April 1, 2021
A Message from THA

"The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do."
-- Unknown
A TN State of Emergency related to the ongoing pandemic, currently extends to 11:59 pm, CST, April 28, 2021. (Executive Order 77)
NOTICE: All Tennessee Adults (16+) will be Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccinations by April 5th.
DISASTER ASSISTANCE FOR TENNESSEEANS
There is an active disaster declaration involving Severe Storms, Tornadoes, Straight-line Winds, and Flooding in Tennessee.

Go to THIS PAGE frequently, to see additional declarations for ongoing events in Tennessee. You may apply for assistance at this page, as well.
News from HUD
Representative Marcia Fudge Confirmed as HUD Secretary
Representative Marcia Fudge has now been confirmed as the 18th Secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Fudge took the oath on March 10th, after the U.S. Senate voted positively on her confirmation. She now leads a federal department with influence over a half dozen federal agencies and bureaus, as well as management and enforcement over the HUD Code, which defines construction and safety standards for manufactured homes.

As reported in February, Fudge called manufactured housing an "outstanding option" and touted its affordability and efficiency. As well, then Representative Fudge stated a priority would be addressing exclusionary zoning.
HUD Delays Implementation of Final Rule
to July 12, 2021
In January, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development finalized and published the most significant update to the HUD Code in roughly 10 years.

Changes were to go into effect Mid-March, but have been delayed 120 days to July 12th, given the ongoing challenges operating with continued COVID-related precautions and restrictions in place. HUD stated in its Federal Notice on the postponement, it wanted to “provide sufficient time for affected stakeholders and manufacturers to implement the new and amended requirements.”
Furthermore, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission issued a joint statement regarding their agencies’ work to help stop illegal evictions and protect American consumers facing economic hardship due to COVID-19. Specifically, the statement says: “Evicting tenants in violation of the CDC, state, or local moratoria, or evicting or threatening to evict them without apprising them of their legal rights under such moratoria, may violate prohibitions against deceptive and unfair practices, including under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Federal Trade Commission Act.” Click here to read the statement.
Legal efforts: In a series of decisions over the last several weeks, federal court judges in different states have ruled the eviction moratoriums imposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are unlawful. 

While these court decisions have undermined the legality of the CDC moratoriums, they are not the only cases scrutinizing the CDC’s actions. A number of complaints are filed in courts across the country challenging the constitutionality of the CDC moratoriums and the CDC’s authority to issue such moratoriums. 

For the moment at least—and absent more vigorous judicial interventions—it appears that some form of federal eviction moratorium will remain in place to prevent further housing dislocations while efforts continue to rebuild the economy and end the pandemic.
THA UPDATE - On Tuesday, March 16th, the U.S. Treasury Department released updated facts (FAQs) which clarified lot rent assistance for residents of MH communities. Although many states began issuing these funds immediately, Tennessee initially denied lot rent assistance funds to community residents and landlords.

Treasury FAQ #28: "Rental payments for either the manufactured home and/or the parcel of land the manufactured home occupies are eligible for financial assistance under ERAP. Households renting manufactured housing and/or the parcel of land the manufactured home occupies may also receive assistance for utilities and other expenses related to housing, as detailed in FAQ #7."

After several communication efforts with THDA, the industry has been informed Tennessee has corrected the omission of qualified rental assistance surrounding lot rent for community residents and landlords, and applications will be processed accordingly.

Special NOTE: The state can not recoup losses for those who lost income due to COVID but have stayed current on lot rent by draining savings or running up credit card balances. HOWEVER, if the household remains unable to pay rent without resorting to those means, THDA can assist with rent payments going forward for a period of time.

Emergency Rental Assistance

administered by:
The Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA)

(615/815-2200)
Under guidance from the US Treasury, funds designated as part of the COVID-19 Rent Relief Act of 2020, will support renters who are or have been struggling to pay rent, utilities, or other home energy costs due to loss of wages/income as a result of the pandemic.

You may visit COVID-19 Rent Relief program web page for answers to general questions, eligibility and application information, as well as payment and processing questions.
 
Special Note:
Tenants in Davidson, Knox, Rutherford, and Shelby County/Memphis will NOT BE ELIGIBLE for THDA funds and will need to contact their local government for more information on local rent relief programs. Click on the respective county above to be redirected to access for applying for funds in those areas.

