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I'M HOME Monthly Update

I'M HOME Monthly Update: January 2017

New in 2017: I’M HOME Network Steering Committee and Working Groups!

It’s a new year, and we’ve been reflecting on the I’M HOME Network’s successful history and potential future. The greatest strength of this Network is the dedication and enthusiasm of all our members, so this year we are looking for ways to engage members more deeply in our work and harness the collective expertise in our ranks about all facets of manufactured housing. To do this, we are launching an I’M HOME Network Steering Committee to guide the operations and strategic priorities of the I’M HOME Network. We are also forming working groups to help inform and expand on the Network’s efforts in five key areas:

• Communications
• Community Preservation
• Policy
• Resident Engagement
• Single-Family Finance

We hope that these Working Groups will both propel our work forward and foster the development of new ideas and leaders in our field. The Steering Committee and Working Groups will meet bimonthly via conference call to set goals, discuss progress, share information and resources, and provide feedback to the I’M HOME Network staff. We will invite members to serve in these groups in the coming weeks and will announce the members of the Steering Committee in February. If you would like more information, please email Merrit Gillard at mgillard@cfed.org.


NPR’s Two-Part Series Highlights Manufactured Housing Community Problems and Solutions

NPR recently published a two-part series on the differing experiences of two manufactured home communities. The first part of the series, Mobile Home Park Owners Can Spoil An Affordable American Dream, highlights the opportunities and failings of the Syringa Mobile Home Park in Latah County, Idaho. The community was in good condition and even drew visitors to its indoor swimming pool. In 1984, attorney Magar Magar bought Syringa and the park has since deteriorated. Pothole-ridden streets, leaking sewage from old pipes and lack of running water have plagued the residents for years. When a class-action lawsuit was scheduled to go to trial against Magar, he declared bankruptcy, effectively putting the lawsuit on hold. While the first article describes how residents are at the mercy of their corporate community-owners, the second part of the series, When Residents Take Ownership, A Mobile Home Community Thrives, describes the ways that residents themselves can take ownership of their communities. The article features the manufactured home community, Park Plaza in Fridley, Minnesota. Five years ago, residents bought their community from the owners as a nonprofit co-op with the help of Northcountry Cooperative Foundation and ROC USA. Before the purchase, Park Plaza faced similar deteriorating conditions as Syringa, but following the purchase, residents now make decisions together, and have passed votes to renovate the park in ways such as replacing water pipes and resurfacing the streets. The co-op has also helped to bring the community closer, giving neighbors a way to come together and improve their quality of life. The differences between the trajectories of the two communities is stunning and is a testament to the value of resident control.


In the Delta, Homeownership Strategies Need Innovation

In a recent Rooflines blog post, CFED’s Doug Ryan describes the housing conditions in the Mississippi Delta region. The post follows two events held in the Delta with the Federal Reserve Bank in St. Louis. Poverty rates in the Delta are high, and both those living in rental units and homeowners face housing burdens, with 55% of renters being cost-burdened and 22% of homeowners. Additionally, the housing stock is in need of repair or replacement as 5.3% of the housing stock lacks running water and 2.8% lack toilets. With Mississippi’s key wealth-building policies as the worst in the nation, and Arkansas falls in the bottom third of all states, the region faces significant challenges. However, activity among nonprofit and community banking institutions are unusually high in the Delta region, as about one-third of all housing loans in the Delta are made by community development financial institutions (CDFIs). HOPE Credit Union, a CDFI with 25 locations across the Mid-South, will lend to borrowers with challenged credit. However because CDFIs cannot sell many of these loans to GSEs, CDFIs are limited in the number of loans that they can make. Additionally, many households are unable to obtain good credit due to GSE selectiveness. While policy and lenders must become more innovative to meet the needs of those in the region, the nonprofit sector serves a key and promising role in this market. Their abilities to connect families to homebuyer education and credit-building initiatives, as well as providing loans, hold the potential to set examples that policymakers should follow.


