HUD’s Dr Ben Carson Has Good News and Not So Good News for the Modular Housing Industry
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson spoke at this week’s Innovative Housing Showcase in Washington, D.C. sponsored by the National Association of Home Builders.
Many of the event’s sponsors had displays on the National Mall including full houses from Cavco, Skyline Champion and Boxabl. New innovations on how to heat, cool and connect more efficiently to utilities were on display.
But what caught my attention was Dr Carson’s interview on FOX where he said he wants to make manufactured housing the key to affordable housing by pushing for new zoning regulations to allow HUD code homes into more R1 and R2 neighborhoods across the US.
Carson believes this new technology can remove some of the “many zoning barriers based on outdated thinking.”
“That’s one of the reasons that we’re having this display, so not only that people can see this and disabuse them of the notions that manufactured housing are trailers and trailer parks and seeing what actually can happen here,” said Carson.
The houses are loaded with technology infrastructure, including plumbing, electricity and sewage without disrupting the “surface topography or the other structures around that.” They are also bolted down to cement foundations to add resiliency during natural disasters.
“I’m standing inside of a manufactured home right now — it’s a beautiful place,” said Carson. “[It] has a living room area, three bedrooms, kitchen, couple of bathrooms. And yet you know the cost of this is 30 to 40 percent less than a site built home.”
I wrote a “wake up” article over a year ago telling everyone in the IRC modular home industry this could be a possibility. Well folks, today’s speech sure sounded like not only is he championing HUD housing as affordable, he wants to see them allowed everywhere.
He even addressed the “Not in My Neighborhood” people telling them they will like the new look of manufactured housing.
For the HUD manufacturers this is a great thing as I honestly share his interest in what is happening in today’s manufactured houses. What I don’t understand is why true IRC modular home factories and builders must fight with every state and local code official just to get them approved while HUD’s new relaxed codes just might see them sailing into the same neighborhoods without a whimper from state and local code officials.