other county entities like the Open Space and Trails Program or the Healthy Rivers and Streams Board to manage those areas. This purchase is part of a larger county effort to provide more affordable housing to residents and county employees.
Did You Know? Manufactured Home Cities in the US
There are two cities in the United States that are made up entirely of manufactured housing. The city of Landfall and the city of Hilltop, both in Minnesota, have residential housing stock that is exclusively made up of manufactured homes. The city of Landfall, Minnesota, was recently featured in an article in Manufactured Home Living News outlining its rich history and path to resident ownership. In 1953, Mitzi and Jim Olsen purchased 53 acres of land and opened Landfall Terrace for travel trailers and larger manufactured homes. In 1959, residents petitioned to become an incorporated entity after the township that it was located in would not provide municipal services that they required. Though incorporated, the community was still owned by the Olsen family until 1991 when the land went up for sale. Fearing displacement, residents organized to gain ownership of the property and were issued long-term bonds by the Washington County Housing and Redevelopment Authority that would be paid off through the rents collected from the residents leasing the land under their homes. Landfall has an array of amenities, including a commercial area, a storm shelter/community center and a park/beach that features a playground and a pier for fishing on neighboring Tanner’s Lake. The city was presented with the Playful City USA award for two consecutive years and was recognized as one of the Best 100 Communities for Young People in 2010.
National Policy Updates
The Federal Housing Finance Agency Requests Public Input on Chattel Loan Pilot InitiativesFederal Housing Finance Authority (FHFA) extends call for input on potential Duty to Serve chattel lending pilot.
- The request for comments on the potential manufactured home chattel lending pilot has been extended to March 21. Review the request for input and submit your input on the FHFA website here or email firstname.lastname@example.org to participate with CFED in drafting comments.
Additional opportunities to provide Duty to Serve input: Evaluation Guidance now, Underserved Markets Plans coming soon.
- You can submit comments on the proposed Duty to Serve Evaluation Guidance directly to the FHFA website here by May 15, 2017. You can also email email@example.com to participate with CFED in drafting comments. Then, check the FHFA website on April 13 for the opportunity to submit input on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's Duty to Serve Underserved Markets Plans.
Colorado bill proposes tax benefits to park owners selling to residents.
- Colorado State Senator John Kefalas and House Rep. Joann Ginal have introduced a bill that seeks to encourage owners of manufactured homes to form associations and offers incentives to park owners that sell their properties to them. According to Kefalas, this would “focus on the voluntary preservation of mobile home parks and advance resident-owned communities.” Under the bill, profits from park sales would be tax-exempt for properties with 50 or fewer lots, and those with more would be taxed at 50%. While previous iterations of the bill were resisted because lawmakers feared impinging on owners’ property rights, this version provides tax incentives for selling to residents.
News & Resources
Fredericksburg, VA, residents to be evicted.
- Residents of Fredericksburg Trailer Park are set to be evicted after their community was purchased to construct a commercial center. While the president of the development company is trying to give residents enough time to find other housing, there are few nearby options in the rapidly developing urban area. Local nonprofits are now taking action by forming the Manufactured Home Community Coalition of Virginia to preserve these communities and prevent mass displacement. Take a look at the full article for more information about the Coalition and this displacement.
City code ruled discriminatory toward manufactured home residents.
- A district judge ruled that Burnsville, Minnesota, violated the rights of residents by enforcing city code that was prejudiced, violated due process and strayed from federal and state rules related to manufactured homes. The code was found to target low-income residents and those described as “ethnically diverse” for stereotypical reasons. Additionally, the code failed to cite correct or current codes, or it cited codes that had previously been found to be unconstitutional. When residents were issued citations, it was unclear which rules residents had violated, and the building codes were found to be so vague that the general public could not understand them. Following this decision, a trial will be held to determine damages.
Duty to Serve overview video.
- The FHFA has released a brief video illustrating the Duty to Serve program. The video goes over the program components of the three underserved housing markets addressed by the Duty to Serve rule: manufactured housing, affordable housing preservation and rural housing. Watch the video here!
Events & Opportunities
2017 I’M HOME Conference Planning Survey!
- Please complete our Pre-Conference Planning Survey to share your feedback on past and future I’M HOME Conferences. We will use this information to better tailor the 2017 I’M HOME Conference (October 2-4 in Providence, RI!) to your needs and interests. Thanks in advance for your input!
Scholarship available to Delaware manufactured home residents.
- The First State Manufactured Housing Association is offering $1,000 scholarships to residents of manufactured homes in Delaware who are high school seniors or high school graduates seeking to further their education. Applications are due by 4:30 pm EST on March 6.
Community Frameworks seeks President/Chief Executive Officer
- Community Frameworks is a nonprofit organization based in Spokane, Washington, that provides housing development and housing intermediary services. The President/CEO will be responsible for leading and managing the staff and operations of Community Frameworks' Spokane and Bremerton offices. View the full career listing here.
If you’d like to share an update or contribute an article, contact Mikah Zaslow at firstname.lastname@example.org.