DISCLAIMER:
Any suspected fraud in connection with COVID-19 Rent Relief Program should be reported to THDA for immediate review. THDA reserves the right to decline funding or participation if it is determined that fraud has occurred.
Congress Passes PPP Application Deadline Extension
The U.S. Senate passed “The PPP Extension Act”, a bipartisan bill that extends the deadline for applying for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan to May 31st. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the same bill and President Biden signed the legislation into law on March 30th.
 
The PPP was set to expire on March 31, 2021. Under the “The PPP Extension Act” firms have until May 31st to apply for a loan and the Small Business Administration has a June 30th deadline to process them. 
IRS Issues FAQs about Emergency Rental Assistance Payments and Gross Income
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has published a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document about the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program, specifically outlining how the ERA payments are included in gross income.

Based on the FAQs, it does not appear that renters need to include ERA payments in their gross incomes, but landlords and utility companies do.  
OSHA - National Emphasis Program (NEP)
COVID-19 Workplace Mitigation
New Enforcement Program
Effective March 12, 2021
This Direction describes policies and procedures for implementing a National Emphasis Program (NEP) to ensure that employees in high-hazard industries or work tasks are protected from the hazard of contracting SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2), the cause of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The NEP augments OSHA’s efforts addressing unprogrammed COVID-19-related activities, e.g., complaints, referrals, and severe incident reports, by adding a component to target specific high-hazard industries or activities where this hazard is prevalent.

The NEP targets establishments that have workers with increased potential exposure to this hazard, and that puts the largest number of workers at serious risk. In addition, this NEP includes an added focus to ensure that workers are protected from retaliation, and are accomplishing this by preventing retaliation where possible, distributing anti-retaliation information during inspections, and outreach opportunities, as well as promptly referring allegations of retaliation to the Whistleblower Protection Program.
Department of Labor Proposes Delay of Effective Date for Independent Contractors Rule

The Department of Labor (DOL) announced it intends to withdraw the final “Independent Contractor Rule’’ published on January 7, 2021. (Originally scheduled to go into effect on March 8, 2021, the DOL had delayed the “Independent Contractor Rule’s” effective date until May 7, 2021, as the result of President Biden’s memorandum directing the heads of Executive Departments and Agencies to review and consider delaying the effective dates of all regulations that had been published in the Federal Register but had not yet taken effect. Now, the DOL is seeking to withdraw the final independent contractor rule for the following reasons:
 
  • The rule adopted a new “economic reality” test to determine whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor under the FLSA.
  • Courts and the department have not used the new economic reality test, and FLSA text or longstanding case law does not support the test.
  • The rule would narrow or minimize other factors considered by courts traditionally; making the economic test less likely to establish that a worker is an employee under the FLSA.
 
Click here to read the Federal Register notice.
As published in Construction Dive, by Jenn Goodman, March 26, 2021.
According to Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), Construction Will Face A Labor Gap of 430K Workers This Year
  • Construction companies will need to hire at least 430,000 more workers this year than they employed in 2020, according to an average-growth analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data released by Associated Builders and Contractors. 
  • Under a higher-growth rate scenario, the number of additional construction workers needed in 2021 could swell to nearly 1 million, ABC said. Last year the industry employed 7.8 million workers.
  • In addition, construction spending is likely to reach $1.45 trillion in 2021, up 1.3% from 2020, according to the release. The analysis also revealed that every $1 billion in construction spending generates an average of at least 5,700 construction jobs.

The ABC study backs up recent findings from other groups that show a labor crunch is in the making for construction this year. For instance, the 2020 Marcum JOLTS Analysis of construction data released earlier this month found that despite coronavirus-induced layoffs, construction employees are becoming harder to find and more expensive.

As the industry bounces back from pandemic-related downturns, contractors in some regions are struggling to find labor and wages have risen to record levels, the Marcum report said. In January 2021, average hourly earnings of construction employees reached their highest level ever, $32.11, and average weekly hours worked rose to their highest level since 2019's third quarter. 

"When the pandemic began, some thought (and hoped) that the massive job losses observed in March and April would mitigate the skilled labor shortages that have frustrated construction firms for years," wrote Anirban Basu, Marcum's chief construction economist and author of the report. "That simply hasn't happened to any meaningful degree."  

The ABC analysis also found that last year's nominal construction spending rose 4.8% as employment fell 6.3%. This was due to several factors, ABC said:

  • A spike in building materials and labor costs, attributed to shortages and supply chain disruptions.