Just Days into a Unified Government, President Trump and Congressional Republicans Have Already Begun to Reduce the Housing Choices of Americans

President Trump and Congressional Republicans have already begun to both make mortgages more expensive and further the opportunity for housing discrimination. Just hours after being sworn in, Trump signed an executive order that reverses a recently announced reduction in mortgage insurance premiums by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Trump’s actions will increase the cost of owning a $200,000 home (roughly the median size of an FHA backed mortgage sold in 2016) by additional $500 a year. This could also could end up blocking as many as 250,000 new homebuyers from entering the market over next three years. Additionally, on January 12 the “Local Zoning Decision 5 Protection Act of 2017" was introduced in both houses of Congress. If enacted, the bill would roll back the Final Rule on Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule released in 2015. AFFH codifies the intentions of the Fair Housing Act of 1968 to ensure that federal funds would not be used to further, enable or calcify housing segregation. By contrast, the misnamed Local Zoning Decision 5 Protection Act of 2017 prohibits federal collection of data by banning any “future database of geospatial information on racial disparity with regards to affordable housing.” This alarming ban on data collection would inhibit the ability to monitor the factors that lead to redlining and affect the racial wealth divide, minority homeownership rates and minority home values among other affordable housing issues. CFED will continue to monitor these policy choices, work to inform you of their impact, and will reach out to our networks to help us push back. When we reach out, we hope you will join us in telling Congress and the new administration that instead of reducing housing choice and opportunity, they should instead work to expand economic opportunity.


Frank Lloyd Wright's System-Built Homes: Early Manufactured Housing

The blog Curbed, recently featured the article Frank Lloyd Wright's Forgotten Prefabs describing the architect’s efforts to bring affordable, highly designed and well-made homes to all. Frank Lloyd Wright designed “American System-Built Homes” in the same era as Henry Ford’s assembly lines and Sears homes were sold through catalogs. His homes were available in seven options and sold as kits at car-dealership-like locations, then shipped and assembled by builders in the field. Due to materials shortages prior to WWI, less than 20 of his Systems-Built homes were constructed. Today, the nonprofit organization Wright in Wisconsin has acquired a cluster of these homes in Milwaukee and has plans to restore them and open them to the public. Michael Lilek of Wright in Wisconsin states that these homes represent “everything Wright espoused throughout his career, all in one little home.”


National Policy Updates

The Federal Housing Finance Agency Requests Public Input on Chattel Loan Pilot Initiatives

  • The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has released a Request for Input on chattel loan pilot initiatives for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac under the final Duty to Serve rule. FHFA is accepting input through Feb. 17, 2017. FHFA has also released Duty to Serve Evaluation Guidance, which they are seeking public input on through May 12, 2017. Please contact Doug Ryan if you would like to contribute to CFED’s comments on either of these initiatives.

The Energy Efficient Manufactured Home Act of 2017

  • All Parks Allied for Change, CFED, Manufactured Homeowners Association of America, Manufactured Homeowners Association of New Jersey, Northcountry Cooperative Foundation support the creation of The Energy Efficient and Manufactured Home Act of 2015, (H.R. 515). The act would create a new program to provide residents of the nation’s nearly two-million outdated mobile homes the ability to replace their outdated home with a new Energy Star manufactured or modular home. It creates a new $50 million a year program at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The bill provides grants or loans to decommission and replace these homes with newer homes. The program would be administered by state housing agencies, non-profits, and local governments to offer affordable, energy-efficient manufactured and modular housing options to millions of Americans. An earlier version of this bill, Energy-Efficient Manufactured Housing Act of 2010 (H. R. 1749) was introduced in the 111th Congress. It passed the House as part of the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (H.R. 2454) but did not pass the Senate. For more information, contact Carol Wayman, carol.wayman@mail.house.gov or 202.225.4755 in Rep. Ellison’s office.

Minnesota 502 Direct Loan Program Pilot

  • Eligible applicants in Minnesota may now apply to USDA: Rural Development’s Section 502 Direct Loan Program. This program is designed to assist residents of rural areas obtain decent, safe, and sanitary housing through payment assistance. The direct loan can be used to build, repair, renovate or relocate a home or to purchase and prepare sites, including providing water and sewage facilities. View the program fact sheet for more information about terms and eligibility.

Cabinet Appointees Pose Threats to Fair Housing

  • In a recent article in The Hill, Doug Ryan questions whether the new administration will commit to fair housing for all of the nation’s homeowners. Trump’s nominations of Dr. Ben Carson as Secretary of HUD, Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general, and Steve Mnuchin as Treasury Secretary pose threats to fair housing provision and enforcement. While it is the responsibility of HUD and the Department of Justice to uphold fair housing, these appointments could mean less willingness to further efforts towards fair lending and wealth-building through homeownership.

