Episode 22: Special Edition – Interview with DJ Pendelton
Interview with DJ Pendelton
Executive Director of the TMHA: Texas Manufactured Housing Association
Mousetrap: Mousetrap here, thanks for tuning in to this special edition of the Doublewide Dudes. We’re here at the Texas Manufactured Housing Association convention out here in Dallas. Just a heads up, this it’s going to be a little bit longer episode than normal, but there is some really good information for both potential homebuyers or people in the industry. Enjoy.
Intro: Hey look! It’s the Doublewide Dudes.
Mousetrap: Well, all right, all right. We’re out here in Dallas at the beautiful Four Seasons Hotel attending the Texas Manufacturing Housing Association convention, and man, what a beautiful place to hold this convention AP!
AP: It’s a nice spot. Yeah. Big thanks to the TMHA for putting us up for the night.
Mousetrap: Yeah. For setting us up.
AP: Yeah. Beautiful place.
Mousetrap: Yeah. I’m real surprised on how big this industry really is AP.
AP: There’s a lot of people here.
Mousetrap: Yeah. And it’s really cool to see all the moving parts it takes to have affordable housing, make an impact here in the state of Texas, and as well as seeing all the legislative stuff that TMHA is doing to protect consumers, home buyers and families that choose to live in a manufactured home. On top of that, it’s nice how they asked Braustin to come out and give a talk on how we’re using technology to improve our industry, and the home-buying experience.
AP: Yeah. It’s really cool getting to come up here and come up to Dallas – saw a lot of people I’ve known throughout my career here in the industry. And as you know, Mousetrap factory built housing is something that I’m extremely passionate about. And there’s a so many cool things now with technology that we can all be using to make the home-buying experience better for our customers. Really, really honored that TMHA gave us this opportunity to come up and share that with our peers. And we actually got the opportunity Mousetrap to sit down with DJ Pendleton. He’s executive director at TMHA and kind of get a behind-the-scenes look at what this organization is doing to protect our industry, protect our consumers and respond to the immediate need for housing now in the wake of hurricane Harvey.
Mousetrap: Yeah. It sounds like manufactured housing is going to play a big part in the reconstruction of the Texas coast. And this interview kind of took a turn at the end, huh?
AP: Yeah. It did, it did. You know, I was expecting a 10 or 15 minutes interview with DJ just to kind of go over what our industry was going to do in response to Harvey. It kind of took a turn, Mousetrap, and really turned into something so much bigger than that.
AP: We’re recording now if you want to just introduce who you are, what you do.
DJ: Sure, yeah. So I’m DJ Pendleton. I’m the executive director of the Texas Manufacturing Housing Association. So the association primarily is a state-based advocacy trade group. We’re a 501 C6, which is a nonprofit, but for trade organizations. And we primarily advocate for manufactured housing and manufactured home communities at a state legislative level and regulatory level. Just because of the size of Texas and some of the other things, we do get involved with some of the federal things and federal issues that are going on through HUD and some of the other things and legislation there. But primarily TMHA’s focus is on state based legislation and the regulatory environment.
AP: So DJ and I get to talking for a bit about this really important piece of legislation that he and his team just pushed through, and we’ll get back to that here in a bit. But then, we get to talking about the events that led up to him and TMHA’s role in the reconstruction after Harvey.
DJ: So for those six months – January to June every odd year are very intense long hours. This session we tacked on, they had a 30-day special session, actually it was 29-day special session so we got a little extra, little overtime where we got to work on that, so that was really busy. And then it was one of those, it was like, “Okay, time to go home and reintroduce myself to my wife.” She can say, “Kids, this is what dad looks like and remember him,” and just about the time it was like, “Okay, we’re going to do vacation and take it easy and do some of that stuff.” Unfortunately, Harvey hit.
Reporter 1: When you’re out here in the darkness, the wind is howling so loudly that it’s really hard to hear anything beyond that.
Reporter 2: Hurricane Harvey is making landfall as we speak.
Reporter 3: Here in Corpus we’ve been dealing mainly with strong wind, and it’s been going for about three or four hours now.
Reporter 4: Look at that wind right there! Not only is the water parting, the wind is whipping it into a froth.
Reporter 5: Even though the storm has come ashore, it’s not the end of anything. This is really the beginning of the second, and perhaps, even the more deadly or dangerous phase.
