Manufactured Housing News: H.R. 515 Seeks Funding To Replace Pre-HUD Mobile Homes, MO’s “Tiny Homes” to Help Homeless, Ak Lawmakers Target MFH For New Taxes

The United States Congress is considering a bill, H.R. 515, which seeks new funding to help facilitate the replacement of Pre-HUD mobile homes nationally; the Springfield, Missouri City Council looks at “Tiny Homes” for big help with their homeless problem, and some Arkansas lawmaker are considering tax cuts for vets, offset by increased taxes on manufactured homes, of course.

It’s Monday, December 16, 2017 – a.k.a. Martin Luther King Day – and those of your prefabricated housing headlines for the past week.

H.R. 515 to Help Replace Pre-HUD Mobile Homes –

BREAKING NEWS: Legislation Introduced in U.S. Congress to Provide Grants and Loans to Replace Outdated Pre-HUD Mobile Homes With New Manufactured Homes:  On Friday Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn) of the House Financial Services Committee introduced legislation that (if passed) would positively benefit thousands of citizens now residing in outdated (pre-1976) mobile homes. The new legislation would authorize the U.S.Department of Housing and Urban Development to provide grants or loans to replace older pre-HUD mobile homes with today’s modern manufactured homes.

The incoming Secretary of Housing and Community Development, Dr.Ben Carson, will certainly appreciate that this legislation will be an important asset in his avowed quest to revitalize America’s dilapidated inner cities. How you may ask? Many of the dated and near uninhabitable mobile homes are located in and near urban areas that would be the beneficiaries of this legislation. The House Financial Services Committee will be at the forefront of other legislation that will positively enhance the role of manufactured housing and its many attributes in the New Year, and going forward.

The bill introduced in the House of Representative on 1-13-2017 reads as follows:

“H.R. 515 – To authorize the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to provide grants and loans to owners of dated manufactured homes for the replacement of such dated manufactured homes with Energy Star-qualified manufactured or modular homes, and for other purposes.”

This committee is chaired by Jeb Hensarling R.Texas who has introduced legislation to repeal the onerous Dodd-Frank Act that has dramatically curtailed access to affordable quality housing for so many hardworking qualified low-to-middle income American families. We should also note that the ranking member of the Financial Services Committee, Maxine Waters D.CA., is one of the more outspoken opponents of any changes to the Dodd-Frank legislation overhaul. However, Rep. Waters represents a district in the city of Los Angeles where there are a significant number of downtrodden older trailer and mobile home parks. We would imagine that she would embrace H.R.505. You can follow the progress of this bill at CONGRESS.GOV or check back here frequently at for ongoing progress and analysis.

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Tiny homes for the homeless in Springfield Missouri

Photo Courtesy of Springfield News-Leader

Tiny Homes for Homeless –

Are “Tiny Homes” Blurring the Lines Between Illegal and Legal  Manufactured Homes, Park Models and RV’s? Recently we happened upon a press release by the Springfield, Missouri City Council with this bold headline: “Tiny homes project for homeless taking shape in North Springfield” Our first thought was “wow” the city of Springfield is doing a wonderful thing for the homeless. Our thought immediately thereafter was, how is that possible? We are not aware that any housing agency had ever permitted what we know as a “tiny home” being recognized as a legally constructed form of housing.

The Springfield article continues,  “The tiny homes for the homeless is an idea that is often tossed around but only implemented in a few cities across the nation like Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles and Portland. Springfield will soon be added to that list.” –  More surprising news! Not so fast!  Of these cities, we have found that “tiny homes” advocates are talking about pending ordinances that if passed, would require that existing building codes to be amended to allow smaller sized homes than the minimum now required, but would not waive health and safety portions of existing codes. We have not observed a “tiny home” on the popular T.V. shows that would meet any of those prerequisites to be approved as a permanent form of housing, anywhere.

The Springfield press release goes on to indicate the homes will be manufactured in Athens, Texas. A photograph of the first “tiny home” set up in a former mobile park was actually a HUD Code manufactured home or a Park Model RV, built by a large manufactured home builder. The Springfield announcement indicated the “tiny homes” utilized would be “around 400 sq.ft.”  If the home was under 400 sq.ft. it was built to an approved RV code and not intended as a permanent dwelling, if over 400 sq.ft. it is built to the stringent Hud Construction and safety code. The “manufactured home” community in north Springfield, Eden Village, will specifically house individuals who qualify as “chronically disabled homeless” by standards by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Many of whom are on disability, will pay their own rent, in a well built and safe home.

A final note: If you are enthralled with the so-called “tiny home movement” and view a small home built inside a shipping container, on a flatbed trailer, or a converted utility shed, or has outdoor plumbing, or has a loft designated as sleeping quarters, it is not legally a manufactured home or a park model home.  

Photo Courtesy of Arkansas Online

AK Wants Higher Taxes on Manufactured Homes? –

Arkansas Lawmaker Proposing Tax Cuts for Veterans, Raise Taxes on Manufactured Homes … It has become common practice for state lawmakers to curry with their constituents by proposing tax relief for a deserving segment of the state’s citizens. However, tax cuts for some require tax increases on other segments of the citizenry to remain revenue neutral and in line with state budget requirements.

It is common for those to propose offsetting reduction revenues with sales taxes increase on big-ticket products or luxury items that will produce the highest revenue, and most people will not be affected, or don’t even notice. Often that big ticket product is a manufactured home. Such is the case in Arkansas, as reported by Arkansas Online. Arkansas Senate Republican leader Jim Hendren of Sulpher Springs on Wednesday urged veterans across Arkansas to call their lawmakers in support of Gov. Hutchinson’s proposal to exempt military retirement benefits from state income taxes. The governor’s proposal is projected to reduce general revenue by $13 million a year. State law exempts the first $6,000 of a veteran’s retirements benefits from income taxes, Hutchison is Hendren’s uncle. Hendren is a colonel in the Missouri National Guard.

It’s part of a larger $19.3 million-a-year plan that also would reduce the tax on soft-drink syrup in exchange for levying the full tax rate on the sale of candy and soft drinks, apply the sales tax on the full cost of manufactured housing, remove the exclusion of unemployment compensation from income taxes. But some lawmakers have questioned Hutchinson’s proposal on manufactured housing, which is now taxed at 62 percent of a manufactured home’s value, to raise $2.4 million a year. J.D.Harper, executive director of the 105 members of the Arkansas Manufactured Housing Association, said in an interview that the proposal would increase the average cost of a new manufactured home by about $1,800 in cash based on an average purchase price of $65,000. “If they finance over the life of the loan, it’s about $3,500, so we’re not talking about a nickel or two,” Harper said.

“I understand it is being tied to the veteran’s tax cut. We are not anti-veteran in any way. We just think there is a better place to find the funds,” Harper said at the state Capital. “We are trying to make sure that people understand that this is an increase on working people. People who buy a house from us generally make around $46,000 a year in median household income. We are already the highest [taxed] in the region.”

There are about 170,000 manufactured homes in Arkansas and about 1,600 new mobile homes are sold each year, Harper said. Hendren said Thursday that there is some “resistance” to raising the sales tax on manufactured homes. “So far there’s not been anyone house bring a real proposal to replace the (provision on) manufactured homes with something else. Right now I think there’s support to pass it,” he said.  

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