3.14.17 MHI Letter

HOUSING ALERT
March 14, 2017
Latest Trump Executive Order Tracks
MHI’s Priorities for HUD Regulation
of Manufactured Housing

Yesterday, March 13, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order aimed at reorganizing the federal government to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of the Executive Branch. Titled the “Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch,” the order directs agencies to reorganize their operations and scale back unnecessary programs, aiming for a significant restructuring of the federal bureaucracy. Agency heads, including HUD Secretary Carson, have 180 days to draft a plan to reorganize the agency, and the public will also have an opportunity to suggest improvements in the organization and functioning of the Executive Branch. MHI plans to submit comments urging HUD to elevate the role of manufactured housing within the agency and to encourage a shift in focus from the promulgation of rules and guidance – such as that currently contemplated for manufactured home installations in frost susceptible soils – to highlighting best practices and supporting regulatory flexibility.

In his remarks, President Trump stated, “We have assembled one of the greatest Cabinets in history. . . . and we want to empower them to make their agencies as lean and effective as possible and they know how to do it. . . . This order requires a thorough examination of every executive department and agency to see where money is being wasted, how services can be improved, and whether programs are truly serving American citizens.”

This Executive Order to reorganize operations within federal departments to improve efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability fits well with MHI’s efforts with Congress and the new Administration to elevate the position of manufactured housing within HUD and ensure its manufactured housing regulations support innovation. MHI is working with Congress and the Administration to ensure that manufactured housing is given parity at HUD with other homeownership options, including multifamily housing (condos) and site built homes. HUD should be promoting affordable housing, regardless of whether the homes are built in a field or in a factory. Such changes would be critical and demonstrate that the millions of consumers who rely on manufactured homes are a priority for the current Administration.

First, regulation of manufactured housing by HUD is currently handled by the Office of Manufactured Housing Programs (OMHP), which reports to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Risk Management and Regulatory Affairs within FHA. Because it is buried deep in the HUD bureaucracy, OMHP has been able to focus on several priorities that are outside of the scope of the HUD Code. In addition, when policy decisions are being considered at HUD regarding the shortage of affordable housing in the country, manufactured housing’s role is often overlooked precisely because OMHP is not part of HUD’s leadership and management structure. This is particularly problematic considering that manufactured housing is the preferred housing choice for many families, including first-time homebuyers, retirees and families in rural areas because of its quality and value.

In addition, the reorganization called for in the Executive Order can help ensure HUD’s regulation of manufactured housing is consistent with the HUD Code. Indeed, the findings of Congress in the Manufactured Housing Construction Standards and Safety Act (42 U.S.C. 5401) include the following statements of purpose: “to facilitate the availability of affordable manufactured homes and to increase homeownership for all Americans” and “to encourage innovative and cost-effective construction techniques for manufactured homes.” MHI will continue to work with Congress and the Administration to ensure these principles guide HUD’s regulation of manufactured housing, as outlined in MHI’s 2017 Legislative and Regulatory Agenda.

If you have any questions, please contact MHI’s Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and Chief Lobbyist, Dr. Lesli Gooch, at (703) 229-6208 or lgooch@mfghome.org.

Republication without the express written consent of the Manufactured Housing Institute is strictly prohibited.

© 2017, Manufactured Housing Institute, Inc. (MHI), all rights reserved.


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