DJ: When it started off, it was, uh, I believe it was after some of the wild fires that hit. And it was this group, they kind of came together trying to figure out some housing and we’re just talking ones and twos and threes and fours type people. When we first started out we were in this room about six, seven, eight of us – around two card tables pushed together. Well, the Thursday meeting after Harvey, you can imagine that room and that audience had grown quite a bit.
DJ: But I was in there basically with all of the various federal and state agencies that touched in any manner housing and emergency response.
We were also in there with the Apartment Association, we were in there with HUD, USDA, the Army was in there, Redcross was there, the Governor’s office of course. Anyway, so we’re working with them in all various capacities with FEMA. FEMA has been sending out request, they’ve asked for some of our manufacturers to make some more units, even though they are a last resort. I think the volume is going to be such, there’s a still going to be a purpose, a presence, a need for those MHU’s that FEMA requires. Last week they came out with an RFI – request for information for retailers offlot inventory what you had around the state that they could potentially buy. Who knows if they’re going to buy that. Who knows if that’s anything. It’s just that they made it very, very clear it wasn’t no RFP, it wasn’t tryin to do procurement; they’re just trying to get their hands wrapped around what they’ve got at this point.
AP: You were telling me about hurricane Harvey and what our industry is doing to help with that.
DJ: Yeah.So we’re all in, we always are. We have kind of two phases. We have whatever role we end up playing in the immediate temporary housing space, and then we have the role in the permanent reconstruction rehabilitation space. And so, on the front end that’s what you might consider the FEMA units and things like that, and yeah, our guys we build those. Those are kind of a last-resort option a lot of times. They’re going to put folks that have lived into — out of shelters into apartments, into hotels, that kind of stuff. But sometimes we still kind of fit that need. But looking forward, looking further down though, unfortunately, the 18 counties where the storm hit, I went and looked and pulled numbers, and by far — I’m not trying to insinuate that we had 100% loss, I was just trying to gauge just overall. How many manufactured homes are in these 18 counties? The state has title data and they break it down titles by county. And the 18 counties that got hit was just over a 126,000 titles, so manufactured homes are in the those 18 counties. And that’s just under 14% of all the homes in Texas in just those counties. So that’s one thing that we’ve always kind of come around with the experience with disaster is that-yeah, I’ll say this – anybody that comes at you after post-disaster and says temporary housing is six months, even if they say nine months, they don’t know what they’re talking about.
DJ: 18 months at a minimum, probably closer to two or three years is what really plays out. And for folks that have lost and are trying to rebuild their homes or they’re trying to get back up on their feet in various different ways. And so, when you’re talking that, even if you’re talking 18 months, I mean, you can’t live in a tent for 18 months. And so, we’ll see market presence from that. I think it will be interesting to see as the evaluation moves forward. I don’t want to speak for anybody, but as far as consumers that are out there who are wondering about this; folks that had loans on existing homes and those homes were damaged and destroyed or total losses, I think we could see some our lenders in this space coming to those folks and trying to figure out how best they can all work together to restructure their lives. It doesn’t do anybody any good, lender or anybody to have a bunch of people mass exodus or lose everything to lose lending portfolios, which is the lender result on some of this stuff. So I think we could see some of the stuff to help people, and that’s going to be another market-driven if any of those things can happen and the lending could get to a point where even folks that don’t have cash or maybe don’t have enough disaster assistance, who don’t have enough insurance payout to get them completely home back into something else, maybe some sort of bridge gap there. So I think that that’s what we’ll probably end up seeing over the next several years, and then in probably six to nine months the wheels will begin to start turning on permanent replacement reconstruction efforts. And that’s what you’ve already seen. The president just signed the 15 billion dollar Harvey package. Whether or not there’s more that comes in later if they do a budget later on, but at least we know there’s 15 billion. That’s going to get chopped up in various different ways. A massive chunk of that is going to go toward housing. So that process will take time as people go through and apply and do the applications so folks might know if they are listed and potentially impacted by this. What I’ve been told is that the maximum temporary housing FEMA will award per person, per applicant is $33,300. In various different forms, definitely not a total hit of that amount, but in just the whole spectrum of what has been the registrations with FEMA. It’s over 650,000 people have registered with FEMA and ready. They expect that number could go over a million. So that’s one kind of temporary emergency resources. I am talking about what they do later on big resources coming through reconstruction, redevelopment – that’s going to be a whole other pot of money. And that is administered, so Congress will take that money typically and appropriate it. The