DOE Publishes a Final Rule Pertaining to Standards for Manufactured Housing
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has published a Federal Register final rule to establish energy conservation standards for manufactured housing pursuant to the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. This document presents standards based on the 2021 version of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and comments received during interagency consultation with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as from stakeholders. The adopted standards would provide a set of “tiered” standards based on size that would apply the 2021 IECC-based standards to manufactured homes, except that single-section manufactured homes would be subject to less stringent building thermal envelope requirements compared to multi-section manufactured homes.
- The effective date of this rule is August 1, 2022.
- Compliance with the adopted standards established for manufactured housing in this final rule is required on and after May 31, 2023.
- The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in this rule is approved by the Director of the Federal Register August 1, 2022.
- Find product information for Manufactured Housing including current standards and test procedures, statutory authority, waivers, exceptions and contact information.
Langerholc: Court Decision to Halt Bridge Tolling
HARRISBURG – The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania today granted a preliminary injunction which stops Gov. Tom Wolf’s Major Bridge P3 Initiative until further court action occurs.
Sen. Wayne Langerholc, Jr. (R-35), chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, applauded the court’s order. “Today, the Commonwealth Court ruled in favor of halting PennDOT’s Major Bridge P3 Tolling Initiative. I have been challenging PennDOT’s overreach since being named Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee in January 2021,” said Langerholc. “The court’s ruling on the preliminary injunction is restoring proper checks and balances on PennDOT’s power. I now urge Gov. Wolf to work with the legislature and find a compromise that is in the best interests of the Commonwealth.”
Sen. Langerholc held several hearings to better understand how PennDOT was authorized to move forward with few details and without approval from the General Assembly. Langerholc has also sponsored Senate Bill 382, which would require the P3 process to be more transparent, while stopping this current initiative.
This order halts PennDOT’s tolling of the following bridges:
I-78 Lenhartsville Bridge Replacement Project in Berks County;
I-79 Widening, Bridges and Bridgeville Interchange Reconfiguration in Allegheny County;
I-80 Canoe Creek Bridges in Clarion County;
I-80 Nescopeck Creek Bridges in Luzerne County;
I-80 North Fork Bridges Project in Jefferson County;
I-80 Over Lehigh River Bridge Project in Luzerne and Carbon Counties;
I-81 Susquehanna Project in Susquehanna County;
I-83 South Bridge Project in Dauphin County; and
I-95 Girard Point Improvement Bridge Project in Philadelphia County.
CONTACT: Nolan Ritchie, firstname.lastname@example.org
Administration Looks to Manufactured Housing to Help Increase Nation’s Affordable Housing Supply
Today, President Biden released a Housing Supply Action Plan (the Plan) to address the shortage of affordable housing in the country and ease the burden of housing costs over time. Calling it “the most comprehensive government effort to close the housing supply shortfall in history,” the goal is to “help close America’s housing supply shortfall in 5 years, starting with the creation and preservation of hundreds of thousands of affordable housing units in the next three years.”
The Plan includes several provisions related to manufactured housing, reflecting MHI’s advocacy priorities of ensuring federal mortgage financing programs include manufactured housing, keeping the HUD Code up to date, addressing zoning barriers, easing supply chain constraints, and addressing the shortage of construction workers. In its release, the White House specifically said that manufactured housing and other innovative forms of home construction “hold promise for increasing housing productivity and thus housing supply.”
Plan Highlights Related to Manufactured Housing
- Financing – The Plan calls on HUD to increase the usability of FHA’s Title I loan program for manufactured housing and support greater securitization of Title I loans through Ginnie Mae’s platform. Additionally, the Plan recognizes the recent efforts by Freddie Mac to create a personal property (chattel) loan financing product to foster greater liquidity for manufactured housing.
- Zoning – The Plan provides incentives to states and localities for land use and zoning reform. Immediately, the Plan will provide higher scores in Department of Transportation (DOT) competitive grant programs to reward jurisdictions that have put in place land-use policies to promote density and rural main street revitalization. In addition, the Plan calls on Congress to pass the “Unlocking Possibilities Program,” which would establish a new, $1.75 billion competitive grant program administered by HUD, to help states and localities eliminate needless barriers to affordable housing production, including permitting for manufactured housing communities.
