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Today, the House Financial Services Committee held a hearing titled, “Oversight of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Housing Administration” with HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge as the sole witness. While the hearing covered a range of issues from housing affordability to housing supply, manufactured housing played a key role throughout the hearing. MHI briefed committee members before today’s hearing to keep them updated on our key legislative concerns.

Rep. Stephen Lynch (MA-8) asked the Secretary to discuss how zoning impacts first-time homebuyers entering the market. Secretary Fudge said that zoning limits housing accessibility and specifically pointed to manufactured homes as energy efficient and inexpensive to build, and argued that there should be incentives for communities to encourage these types of homes.

Rep. John Rose (TN-6) drew attention to the cost savings of manufactured homes relative to site-built homes, but said he was concerned by lack of progress in rulemaking for manufactured homes and the slow rollout of new HUD Code revisions. Further, Rep. Rose asked the Secretary how HUD planned to address energy efficiency standards in light of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) proposed standards that the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC) rejected due to their negative impact on home affordability. Secretary Fudge responded that HUD was required to collaborate with other federal agencies leading to the delays in the release of new HUD code revisions as well as ongoing negotiations over proposed energy standards.

Rep. Norman (SC-5) pointed out inconsistencies in DOE’s proposal, specifically that the proposed standards would have no impact on the existing 17 million manufactured homes and suggested that DOE failed to understand how manufactured homes are constructed, and created rules that are not practically feasible. Rep. Norman asked the Secretary if they were required to take DOE’s recommendations, to which Secretary Fudge noted that while HUD is the primary regulator, they do have to take other Agencies’ perspectives into consideration.

During Rep. Andrew Garbarino’s (NY-2) questioning, he asked how HUD can support factory-built homes. Secretary Fudge complimented modular and manufactured housing, because it can go up quickly, is energy efficient, and doesn’t take a lot of manpower to construct. She mentioned FHA and FHFA are now fully engaged and making progress to support financing manufactured homes. She also mentioned the Innovative Housing Showcase and how it displays the possibilities with factory-built homes.

Several Committee members requested that the Secretary report to the committee on an annual basis going forward. MHI will continue to elevate manufactured housing with legislators while working to secure exclusive HUD jurisdiction over all manufactured home construction and safety standards, including energy efficiency standards – as Congress established 50 years ago.

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