federal overlay of that will be Housing and Urban Development, HUD, who’ll write some top-line rules on distributing that money. Then they will send that money down to local jurisdictions for larger jurisdictions and/or the state. The state agency respond task with that is the general land office since 2011, they have the responsibility. So the GLO will be over this permanent reconstruction disaster recovery when that comes through and happens. You’ll also have a lot of local – for various different local cities that are of substantial size, they can get direct awards of money from HUD out of those pools. So they wont neccesarily have to go through the GLO. They’re going to have to play by these top-level rules, but what we saw after Ike and what I anticipate moving forward, these local governments or collection of governments called council of governments, COGs for short. So the COGs will get the money and set the rules, take the applicants and distribute it locally. We have been told by staff that the commissioner of the GLO, Commissioner Bush, that they believe quite rightly so that money dispersed out locally, get it down locally into those folks that are in those communities, that have been in those communities, know what those communities need to rebuild those communities is the best way to try to get the funds moving. So we’ll see probably a lot of emphasis on local and pushing it down on that, which means if you’re a retailer out there, if you’re in this space, if you’re in these local spaces, if your consumers it’s important to get involve, its important to pay attention to that kind of stuff when it comes through. I mean, other than you’re going to have people who are directly and adversely impacted by these are storms. I mean, just on a pure numbers basis, the amount of money that’s going to come down, I mean, should make everybody sit up and pay attention, because it’s going to be a lot.
After Ike we got three billion. They’ve already talked about 15 for Harvey. I’ve seen estimates and request that have said that the full impact could be 180 billion, but I’m hearing some of the housing impact is around 60 billion. So we don’t know what the housing is going to be, but I would just say got to participate, got to get in there, got to make sure that the folks that are drawing up those rules, taking the applicants, know of our housing products, know of our housing option, allow us to participate and be a housing option, educate them and that’s a big thing, a big focus problem that TMHA is going to be doing this next year is trying to educate folks on our modern housing product to make sure we can participate in those programs full tilt.
Mousetrap: So what does it mean by participating AP? I mean, in my mind manufactured housing would be the first solution for a tragedy like this. The fact that we could build these homes so quickly and offer housing right away, that’s something we could do to get them out of these tents.
AP: Yeah. You know, this is where this interview really took a turn. Like I said, I went into this thinking we were going to find out about how the factory built housing industry was meeting this need for immediate and long-term housing in the wake of Harvey. And it really turned into an interview about how DJ and his team at TMHA are protecting people’s basic rights here in the state of Texas to choose their homes.
Mousetrap: What does that exactly mean AP?
AP: Well, let’s back up real quick to that special legislative session DJ was talking about here in the beginning.
AP: I was reading on one of those regulations you’re able to get pushed through the right to stay or the right to keep your home in that park. I know that directly affects consumers. Can we talk a little bit about that.
DJ: Sure, yeah. This last regular session, we helped try to advance and advocated for two bills. And one that you’re speaking out was Senate Bill 1248. And that bill came about because we kept having experiences and getting stories, getting feedback where communities, existing manufactured home communities where local governments had changed the zoning underneath the community, so maybe one day it was allowed, maybe one day they got annexed so it wasn’t and they made it commercial, they made it industrial, agricultural – they made it something so that whatever the community was was essentially grandfathered in. Technically, what that’s called is a nonconforming use. They don’t really use the term grandfathering too much, but the technical term is a non-conforming use and they granted variates for these grandfathered communities. What we were seeing and getting reported on was when residents and community owners both when they wanted to upgrade homes, they wanted to bring in a new home; they like their community, but they wanted to bring in a new home or maybe there was a vacancy and they wanted to bring in another new house to fill up or if you’ve seen some one of these communities that have been purchased recently by some larger institutional investors. We’ve got a lot of kind of mom-and-pop community operators who have been doing it for a really long time. They might be the original creators of the communities back in like the 60s and 70s, and now they’re in their 80s and 90s. And their kids or anybody else don’t want it, they’re looking for an exit strategy, right. And so, they sell these communities, and a lot of times people will come in and they’ll be able to upgrade and improve them, including the residents themselves. You’ve got a lot of folks that live in something and then they decide that they want to upgrade, they need more space, they have more kids, whatever. Well, we were facing what a lot of jurisdictions and cities. I kind of summarized it as “you move it, you lose it”. And so, the way that – this gets little