Regional and State Meeting - Held Sept 25, 2010

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An Important Event for Owners of Manufactured Homes.

On Sept 25th, residents of land-lease communities (LLC) gathered in the Church Hall of St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Bethlehem, PA, to hear and learn about resident issues affecting many if not all owners of Manufactured Homes living in LLC across the Commonwealth, the efforts being made to correct the many concerns, and to learn what they as residents can do to help - including improve PA legislation.

The attendees came from across the Lehigh Valley spending the best part of the day listening to presentations and contributing to efforts to better represent their interests; and also to learn of the progress and purpose of the “PA Coalition of MH Residents” and other (essential) statewide efforts.

The event was attended by several legislators or their representatives including State Representative Robert Freeman; State Representative Joseph F. Brennan; The Chief of Staff from State Representative Rick Taylor's office also representing State Representative Kate Harper. Apologies and regrets were received from other officials including: Senator Pat Brown; Senator Lisa M. Boscola (comm’ include: Appropriations, and Minority Chair of the Consumer Protection); Hon Jennifer Mann (Majority Caucus Secretary); State Representatives Steve Samuelson (Bethlehem), Mario M. Scavello (Mt Pocono). Richard T. Gruccela (Nazareth), Marcia Hann (Bath), Rosita C. Youngblood (Philadephia). The kindness and support of these officials and others, greatly appreciated in preparing the event and in their ongoing support of LLC residents.         

Rep Robert Freeman spoke about his Bill and hopes for improving legislation to better represent the issues faced today by residents in a changing environment, and recognizing both new and old challenges faced by residents and the ever increasing cost of home ownership, and for the need to provide opportunities of community ownership by residents. Rep Freeman acknowledged doubt that his bill would be successful this time, but was encouraged by the progress of HB 2212 expected to be signed into law.

Also acknowledging the many issues Rep Joseph F. Brennan (Bethlehem) offered his support for the many needs of residents by having supported recent bills; and promised to support resident’s cause and future legislation.

Mr. Joseph Carlucci, State representative Rick Taylor's chief of staff spoke of the work in preparing and presenting a House Bill and the needed diligence in seeing to fruition through the many obstacles to be faced in passage; stressing the need for residents to support efforts to have a Bill passed by contacting their State Representatives office to support, and also their Senators if ultimately passing the house. Those outside of the legislative process may not be adware of the hard work and commitment; the need for voiced support by citizens always welcomed, and often essential to successful passage; asking residents to take the time to courteously contact their elected officials, when a letter is the best means but phone calls and faxes can be used.

Following thee presetations the meeting continued with the keynote speaker Ed Sprew of Delaware, President of Delaware’s successful Statewide Resident Association (and honored as “Man of the Year” by Delaware’s Governor) Ed spoke at length of the need to bring change explaining the only means was via an organized approach such as a Statewide Homeowners Association capable of lobbying. In Delaware over recent years considerable progress made including a modified form of “Right of First Refusal” and; “Park Closing Insurance” setting up a considerable sized trust fund to compensate displaced manufactured home residents compensating for any loss to residents when their park closes. This is also important in maintaining home residual values.

Reports were also given by several agencies including CCHD, Housing Alliance, and Regional Housing Legal Services, and a mailed in report by “Pathstone” an agency helping resident's purchase their communities.

The day closed with comments and reports from Coalition executives explaining how residents in PA can assist themselves and importantly needing to support statewide efforts, speakers including Don Miles Esq (Coalition Secretary) Deb Stumph (Coalition Vice President and former president of The PA Manufactured Home Owners of America (1988) Inc; and Roger Hall president of the Coalition.

NOTE: Additional information will be posted shortly, including “plans for statewide activity”; the “support offered by State agencies”; "action that can be taken by residents"; and details of HB 2212, and Rep Freemans’s HB 2633.

For further information please contact "The PA Coalition of MH Residents". CALL 610-837-1537.