- Supply Chain Constraints and Workforce Programs – The Plan includes partnership with the building industry to explore additional actions that the federal government and the private sector can take in partnership to help turn the record number of homes under construction into completed homes where Americans can live. As part of this initiative, the Plan calls for updates to the HUD Code to allow manufacturers to modernize and expand their production lines, and help manufacturers respond to supply chain issues. The Plan also calls on Congress to pass legislation proposed by the Administration to provide additional funding for programs to “recruit more workers into good-paying construction jobs.”
The manufactured housing provisions within the Administration’s plan reflect MHI’s policy priorities and are a direct result of MHI’s ongoing advocacy efforts. A dozen federal officials from HUD, DOE, USDA, and the White House participated in this year’s Congress & Expo where they received personal tours of the manufactured homes on display in The Neighborhood and met directly with MHI members to discuss updates to federal mortgage programs, zoning barriers, supply chain constraints, and streamlining updates to the HUD Code. These meetings marked the beginning of the stakeholder engagement portion of the White House Interagency Manufactured Housing Task Force, which is working to address market and regulatory barriers to manufactured housing and impacted the provisions announced today. For more details on the President’s Plan click here.
Department of Human Services Extends LIHEAP
Department of Human Services (DHS) Acting Secretary Meg Snead reminded Pennsylvanians that support from the LowIncome Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) is still available. The LIHEAP season has also been extended by two weeks, from May 6 to May 20, 2022, allowing additional households the opportunity to apply for LIHEAP Cash and LIHEAP Crisis benefits.
“Pennsylvanians may still need help with their heating and water bills, and those who do should know that programs like LIHEAP and LIHWAP are still available. Households who could benefit from this program should apply today,” said Secretary Snead. “LIHEAP and LIHWAP help some of the commonwealth’s most vulnerable citizens – children, older Pennsylvanians, people with disabilities, and low-income families – make ends meet and keep their homes safer.”
LIHEAP is a federally funded program administered by DHS that provides assistance for home heating bills so low-income Pennsylvanians can stay warm and safe in their homes. Assistance is available for renters and homeowners, and the LIHEAP application season is currently open until May 20, 2022.
DHS has been able to provide increased benefits for this extended LIHEAP season due to the availability of funds through the federal American Rescue Plan Act. The minimum cash grant for LIHEAP is $500, and the maximum cash grant is $1,500. Those who need the LIHEAP crisis grant – the benefit for people who meet the poverty limits and are in jeopardy of having their heating utility service terminated or have less than two weeks’ worth of fuel – can receive a maximum grant of $1,200. LIHEAP is distributed directly to a household’s utility company or home heating fuel provider in the form of a grant, so the individual or households do not have to repay assistance.
The income limit for the program is 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Limit. For a household of four, this would be $39,750 gross income per year. Pennsylvanians do not need to know their own eligibility in order to apply for these programs. Those who applied and were denied previously but have experienced a change in circumstances can reapply.
The Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) helps Pennsylvanians with low incomes maintain access to drinking and wastewater services. Assistance is available for families who have past due water bills, had their service terminated, or received a notice indicating that their service will be terminated in the next 60 days. Households can receive LIHWAP grants for both drinking water service and wastewater service. Grants are issued directly to water service providers, and families must meet income requirements.
LIHWAP is a new, temporary assistance program established through the American Rescue Plan Act and the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. These funds are part of the nation’s continued response to families experiencing financial difficulties due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Pennsylvania received approximately $43.2 million to assist families who have lost or are at risk of losing water service in their homes.
Pennsylvanians can apply for LIHEAP, LIHWAP, and other public assistance programs online at https://www.compass.state.pa.us/compass.web/Public/CMPHome and can apply for Medical Assistance (MA) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by phone at 1-866-550-4355. Onsite County Assistance Office (CAO) https://www.dhs.pa.gov/Services/Assistance/Pages/ CAO-Contact.aspx services are available if clients cannot access online services or need assistance that cannot be accessed through the COMPASS website, the myCOMPASS PA mobile app, or by calling the Customer Service Centers at 215-560-7226 for Philadelphia clients or 1-877-395-8930 for clients in all other counties.
More information on LIHEAP can be found here https://www.dhs.pa.gov/Services/Assistance/Pages/ LIHEAP.aspx, and more information on LIHWAP can be found here https://www.dhs.pa.gov/Services/Assistance/Pages/ LIHWAP.aspx. For helpful tips on keeping warm throughout the winter while saving money on utility costs, visit https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/energy-saver.
Source: DHS Press Release, 4/28/2022