bit into the weeds – but the way that it would work is they say, “Okay, you’re a nonconforming use and when you abandon your nonconforming use for certain amount of time…” and that was all determined locally by local ordinances. Some had it 90 days, some had it 30 days, some had it 13 days, but, “…if you abandon your non-conforming use, it’s gone forever.” And it never made sense to me, because we always thought and associate you need to treat the community as a whole through the boundaries of the community with all the lots. But they weren’t doing that, they were saying, you move that one home off that lot and you don’t replace it in 30 days, then that lot is now dead. And the way that they would enforce it is they refused to hook up utilities to a new home being brought in. So we didn’t think that was right, so we went to friends of ours and we told them that story and they agreeded with us; they didn’t think that was right. So we got a house built bill and the Senate Bill filed. Representative Lucio in the house, a Democrat out of the valley, and Senator Buckingham, Republican Senator kind of out of – well, she’s out of Lakeway, but senate districts are much larger. Both filed a bill, so we had Republican, Democrat, House and Senate, two versions, identical bill. The way that we normally run them is we run both horses parallel, and at some point in the 140 day legislative session one will go faster, one might to die, one might whatever. Anyway, the horse that got it across the finish line through a tremendous amount of work. It’s probably the hardest I’ve ever worked on to pass, by far, not probably by far the hardest bill. We were opposed at every turn. All the cities came out against it, the Texas municipality came out against it. They were against the bill, worked against it. We had an adverse amendment from lobbyists representing the city Fort Worth, they got thrown on us in a surprise kind of attacked on the last day. We had to get that pulled back out. We were constantly up against the deadlines, but we were fortunate enough got it across. Governor Abbott signed the bill, made an effect on September first. So originally in the original version they couldn’t do what was cause amertize. So the way that you basically kill a nonconforming use, they can’t just outright say, ”Boom, you don’t get to use it that way anymore,” because it opens them up to an nonconstitutional taking because they’re not giving any compensation. So the way around that is what they do is what they call amerization. So they’ll come to the property owner that has a specific use and they’ll say you can use this for five more years, for fifteen more years or whatever. And it varies based off the type of use that’s there as far as what the courts will look at to determine whether or not like, “That was too aggressive. That was a taking,” verses that was reasonable. And it runs the whole spectrum if you look at the case law. You’ve got some like concrete aggregate businesses that mine, they’ll give them 15, 20 years, but if it’s like a sexually oriented business they will give them, like, three months. And that reasonable standard depends on what you are. And so, we originally said we don’t want you to have the ability to amertize, we don’t want you to have the ability at all to close them down, and they really had heartburn over that. We ultimately decided that we want to condense our ask down to be as simple as possible, we want the right to replace, we want footprint – that’s it. And that was our message; we just stayed on that message, because we had examples of where people, cities have offended that in a egregious, non defensible way. It was a way that we could isolate our issues into what we thought was the most advantageous politically for us to run the bill. And the reason we gave up on the amerization was I went back and started looking and while they have this amerization power, the cities never used them when it comes to manufactured home communities. And the reason is because it’s not a legal issue, it’s a political one. As City Council members, they don’t want to be the one responsible and Mayors for closing a community and going to all those residents and saying you’re out on the street. The media comes, everyone is, “Where I’m at going to go? I have lived here all my life. I love this community.” They don’t want to be that role so we figured there are other natural barriers from them being able to do that. We need to protect these other instances where they’re exploiting it and they’re doing things that we thought were wrong.
AP: It just sounds like you’re fighting the local jurisdictions, the cities, the City Council.
DJ: In a lot of ways. I mean, I say we’re fighting with them, we are in that sense, we’re definitely up against them and they definitely did not like that. They don’t like anything that infringes on their abilities. We would prefer to work with them, we would prefer to educate them about what the modern homes, the modern products are. So much of our difficulty is this perception, this stigma of kind of yesteryear’s home, your grandma’s trailer home. And a lot of times educating anyone whether state officials or regulators or city folks about what the modern product is, modern home is we have a better shot at winning hearts and minds, but sometimes you don’t win hearts and minds and sometimes they don’t want to be won, and if that’s the case and they’re doing stuff that comes adverserial to our industry, it’s my job to organize, gather the troops, put a plan in place and try to achieve – do state laws that protect us and promote our industry.
AP: It sounds like this was — it definitely affects the industry, but you also got residents, individual families they’re right back to replace their home, their choice of housing.
