On July 17, CFED’s Innovations in Manufactured Housing (I’M HOME) team convened a first-of-its-kind convening in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland-Pittsburgh Branch, the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, Penn State University and ACTION Housing. Forty-five leaders of varied backgrounds—from community development to health to regional planning to the environment—gathered at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland’s Pittsburgh branch to talk about manufactured housing and to discuss the potential for creating a new, multi-year regional initiative targeted at improving financial, health and environmental outcomes for residents in manufactured housing. At the end of the day, there was a consensus that manufactured housing is “a vital part of the solution” to the region’s pressing challenges of affordable, healthy and energy-efficient housing for all types and ages of households.
Though the proportion of manufactured homes varies significantly by county, units in this region are typically older than homes elsewhere in the United States, making Southwestern Pennsylvania an ideal community for this initiative as older manufactured homes can have negative impacts on their owners’ health and wealth. Participants agreed that a vital first step must be to inventory units in their communities and to determine which units can be rehabilitated or replaced cost-effectively. In an effort to test an approach to manufactured housing done right in Southwestern Pennsylvania, CFED will convene working groups that will address issues including finance, fundraising and more.
Participants in the meeting hailed from eight counties (Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Washington and Westmoreland Counties), representing developers, academics, lenders, foundations and service providers, plus CFED partners Next Step and ROC USA. A number of the collaborators have experience with manufactured housing, and nearly all demonstrated enthusiasm to find ways that manufactured housing can help meet the needs of low-income families in their communities. Through this slate of committed partners, CFED hopes to glean powerful insights about the intersections of health, housing, aging and financial security, and we look forward to updating you as we learn more.