Two Senators Call on Trump to Fire Cordray of CFPB


News & Resources

Study: Financial Positioning of 13 Resident-Owned Communities

  • ROC USA posed the question, “How do monthly lot rents in [Resident-Owned Communities (ROCs)] compare to other similar communities in the local market area over time?” The answer positions ROCs well at below- or at-market prices after five years of ownership. Additionally, the 13 ROCs studied invested a total of $4.5 million (with a median of $153,000) in community improvements over the first five years. The 13 ROCs were also found to have exercised good financial discipline. Paul Bradley of ROC USA states that these results reflects good planning and management on behalf of resident groups and their ROC USA Certified Technical Assistance Providers

Wisconsin Welcomes Newest Resident-Owned Community

  • The Wisconsin Housing Alliance recently announced the newest resident-owned community in La Crosse, Wisconsin. The community, now called Pammel Creek Estates. Residents worked with the nonprofit North Country Cooperative Foundation, an affiliate of ROC USA, to purchase the community. Pammel Creek Estates is organized as a nonprofit and is governed on cooperative principals: “one-member, one-vote, operation at cost, for the mutual benefit of the low- and moderate-income homeowners that reside in the community.” Congratulations Pammel Creek Estates!

Manufactured Home Owners Excluded from Vote on Sewer District

  • In Moreau, New York, manufactured home owners have been excluded from a vote on a municipal project. The vote determines if sewer lines will be brought to their community, but the voting list (determined by the assessment roll) only allows the owner of the park to vote on the issue, not the 380 manufactured home owners. While manufactured homes are considered real property in New York for purposes of taxation, manufactured home owners are not being heard in the voting process. The Town Supervisor has now called upon the Town Board to allow the owners to allow these homeowners to vote on the issue.

New Census Data Shows Differences in Homeownership Between Urban and Rural America

  • The American Community Survey released its newest data in December, and the numbers reveal the differences in homeownership (among other social and economic factors) between rural and urban America. The survey shows that most adults aged 18 years and older in both rural and urban areas owned their own homes, but in rural areas 81.1% owned their homes compared with 59.8% in urban areas. View an infographic of the data and read the press release for additional information.

UMH Properties, Inc. Evicting Homeowners

  • In East Nashville, Tennessee, immigrant families living in manufactured homes are being evicted as the manufactured home company UMH Properties, Inc. seeks to expand. UMH – the largest manufactured home community operator in the Nashville area – is evicting homeowners to make room for selling and renting new and more expensive homes. They claim to be adding more homes to meet demand, but the majority of those evicted are Latino immigrants. UMH spokesmen Ken Frydman denies racial bias and states that at least five of the 12 evicted families violated community rules and regulations. Residents, local lawyer Erin Coleman, Councilmember Scott Davis and the advocacy group Justice For Our Neighbors is working to secure housing and fight these evictions. Davis has shown support for resident protections, and has expressed willingness to enact a plan to grant the residents the right to form a homeowners’ association and to promote more affordable housing development in his district to create more options for those evicted in the future. UMH has requested an indefinite deferral (which they can bring up again at a later date) of a zoning request that would add 155 manufactured homes to UMH’s 276-unit Holiday Village community.

Events & Opportunities

CFED Affordable Homeownership Campaign

  • Sign up for CFED’s housing advocacy campaign to receive information and notifications of opportunities to take action and help people achieve the dream of homeownership!

Rebuilding Together and CFED Manufactured Housing Webinar

  • Rebuilding Together will host a webinar on Thursday, January 26 at 2 pm EST. During this webinar, CFED will discuss what manufactured housing is, the challenges residents face and the current housing finance and policy landscapes. Rebuilding Together will discuss how they repair manufactured homes and the resources available for affiliates who are interested in starting or expanding their work on manufactured homes. Sign up for the webinar here and call in at 1.855.749.4750, access code: 667 080 892.

CFED and NCLC Duty to Serve Webinar

  • CFED and the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) will hold a Duty to Serve Webinar on February 16 at 1:30 pm EST. In this webinar, panelists will explain the impact of Duty to Serve on manufactured housing and how advocates can continue to make their voices heard as Fannie and Freddie seek input on their plans to put the new rule into action. Register for the webinar here!

2017 Maine Manufactured Housing Show

  • The Breathable Home is hosting the 2017 Maine Manufactured Housing Show on February 3 at the Augusta Civic Center in Augusta, Maine. Exhibitors include The Home Depot, Primary Residential Mortgage, Atlantic Home Solutions, and many more!

If you’d like to share an update or contribute an article, contact Mikah Zaslow at mzaslow@cfed.org.

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