AP: It’s funny we’re talking about this. We covered this in one of our original podcast where we were tackling the myth of trailer trash…
AP: …and there was a lot of this stuff in the news, these City Council’s and they were saying well, crimes going to go up or this and that and the other. And then when we started doing our research, the foreclosure rate on factory built housing is actually less that site build because it’s more affordable. There were no verifiable facts that crime goes up in manufactured home communities or any of that. So obviously, there’s that stigma, but why do you think these local governments, I mean, they’re facing affordable housing crisis in every town in Texas. It’s a problem, we are the solution, why do you think there is so much fight against that?
DJ: You know, that’s a great question. Maybe it’s a multitude of things, but I would probably still hang my hat on the fact that it’s a misunderstanding of what the modern home is that we offer. I think it’s a bad perception issue that they have, they’re not seeing what we could provide moving forward. And you’re absolutely right, the affordable housing issue — and in particular, I mean, it’s everywhere. Let’s for example, let’s just take off and concede a lot of the super urbanized senetors. Let’s say that in Austin or Dallas or whatever a lot of that they’re going to require density, they’ve got to go up, right. One of the things we’ve been looking at is a disturbing trend that smaller cities, more associated with rural Texas cities, which are normal kind of bread and butter market for us are starting to follow whatever playbook it is that prohibits manufactured housing. And many times, the cities that are doing this it is completely — not only do they have an affordable housing need, but it’s completely contrary to any of their demographics that they have. And so, yeah, I’ll get conspiratorial a second on this podcast. What we have seen the trends are in various different small cities is that typically, the movement to ban manufactured housing starts with the voluntary members of the Zoning and Planning Commission. Even in your, let’s call it modest to lower income Texas cities, the people that volunteer, participate by and large on those Planning and Zoning Commission are the most well-off people and individuals in that city. They will hatch the idea they don’t want any more “mobile homes”, they want to get rid of them, right. Whether they want to get rid of the homes or they think that they want to get rid of the people that they think live in the homes. But the homes are easy to attack, because you don’t want to attack people, you know, they got kind of fair housing issues and things like that, but there’s no protection against housing type. They hatch a plan and go to city staff and say, “We want to set you to work on how we would go about doing this,” and the staff starts turning it and before long it gets brought up as a recommendation from Planning and Zoning, vetted through city staff to be presented to a City Council. Those are the actually local elected officials. And if there’s not local folks that are paying attention, that can intercede at a local political level at that city level, you’ll get a lot of these City Council’s that will rubber stamp this stuff.
Mousetrap: Wow, that’s crazy. We actually talked about that on one of our first episodes AP; how our City Councils were making decisions on outdated stereotypes to choose whether manufactured homes went in certain areas. And it’s crazy to see how such a small group of people can make decisions on whether another group can upgrade their home or not.
AP: Yeah. It is, Mousetrap. And luckily, DJ and his team at TMHA were able to get that law changed and passed September first. But as you’ll hear we’re actually seeing this again now in the wake of Harvey where local jurisdictions are using this as a possible option to prevent manufactured housing from coming back into their cities.
AP: Yeah. I think that’s one of the things I found most interesting when you’re telling me earlier it’s not just about the money it’s also about zoning in a lot of areas where, like you were saying, folks lost their homes now two or three generations down the road and it was site built, but now the cost of rebuilding that site built home in that area, these folks don’t have that, they don’t have the economic means. Manufactured homes should be the solutions for those areas, but without us getting involved, TMHA getting involved and making sure we are considered as part of the solution, how else are these folks gonna rebuild permanently?
DJ: I’ll jump on that one. It’s fresh on my mind, but maybe I shouldn’t say it, but I think I’m going to anyway. The other concern that I have, and we haven’t seen it in widespread use but we have seen it in isolation and I guess maybe the best way to do it is I’ll leave the name of the city out, but there was one city that we’re dealing with right now, they had two manufactured home communities that were 100% lost. They were not in the flood plain; not required to get flood insurance. They had loans, they had commercial loans, there was no flood insurance just like these multimillion-dollar homes in various areas of Houston, similarly not in flood Plains, not required to get flood insurance. 100% loss of those communities; it’s a privately owned community by an elderly couple who spent their life savings buying these communities. He is a community owner who is more or less beloved. This is not a slum lord or trailer trash community owner. He buys turkeys at Christmas for his residents, they have functions, they all know him by his first name. It was a tight-knit community that’s been devastated.
