“Manufactured Homes for Affordable Housing” in Montana, “Not Syrian Refugees,” Nonprofit Says: Obama Wants Less Regulation on Housing Development
Conspiracy theorists take note. There are two affordable housing reports by the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, both occurring within a two-day span, and with an interesting twist. That said, there is a likelihood these stories are not related. Nevertheless, the folks of Gallatin Valley, Montana are a bit nervous about the rumour the Obama administration and would-be President Hillary Clinton, desperate to locate housing for the thousands of Syrian refugees, are looking to locate some of those immigrants in manufactured housing owned by the non-profit organization, Headwaters Housing Development Corporation (HRDC).
Per the first report titled, ‘Manufactured Homes for Affordable Housing, Not Syrian Refugees, Nonprofit Says’, by Eric Dietrich, a Bozeman Daily Chronicle Staff Writer that noted the nonprofit HRDC said on Monday that pre-manufactured “cottages” being stored near Belgrade are part of an affordable housing project in the works to serve local families — not, as had been rumored on Facebook, a sign the social services agency is planning to resettle Syrian refugees in the Gallatin Valley.
“I hate that we even have to address that rumor, said HRDC Community Development Manager Brian Guyer. “HRDC isn’t a refugee resettlement organization.” Instead, Guyer said, they’re part of a creative effort to help address the Bozeman area’s housing crunch with surplus housing from a company working in the Bakken oilfields.
The 75 manufactured homes — brand new, he said — had been purchased just as the collapse of the oil boom torpedoed demand for housing. The company, trying to figure out what to do with them, reached out to HRDC to see if the nonprofit would be interested.
HRDC is also working with architects to address the manufactured home’s appearance, knowing that any project including them would be subject to development review by city or county officials.
“The interiors are really, really nice, but the exteriors are somewhat bland,” Guyer said. “We’ll have to go through the standard development process with them.”
The source of the refugee rumor wasn’t immediately clear Monday afternoon, but HRDC staff said that they had seen Facebook posts and taken phone calls speculating that 5,000 refugees were headed to Belgrade.
The Belgrade Police Department also addressed the speculation in a Facebook post signed by City Manager Ted Barkley and Chief of Police E.J. Clark jr.
“We have received numerous calls regarding an unfounded rumor of a Syrian refugee camp being placed in Belgrade,” they wrote, noting they had spoken with the offices of U.S. Sens. Jon Tester and Steve Daniels. “All of our research indicates that this rumor is unfounded.”
MFH note: While we have no intent to perpetuate an unfounded rumor, however, it is common knowledge that immigration policy about resettling refugees is often dictated by the Obama administration utilizing the services of nonprofits, churches, charities, activists groups and federal agencies, without the knowledge and conference with local and state officials. Texas and several states are presently challenging that use of Obama exercise of executive authority in the courts.
Excerpts from the second seemingly unrelated article by the same Chronicle Staff Writer, Eric Dietrick, quotes the Obama’s White House in addressing the nation’s, housing affordability crisis, titled, Obama Wants Less Regulation on Housing Development.
The Obama administration, responding to what it calls a national housing affordability crisis, has issued a policy memo urging local governments to back off on development regulations like density limits and off-street parking quotas.
“Barriers to housing development are exacerbating the housing affordability crisis, particularly in regions with high job growth and few rental vacancies,” the White House wrote.
“While the housing market recovery has meant growing home values for existing homeowners,” it continued, “barriers to development concentrate those gains among existing homeowners, pushing the costs of ownership out of reach for too many first-time buyers.”
While the administration’s memo is focused on land use policy in booming metropolises like Seattle, Denver, and Los Angeles, the points reflect many of the issues close to home as Bozeman grapples with its own growth.
The Obama administration also echoes complaints about regulations local home builders have made for years — arguments typically met with skepticism from Bozeman’s politically active progressives, who tend to see the city’s land use regulations as a vital tool for protecting their neighborhoods from short-sighted development.
MFH Analysis: While it is refreshing to note that the Obama administration is finally addressing the nation’s affordable housing crisis. It is also noteworthy that the government’s approach to solving the issue is high occupancy subsidized rental projects. Seldom does the administration or any politician address the middle and lower income family’s desire for quality affordable home ownership, as opposed to subsidized high-density rental units.
Manufactured homes are also the only form of housing built to a federally mandated building code that supersedes all local city, state and county building requirements, yet those officials continue to discriminate against manufactured housing in zoning and land use applications. It would seem that the administration and bureaucrats could do more than urge local authorities to accept manufactured housing as a viable and acceptable form of affordable housing. That would certainly be beneficial in mitigating the nation’s affordable home crises.