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U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson tours Clayton Homes’ manufacturing facility on Thursday in Russellville as part of HUD's “Driving Affordable Housing Across America Bus Tour.” [PHOTO COURTESY HUD PHOTOGRAPHY]

RUSSELLVILLE — During a visit to Clayton Homes as part of the “Driving Affordable Housing Across America Bus Tour,” U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson announced a final rule on formaldehyde emissions for manufactured homes, and a proposed rule to revise the federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards to expedite construction and update safety requirements for carbon monoxide detectors in manufactured housing.

“The nation’s affordable housing crisis can’t be solved by one measure alone, but today we’re proposing changes that remove more of the red tape that stands between the production of safe, quality homes, and the nation’s families and individuals that need these homes to make homeownership a reality,” said Carson during Thursday's tour. “This proposal is a strong example of how we believe we can both reduce regulation and improve safety and security for the nation’s homebuyers.

"Thank you to the entire Clayton Homes team for facilitating an informative discussion on the new building technologies and materials used in manufactured housing today.”

Specifically, HUD is recommending updates to modernize code provisions and allow for more optimal use of manufactured housing in urban areas, including Opportunity Zones; additional requirements for the installation of carbon monoxide alarms or detectors; and additional provisions for homes designed for structures attached at the site, including garages and carports.

HUD’s final rule on formaldehyde emissions for manufactured homes aligns HUD’s regulations with other federal guidelines.

HUD’s Office of Manufactured Housing Programs, part of HUD’s Office of Housing, oversees the construction statutes, standards and regulations of manufactured housing contained in the federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards.

Manufactured housing provides nearly 10 percent of the total single-family housing stock, giving more than 22 million Americans a place to call home.

“I appreciate Secretary Carson touring the great work of Clayton, one of Alabama’s finest,” said Gov. Kay Ivey. “I applaud him and the Trump Administration for being laser-focused on removing burdensome regulations of big government, and making home ownership an easier possibility for Alabama’s families.”

“We are proud to support Secretary Carson’s efforts to address the lack of affordable housing for American families,” said Kevin Clayton, CEO of Clayton. “Building indoors in a climate-controlled environment helps improve quality, purchasing power and efficiency, resulting in more value to the home buyer."

Clayton said Carson toured the company's home building facility and a new CrossMod home that incorporates a higher pitch roof, masonry foundation and other high-end features that typically are not within reach of someone seeking an affordable home.

"The CrossMod is an industry initiative that was designed to make homeownership more attainable,” he said.

“MHI commends Secretary Carson for his leadership in updating the HUD Code, aligning HUD formaldehyde regulations with EPA guidelines, and working to alleviate regulatory barriers to manufactured housing at all levels of government,” said Lesli Gooch, CEO of the Manufactured Housing Institute. “Keeping the manufactured housing construction code up to date is critical for ensuring the industry can efficiently produce homes with innovative features and amenities consumers want.”

HUD launched the “Driving Affordable Housing Across America Bus Tour” this week. The bus tour is a part of the work Carson is undertaking as the chair of the White House Council on Eliminating Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing.

The council’s eight federal member agencies are engaging with governments at all levels — state, local, and tribal — and other private-sector and non-profit stakeholders on ways to increase the housing supply so more Americans have access to affordable housing.

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