The city has now come in and said – well, first, to underline where their whole intent was. They’ve had off the record remarks and flippant comments that if city officials had their way there’d been no mobile homes in the city, period. They have come through and they have layered on all of these requirements on the cleanup. And on the utilities, they said that they didn’t control the utilities that that was on the community owner, and actually, they did control the utilities. They’ve layered on all these additional foundational requirements and infrastructure requirements on these homes that’s well above anything else, essentially with the goal of, what they’re trying make it cost prohibitive for these homes to come back in. If that weren’t enough, they have now told the owner that if even if they stomach the tremendous expense for the lot development cost just to bring in new homes, and by the way, there are homes ready to go in. I mean, these people are still in shelters and they want to come back to these community. The city is now telling them that they cannot clean up and replace homes a community street at a time. These 160 space communities, pretty big communities. They can’t do them section-by-section, they can’t do it road by road. If they’re going to do it, they’ve got to do the entire community all at the same time or they can’t. Now, why would you say that? Why would you have that requirement? What’s the justification? There’s no safety concerns there. Why are they doing that? And that stuff just keeps me up at night, it irritates me, gets me fired up, I get angry about it. We’re working to help those folks. We want those tenants to get back there, we want that community owner to get back on his feet, and we’re having to overcome hurdles like that.
AP: Well and I think its local that impacts our customers the most.
DJ: Yeah, huge.
Mousetrap: Where we’re at just south of San Antonio, there are two or three towns that immediately come to mind. I mean, the town of Natalia. The town is almost entirely built of factory-built housing, and yet now there are laws that don’t allow it. And then I look around it’s almost like you’re watchin this town commit suicide because nobody in that town can afford.to build a site built. It’s God awful expensive and to me it doesn’t make sense, but I guess just like you said it’s easier to attack the home than the people and if you’ve got a vested interest in land being used for your own gain it make sense to kind of pull those people out. What other thing is TMHA doing to protect the people living in these homes, the people that count on this as their way of housing?
DJ: Well, the industry doesn’t exist without our consumers so the consumers have to come first, because if they don’t come and they don’t push us and they don’t drive our industry, none of us have a job, and so, they’re of paramount concern. Their continual satisfaction, their continual positive stories about their life and their experience are what change perception. And I’ve got a personal story on this. My background, just so you know, my folks, basically a generation away from poverty out of West Texas. Both my great-grandfathers were oil roughnecks out of West Texas and worked incredibly hard, we’re very, very poor. My parents came to Austin and my dad worked in state government for 30 years, had other side business on the side, but when it came time wherevmy maternal grandparents couldn’t work anymore because they got old. They lived in Alpine; he was literally a cowboy on a ranch, I mean, running cattle.
AP: A Real Texan!
DJ: Real Texan, yeah. His name was Ervin Cavenous, everybody called him Slim. Some of this stuff you can’t make up. So they didn’t have any money, they didn’t have anything to retire on, they’d spent everything, they always lived paycheck-to-paycheck, and my parents wanted to bring them in and they needed someplace close and they needed a solution. My dad found in 1983, I believe it was, a piece of property out near Lake LBJ and it has a 72, still has, a 72 Lancer single section on it. My dad bought that home. The only way he could afford it – because he had our residence where me and my sister grew up – the only way he could afford it and get under it, was to do the financing from the guy he bought it from. So he did basically, I think, it was a 15 or 20 year note, this is back in the 80s at 181/2% interest rate. The lot is pretty decent amount of land and had a little canal under the house. It was for $63,000, and they made payments on that and that’s where my grandparents live for 30 years. And my grandfather literally with hospice there at the age of 94 died in that house. We grew up going to that house, we went and summered out there, we went to fish frys, Thanksgiving, Christmas, especially when they got older. My sister who’s got two little nieces, because my grandfather, it was difficult for them to leave, both of her girls got christened in that house. And so, my roots run deep in this, and I believe in the house because I believe that had that opportunity, had that whole home not existed at that price point, I mean, my parents couldn’t have afforded to put my grandparents in any place else, and my grandparents couldn’t have afforded it. We really don’t know what they would have done. And in that situation on a consumer basis for me personally and my family, it was transformative. It transformed my life, the memories and everything that I’ve got, the quality of life that my grandparents were able to enjoy and to see their happiness. I learned how to play 42 dominos and the played for years at the table inside that house. I mean, I tell that story; it’s a very long story just to kind of say I am those people, I am people that live in — and that was a mobile home, that was a pre ‘74. I believe in manufactured housing. I think a lot of people, a lot of consumers believe in manufactured housing.