  • A change in the mix of construction work which included more residential construction, a segment that saw some of the largest cost increases due to an uptick in lumber prices.

  • A labor supply reduction that encouraged faster than usual adoption of labor-saving technology by builders.

  • Improvement in the scheduling and logistics of building materials delivery.

  • Increased use of prefabrication and modularization.

  • A decrease in the number of smaller, less efficient construction companies as they went out of business.
 
National Association of Homebuilders Shares Economic Data
Home Builders shared an interesting study which shows how many households could be forced out of the 2021 buyer's market, with just a $1,000 increase in home price. Click here to view each state broken out individually.

Also, go here for background information and the similar effect a rise in interested rates has on home ownership. 
Manufactured Homes Get A Boost As Inventory Crisis Persists
Check out this interesting article about inventory and mortgages, from National Mortgage News
Check out this article from
Multi-Housing News.
How To Prep Your Manufactured Home Community For Spring
Congressional Hearings Highlight Local Regulatory Barriers to Manufactured Housing
At a House Financial Services Committee hearing titled “Achieving Racial Equity Through Fair Access to Housing and Financial Services,” MHI worked with Representatives from both sides of the aisle to demonstrate the opportunity the federal government has to address racial equity by taking actions that support the availability and placement of manufactured homes in communities across America.
Representative John Rose (R-TN), a champion of manufactured housing, discussed legislation that was passed into law requiring localities to consider manufactured housing as a part of their comprehensive housing affordability strategies and community development plans. Asking the witnesses if they agreed that manufactured housing should be considered as communities develop strategies to address their affordable housing challenges, Paulina Gonzalez-Brito, Executive Director of the California Reinvestment Coalition, supported his statement saying, “I think it is an important part of fair housing and serves often rural communities. And we should ensure there are not any local barriers to producing manufactured housing and hope that this is something that can continue to be supported by the Committee.”
Several days later, the Senate Banking Committee held a hearing entitled, “Home = Life: The State of Housing in America,” which primarily focused on the impact that local and state zoning decisions have on the lack of affordable housing in communities. Edward J. Pinto, Director of the AEI Housing Centers, specifically mentioned manufactured housing as a solution to issues with the supply of affordable housing. Further, Dr. Chris Herbert of the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies outlined the ways the federal government can link its housing and infrastructure assistance to requiring deregulation of zoning.

In advance of the hearings noted above, National Mortgage News, an award-winning comprehensive digital information resource serving policymakers and the entire residential mortgage industry, published an opinion piece authored by MHI’s CEO Lesli Gooch titled “Advancing Racial Equity Through Manufactured Housing.” In the opinion piece, citing the federal building code and federal fair housing laws, MHI argues that the “Biden Administration — and HUD Secretary Fudge — have a great opportunity to advance their racial equity agenda by stepping up HUD actions to support manufactured housing. It is the one form of single family housing that is regulated by HUD and the law already requires HUD to “facilitate the availability of affordable manufactured homes to increase homeownership for all Americans.” (42 USC 5401(b)(2)). Click here to read the opinion piece.
Tennessee State Legislative Recap
Weekending: March 26th 

The 112th General Assembly reconvened on Monday last week, to complete budget hearings for the year. With budget hearings completed, the legislature’s primary focus narrows to continued subcommittee and full committee adjournment and appropriation amendment consideration. Appropriation amendment proposals will begin being heard on Monday (3/29) in the House Appropriations Subcommittee and the following week in the Senate.

Additionally, the legislature continues to close committees for the year. During last week, the Senate Health and Wellness, Transportation, Commerce, and Education committees announced this week will be their final calendar for the year. However, due to the length of their final calendars, these committees are poised to meet several more times over the next few weeks. Meanwhile in the House, nearly all subcommittees have announced their plans to adjourn by the third week of April.
In early March, President Biden Signed COVID Relief Package
President Biden signed a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package into law. Below are some of the major provisions that were included in the final bill:
 
