The Week in Community Development—June 28

News from—and affecting—the community development world. This week: Manufactured Housing's Affordability is Under Threat | White House Sets Off On Another Deregulation Path | A Price tag on Lost Black Wealth in Chicago | More...

manufactured housing mobile homes
Photo credit: Randy Heinitz, via flickr, CC BY 2.0.

A post in Nonprofit Quarterly sums up the growing threat that manufactured housing (mobile home) communities are under. According to the Manufactured Housing Institute, mobile homes are the nation’s largest supply of non-subsidized affordable housing, and as more and more owners of mobile home communities age- and cash-out, private equity firms are taking them over, raising rents or selling the land out from under them. Read Shelterforce coverage of issues facing the manufactured housing market here.

HUD Secretary Ben Carson will lead the Trump Administration’s latest Trojan Horse by heading the new White House Council on Eliminating Barriers to Affordable Housing Development. The purpose of the council is to find ways to “engage with state, local, and tribal leaders to identify and remove obstacles that impede the development of new affordable housing.” By barriers they mean regulations; you know, things like environmental regulations, safety rules, and labor rules that if undone would make buildings less safe and leave contractors shortchanged (something the president has had a lot of experience with) among other things. This backdoor attempt to strong arm states into undoing regulations has not been met with universal applause. We’ll hold out hope that the Secretary doesn’t wake up before January 19, 2021.

Though the economy has improved (for some) and incomes are on an upswing (for a few), housing production has not been strong. For the last eight years, construction has barely kept pace with household growth, and when housing is built, it tends to be in the luxury market. This is causing rents and housing prices to continue to rise and puts further strain on middle-income households, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies’ 2019 State of the Nation’s Housing report. 

How much money have Black homebuyers in Chicago lost because of racist real estate policies in the 1950s and 60s alone? Between $3.2 and $4 billion, according to a report from the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University. “This report should’ve been done a long time ago,” said Janet Smith, one of the authors of the report, to the Chicago-Sun Times. “It’s bringing to light the total cost this predatory practice took from the black community as a whole.”

We tried, but there isn’t much more to say beyond this ArtNet headline:  “Beloved Detroit Street Artist Was Arrested for Vandalism While He Was Painting a Mural Commissioned by the City.” 

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