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The Washington Post published MHI’s letter to the editor written in response to the opinion piece “How the wheels came off affordable housing” by Lee E. Ohanian and James A. Schmitz. The original opinion piece was published May 29, 2024.

MHI CEO Lesli Gooch said that while the authors are right to call for legislation to allow for manufactured homes to be built with or without a chassis, their rationale for the benefit of the change is incorrect. Calling it “a shame that their argument was so negative about the very homes they wanted to champion,” Dr. Gooch touted the safety and quality of manufactured housing and pointed out that the Acting HUD Secretary highlighted the robust construction requirements during the Innovative Housing Showcase. Gooch argued that expanding the range of manufactured home designs available will help HUD Code manufactured homes to better fit into communities across the country.

The full text of the letter follows below:

Realizing the American Dream

Regarding Lee E. Ohanian and James A. Schmitz’s May 29 op-ed,How the wheels came off affordable housing”:

Mr. Ohanian and Mr. Schmitz rightly acknowledged the important role manufactured housing has in addressing the country’s housing supply shortage. It’s a shame that their argument was so negative about the very homes they wanted to champion. We should be clear: Manufactured housing is safe and highly regulated. Just last week, acting Housing and Urban Development secretary Adrianne Todman touted the robust construction requirements for our homes during a speech on the National Mall. The reason to update federal law to allow manufactured homes to be built with or without a chassis is to expand the range of manufactured home designs available to better fit into communities across the country.

Allowing manufactured homes to be built without a permanent chassis offers a new option, not a replacement, for the homes the industry is constructing today. Today’s manufactured homes are the only type of residential housing subject to robust federal compliance and quality assurance regulations for health, energy efficiency and durability, including construction and installation in compliance with rigorous, engineer-approved rules and HUD codes that account for wind zones. Our consumer research consistently shows how much people love living in our homes and we are excited about offering manufactured housing to more people in need of quality homes with design features that meet today’s lifestyle at price points that are within reach.

In contrast to much of the aging stock for sale or rent, manufactured housing offers consumers modern designs, attractive finishes, smart features and energy efficiencies, all with an average purchase price of $125,000.

Our industry supports removing the federal chassis requirement to create more flexibility for manufactured housing to reach its full potential and to allow the industry to continue to innovate.

To do so, the Department of Housing and Urban Development will need to consult with the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee to establish construction requirements for homes not on a permanent chassis and state laws must be amended to reflect the new definition so that lenders’ and consumers’ rights are not unintentionally compromised.

We all agree that boosting the supply of manufactured housing will strengthen homeownership opportunities and give new options to renters.

Lesli GoochAlexandria

The writer is chief executive of the Manufactured Housing Institute.

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Read the letter on WashingtonPost.com. Scroll down the page to find the letter. A login may be required. 

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