Dr. Ben Carson
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee Remarks
Washington, D.C., Holiday Inn Washington - Capitol, May 1, 2019
As prepared for delivery. The speaker may add or subtract comments during his presentation.
Good afternoon, and thank you for inviting me to speak on behalf of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. It is a privilege to be with you here today and to witness the wonderful work this committee does.
I believe very strongly in the need for proud families to have access to safe, affordable homes. My interest in this issue goes back many years, to when I was raised by a single mother who worked multiple jobs to support her family and provide us with shelter. It was from the safety of our little home that I developed a love of reading and a lifelong dedication to education - which has made me an advocate for innovation, especially in the area of housing.
The need for affordable housing is a nation-wide issue, and HUD's existing programs only get us so far. To build the foundations of a better tomorrow, we must embrace new techniques and new technologies today.
At HUD, we are very excited by recent innovations that have the potential to bring more affordable, attractive homes to market - particularly in low-income communities. Innovations in manufactured housing could facilitate construction in a faster, less wasteful, and more environmentally sound way.
More than 20 million Americans now live in manufactured housing, which makes up approximately 10 percent of single-family residences. In rural America, one in five homes is a manufactured home. This product clearly fills a need that would otherwise go unmet, or would at least require additional federal and/or state subsidies.
By addressing the needs of families that average between $30,000 to $50,000 dollars per year in income, manufactured housing also allows more hardworking people to pursue the American Dream. As I'm sure you are aware, this industry employs more than 40,000 citizens - trade workers, laborers, truckers, painters, and others - from all walks of life.
For these reasons, HUD is a strong proponent for manufactured housing - now, and in years to come. In fact, we believe manufactured housing is a vital tool for addressing our nation's affordable housing needs. Our goal is simple: to protect the quality, durability, safety, and affordability of manufactured homes. This mission can be met through the hard work and essential efforts undertaken by this committee and its sub-committees.
To keep this market growing, innovation and efficiency are key. Standing here, looking at this committed group of manufacturers, thoughtful consumers, state officials and other stakeholders, I remain confident that innovation is occurring and improving the industry. But, having said that, innovation and other industry recommendations must come through this committee, in a timely fashion, to produce the kinds of advancements needed to grow this segment of America's housing market. We are counting on you to be efficient, reach consensus and close out many of the more than 300 log and deregulatory items that are on your aggressive agenda. I have confidence in this group and my dedicated staff to accomplish this critical task!
To provide more help, I've brought on more staff at HUD for the manufactured housing and regulatory affairs offices. These new team members have a broad variety of experience and backgrounds. They are ready to work with you and not just when visiting plants, State Administrative Agencies, third party inspection agencies, or addressing consumer complaints. Manufactured housing is a priority of mine, and I want to do all I can to try to reduce regulatory burdens on the industry while maintaining the quality, safety, durability and affordability of manufactured homes. That, of course, complements the work of this committee very well.
I'm eager to hear from you and learn more about improvements and innovations that are being developed throughout the manufactured housing industry.
That's why I look forward - with great anticipation - to seeing increased collaboration among all stakeholders, so we can help bring the American Dream of responsible homeownership nearer to the hearts and homes of the millions of families we proudly serve.