COLUMBUS, Ohio, May 11, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Supporters and residents of manufactured homes in Ohio are united in their fight to keep an independent oversight commission in place despite efforts by the Kasich Administration to slash safety inspections and resident dispute resolution programs for the factory-built residences.

Members of the Ohio Manufactured Homes Association (OMHA) and the Association of Manufactured Home Residents of Ohio (AMHRO) today repeated their opposition to the Kasich plan and urged State Senators to follow their House colleagues in rejecting budget language to gut the Manufactured Homes Commission.

“Nearly one million Ohio residents living in manufactured homes will be left without a legitimate state advocate on safety issues if the proposal is approved,” said Tim Williams, OMHA’s Executive Director. “Fortunately, the budget is developed in the Legislature, where our elected officials understand the Commission’s role in protecting our residents,” he added.

Members of the House of Representatives rejected the Kasich Administration measure last week. Now, it is being heard in a Senate sub-committee that oversees government operations. The first hearing on the measure was held today in Columbus.

Williams said those who live in manufactured homes have been misled and insulted by the Governor’s negative comments about manufactured homes. “At best, his team is showing its ignorance of the importance of manufactured homes to many residents. At worst, they are revealing a prejudice against people who live in our homes. Either way, it’s unbecoming and cannot be allowed to become embedded in state policy,” he said.

He added the Governor’s proposal in his original budget plan would result in fewer inspections by those who would replace the Commission, making homes less safe. “Under the Commission, all new and used home installations receive three safety inspections by certified inspectors,” Williams noted. “It is hard to imagine an office managed by political appointees can possibly maintain this high safety standard when they have no experience with the unique nature of manufactured home construction and proper installation techniques. Getting rid of an independent commission of professionals will set back homeowner safety in Ohio by more than a decade,” he said.

Nevertheless, Williams said the statistics prove today’s manufactured homes are perhaps the safest homes on the market. He noted a 2013 study by the National Fire Protection Association indicating manufactured homes have stricter fire safety codes and less fires and civilian fire injuries (per 100,000) than site built homes. 

That fact alone, Williams said, calls into question the motives of the just retired State Fire Marshal, Larry Flowers, who as a state lawmaker and former firefighter, co-sponsored the bill creating the commission ten years ago, but now is siding with Kasich. “He is guilty of some serious flip-flopping and should be made to explain why.”

Williams attended today’s hearing but will not testify until a second hearing is held by Senators next Thursday, May 18th.

The Ohio Manufactured Homes Association is a not for profit organization, comprised of 500 manufactured home businesses. OMHA’s strategic vision strives to make manufactured homes a standard way of life in Ohio.

Contact: Tim Williams 
(614) 799-2340