  • Additional recovery rebates up to $1,400 per taxpayer. Single taxpayers earning up to $75,000 and married couples earning up to $150,000 will be eligible for the full amount. However, the rebates will disappear for individuals earning more than $80,000 annually and couples earning more than $160,000.
  • Rental Aid. $27.5 billion for emergency rental aid of which $21.5 billion is allocated for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.
  • Homeowner assistance. $10 billion for homeowner assistance efforts, including direct relief with mortgage payments, small 1-4 rental unit properties, property tax payments and utility costs.
  • Extension of unemployment benefits. The existing $300 weekly federal unemployment benefits that were due to expire on March 14 will be extended through Sept. 6. The first $10,200 of unemployment benefits will be tax-free for households earning less than $150,000.
  • Child Tax Credit expansion. For 2021, the Child Tax Credit will be fully refundable, and the credit will be increased to $3,000 per eligible child, or $3,600 for children under the age of six. In addition, for 2021, 17-year-old children would be eligible.
  • Paid medical and sick leave credits. Employers offering their employees COVID-related paid medical and sick leave would be eligible for an expanded tax credit through Sept. 30.
  • Employee Retention Tax Credit. Eligible employers would be able to claim this credit through the end of 2021.
  • Additional aid for small businesses. The legislation provides an additional $7.25 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). 
MANUFACTURED HOUSING INSTITUTE (MHI)
MHI In Action
Eviction Moratorium
MHI and its coalition of national housing industry organizations continues to strongly argue the current approach of eviction moratoriums is failing to address the scope of damage in the housing sector and will not meet the long term needs of renters and housing providers. Arguing that a robust and targeted rental assistance program is a better approach, the recently passed COVID-19 relief package included an additional $27.5 billion for emergency rental aid of which $21.5 billion is allocated for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.
Bipartisan Senate and House Bills Introduced to Remove Barriers to Manufactured Housing

MHI, as a member of the Up for Growth coalition, has worked with a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators and Representatives to introduce the “Housing Supply and Affordability Act” (HSAA), which creates a grant program that would provide funding to help localities develop and implement comprehensive housing policy plans. The proposed program, administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), would provide grants to states, localities, tribes, and regional municipal and county coalitions to encourage housing development, revise land-use and permitting processes, incentivize affordable housing, and make housing production easier. The HSAA is sponsored by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Tim Kaine (D-VA) in the Senate, and Representatives Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), and Joyce Beatty (D-OH) in the House. This legislation specifically references “allowing manufactured homes in areas zoned primarily for single-family residential homes.”
 
The HSAA complements legislation such as the bipartisan 'Yes in My Backyard' (YIMBY) Act, a bill MHI strongly supported, by providing the resources needed to enact the policies covered under the YIMBY Act. The HSAA will establish a $300 million per year grant program to award planning and implementation grants to states, localities, and regional coalitions of localities to support the development and implementation of comprehensive plans to expand the supply and affordability of housing, reduce barriers to new housing development, and avoid the displacement of current residents.

The bill also directs HUD to provide recommendations on strategies that states and localities should consider in developing and implementing these plans, including how to best inclusively engage with community members on housing reforms.

Finally, the bill requires routine reporting from applicants regarding the use of these grant funds, convenes a learning group of applicants and grantees to facilitate problem-solving regarding housing reforms, and requires a study from HUD describing the impact of the program and outlining the most successful strategies in expanding the supply of housing. 
MHI Calls on FHFA to Prioritize Manufactured Housing

During a FHFA Listening Session about potential changes to the regulation establishing housing goals for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises), MHI CEO Lesli Gooch stressed the importance of housing goals to manufactured housing. Since manufactured housing continues to be the most affordable segment of the homeownership market, and manufactured home loans are “goal-rich,” MHI argued FHFA should encourage Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to develop flexible loan products for manufactured homes and to purchase manufactured home loans, including making this an important objective in FHFA’s Enterprises Scorecard. Further, MHI stated that since the Enterprises have historically been able to meet housing goals without purchasing chattel loans and have natural disincentives to purchase real property manufactured home loans because they are not a “high volume” product, Duty to Serve continues to play a critical role in ensuring that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are adequately facilitating the important homeownership option of manufactured housing. Finally, MHI also strongly emphasized the need for the Enterprises to meet their statutory duty to serve manufactured housing and urged FHFA to continue to hold the Enterprises’ responsible for meeting these obligations.
Lumber Prices Discussed at House Financial Services Committee Hearing

During a House Financial Services Committee virtual hearing, Representative Ann Wagner (R-MO) discussed the rising cost of lumber prices, along with gasoline, electricity and natural gas prices, with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell including policy tools the Federal Reserve has in place to address the inflationary pressures that are currently being seen in the market. This action by Representative Wagner is a result of MHI’s ongoing advocacy efforts with the White House and Congress to urge federal intervention and necessary action to support increased production of lumber. MHI, along with more than 35 broad-based business organizations, recently called on Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to address the lumber supply shortage in the country by immediately examining the lumber supply chain, identifying the causes for high prices and supply constraints, and seeking immediate remedies that will increase production. 
The THA 2021
Political Action Committee (PAC) Campaign


In 2021, please support the THA-PAC, to assist THA's continuance of educating key lawmakers on the importance of our industry, while also providing general counsel in ways of promoting manufactured homes as a viable option for addressing the affordable housing crisis.
Thank you Iron Horse Belleglade, LLC, for kicking off the 2021 PAC Campaign
with your January 7th donation of $500.


