When President Gerald Ford signed legislation enacting the original HUD Code, it is hard to believe that he would have ever envisioned the wide range of quality homes built today under those construction and safety guidelines. From basic engineering standards to life-style add-ons and amenities, today’s manufactured home (either on private land or in a land-lease community) is the housing of choice for many families in America.
Thanks to the innovations inspired by the HUD Code, walking onto a retail sales lot or driving through a community is an experience people could not have imagined forty-plus years ago. Sleek designs, energy efficiency and safety are the hallmarks of these homes. The manufactured home of today is a far cry from the “mobile home” of yesteryear.
Yet, despite that fact that twenty-two million people depend on manufactured homes for their housing, state and local governments continue to unjustly rely upon old stereotypes to deny or restrict access to America’s only form of unsubsidized affordable housing. And over the past several years these jurisdictions have become more and more aggressive in their unjust efforts.
From rent control for land lease communities to outright bans of manufactured homes on privately held property, state and local governments are standing in the way of many hoping to achieve the American Dream of home ownership.
For instance, despite having several thousand manufactured homes sited on private property, a city in Texas recently voted to ban manufactured homes within the city limits. While the current owners are grandfathered and allowed to remain in their homes, restrictions were placed on future sales of those homes. Essentially, the city rendered the homes valueless.
The actions of this city and others employing similar tactics are based upon dated misconceptions of affordable housing that must change.
This past summer, the Department of Housing and Urban Development held an event on the National Mall in Washington, DC, featuring innovative forms of affordable housing. Legislators, HUD staff and the general public were able to view everything from tiny homes to container homes. The homes drawing the most attention, however, were three manufactured homes. HUD Secretary, Ben Carson, emphasized on numerous broadcasts after the event, that the manufactured homes were the only houses on the mall that were ready to be sited for families to live in.
Nationwide, the manufactured housing industry is offering innovative solutions for America’s housing crisis today. And it’s time for state and local governments to realize this country cannot solve the housing crisis in America without accepting manufactured housing as a part of the solution.