Mousetrap: You can just tell from hearing DJ share he story, how passionate and connected he is to the people that he serves. The guys wrap it up by talking about what the future has in store for the TMHA and the manufactured home industry.
AP: I know you’ve got to run DJ, the last question for you. In a perfect world, TMHA gets everything, every legislation, everything they want passed, 10 years from now, where is the manufactured home industry in Texas?
DJ: Probably, I mean, a quick and direct answer is parity. We want to compete as a housing choice option equally on a flat, fair playingfield. We don’t feel in so many markets that we have that opportunity to do that right now. I believe that this industry if given the opportunity to compete at the various different price points of comparing us to other housing choice options, whether it be site built, whether it be even multi family apartments, allow us at various different price point, so whether that’s a complete purchase price or really just break it down to what your monthly housing expenses could cost are. For the needs of most of the population, if we’re given that opportunity to compete, just that, I think we’d win. I think we prevail more times, more often than not. And I think that removing — so 10 years from now my job for the next decade, maybe longer, is that I want to continually go after eliminating the thumb on the scale that we so often experience for whatever the sins were in the past correct, percieved, made up, real, whatever it doesn’t matter. Moving forward in the future how do we level the playing field so that we can compete and go in to these markets, show we have, offer what we have, because I think when we do that we’re going to win.
Mousetrap: And I think that’s really important to make these bigger, prettier, me nicer looking to fight that stigma to not forget that we solved that problem, the affordable housing problem. That’s the biggest problem the country need solving and that’s really what I think we’ll be able to do. So I appreciate you taking the time DJ.
DJ: Anytime, anytime. I love to do it.
Mousetrap: Love that we’ve got an organization that fights for our rights as retailers , our consumer’s rights to be able to live in the home they choose, and it’s been an awesome convention yall put together.
DJ: Well, thank you. I deserve probably very little credit; I’ve got a really good staff and it’s not over, we’re working really hard. We stand on our heads for about three days, but we get through it, we survived them; but no, we love doing it, we love the people, we love the tremendous turnout. We’ve had over 310 attendees at this year’s event so that’s been really good. And so, we’ve tried to make this and try to do it, structure it in a way that it’s really a benefit to try to come and do this stuff. And for anybody that listening, maybe not on a consumer basis, but anybody in the industry they couldn’t make it and couldn’t attend any of these things and maybe saw some of those stuff that we had, the education seminars. As long as we can agree with our presenters which I think we could to have some rebroadcasting agreements. We’re recording all of this, and eventually, after we get it edited down and everything else will upload it all to part of our online catalog. So trying to make sure we stay connected to the online technologically more savvy folks for people in El Paso that couldn’t make it to Dallas or down in the valley or McAllen or something like that so that they can get and cherry pick and look at the things and see if they can get some education as well. Because we’ve got some stuff here that runs the whole gammet from community owners type stuff, we’ve got some folks coming in talk about solar panels. Obviously, you guys are coming in talking about selling through technology. So there’s a lot of different things that we try to hit cast a very wide net, and hopefully, we’re going to have all of that available.
Mousetrap: Well awesome! We’re looking forward to next year. Thanks DJ.
Mousetrap: All right, well that does it for this special edition of the Doublewide Dudes covering the TMHA convention up in Dallas. Also keep an eye out on our website at www.findmymobilehome.com where you’ll be able to watch Braustin’s presentation on bringing technology into the mobile home industry.
AP: Yeah. Check it out. And big thanks to DJ Pendleton for taking his time to sit down and interviewing with us. Big thanks to Caitlin Nauert for setting us up at the Four Seasons and getting us with DJ for the interview. The Harvey soundbite was adopted from a CNN post. A compilation of broadcasts from KSAT, NOAA, KPRC, KXAN. Big thanks to the reporters that kept us as a State of Texas in a loop, before, during and of course after Hurricane Harvey.
AP: And our thoughts continue to be with those families affected by this tragedy.
Mousetrap: Yeah. Texas took a big hit, but as always, we’ll bounce back. Thanks again for tuning in guys and we’ll talk to you in the next one.