The offices of the Association will be closed on April 2nd, in observance of Good Friday.
April 21st
Thanks to all who keep the work flowing!
2021 Webinar Series: Shoot for the Moon
Free Webinars
Powered/Sponsored by: ManufacturedHomes.com and
LearnMH.com
Upcoming Free Webinar

Thursday, April 8, 2021, 2 PM ET
Attracting and Retaining Workforce Talent
with Logan Hanes of KMHI and
Ben Roche of Palm Harbor

SAVE THE DATE

Thursday, April 22, 2021, 2 PM ET
The State and Future of Modular Housing
with Devin Perry of NAHB and
Scott Yates of Yates Home Sales

Available Daily
Licensing Education - Online Access

Initial Licensing - Jan thru Nov
Continuing Education - Jan thru Early Dec
THA Board of Directors
Virtual Meeting - Zoom Call
April 8, 2021;
9:00 AM CST / 10:00 EST
SAVE THE DATE
THA Board of Directors & Members
Virtual Meeting - June 28, 2021
SAVE THE DATE!
The South Central Manufactured Housing Institute is excited to announce we are just under a year away from the Biloxi Manufactured Housing Show, March 28 - 31, 2022. Mark your calendars and get ready to join us in a new city and a new venue. We can't wait to see everyone in person! 
THA Annual Member's Event Postponed
Now Scheduled for June 26 - 28, 2022
As previously reported in March:

In light of the Annual Meeting postponement, THA Members will be receiving a Zoom invitation to attend an online presentation of the Annual THA Association 'State of Affairs', along with participation in the election of new THA Board of Directors and Officers.
The date for the online event will be June 28th, 2021,
to coincide with a meeting of the THA Board of Directors.
Stay tuned for more information to follow.
Important Links/Downloads
for your Information & Research
MH Advantage Program - Tools For Retailers
ManufacturedHomes.com has created resources to help retailers understand MH Advantage financing, how it works, what homes qualify, and the solution it provides for your customers.
Access helpful tools, educational videos, and important information to learn more about the program.
Newly Revised and Available Now
Professional Housing Consultant (PHC®) Designation Program
This PHC course is a comprehensive retail course.

Chapter 1, Part 1 - History and Construction
Chapter 1, Part 2 - Retailer Responsibilities
Chapter 1, Part 3 - Placement Options
Chapter 1, Part 4A - Fair Housing
Chapter 1, Part 4B - Finance Overview

Chapter 2, Land - Home Financing

Chapter 3, Part A - Personal Property Finance
Chapter 3, Part B - Completing the Credit Application

Chapter 4, Part 1 - Selling Skills
Chapter 4, Part 2A - Selling Skills
Chapter 4, Part 2B - Selling Skills
Chapter 4, Part 3 - Selling Skills

Registration Fee is $199 (Completion time is ~6 hours.)
MH Regulatory Resources
(Key Links)
Need to teach your children or grandchildren about fire safety?


Lots of fun videos to watch, games to play and activities you can do together! The kiddos will love it!
Visit the TN Department of Health and Tennessee's Unified Command Group website for continued statewide COVID-19 data.
VACCINE LOCATIONS
A vaccine locations map is now available at https://COVID19.TN.gov. This tool allows eligible Tennesseans to search nearby pharmacies and clinics that are currently administering COVID-19 vaccines.

Keep this Manufactured Housing Facts - Industry Overview, in your files! Great reference data. It includes things such as:

  • The general profile of MH in the United States.
  • Affordability numbers.
  • Resident satisfaction statistics.
  • MH Production in the United States (# of plants per state).
  • Age of residents and annual household income.
  • Industry overview.
  • Updated home photos.
  • Cost/size comparison of new MH vs new SF site-built homes.
  • MH production by product mix, by state.

Good stuff!
MAKE A FAMILY EMERGENCY PLAN!
ALWAYS BE PREPARED!