The 2019 I'M HOME Conference Was a Huge Success!
Prosperity Now has invested 15 years and countless hours into our Innovations in Manufactured Homes (I’M HOME) initiative. This underscores the effort to improve the asset- and wealth-building of manufactured homes, to preserve and protect communities across the country and, undergirding all of these actions, to advocate for new and better policies to help families reach these goals.
On November 18, 2019, nearly 300 manufactured homeowners, advocates, academics, policymakers, lenders, developers and others convened in Portland, Oregon for the largest Innovations in Manufactured Homes (I’M HOME) Conference to date.
We began the week with a site visit of the Oak Leaf and Arbor communities, two parks preserved by residents and St. Vincent de Paul, with significant support from state and local organizations such as Living Cully, the Network for Oregon Affordable Housing, Oregon Housing and Community Services and others.
Next, we officially opened the conference with a Native Lands Acknowledgement by JR Lilly, a member of the Navajo nation and the Portland Indian Leaders Roundtable.Following a spirited opening, attendees got the privilege to view a preview of the upcoming documentary That’s How We Roll which details the community redevelopment crisis. Other highlights of the conference included a plenary on Native Americans and manufactured housing, with a presentation on manufactured home lending and a discussion led by the Northern Circle Indian Housing Authority about their work with manufactured homes.
One highlight was the plenary session on state policy wins. With advocates from five very different states, we heard how fundamental clear policy goals are and the invaluable role that residents—and local constituents—have in advancing good public policy. Conference attendees from across the country are now armed with tools and inspiration for their next legislative sessions.
The success of the conference did not happen in a vacuum. Prosperity Now and its partners across the sector prepared for that November moment for all of 2019. The foundation of this success, however, reflects the commitment of the IM HOME Network to improving the role of manufactured housing in addressing the affordable housing crisis, one of the existential challenges of our age.
In 2005, when the sector first met to see if a manufactured housing movement had legs, a small group of advocates laid out a vision of what could and what should happen. They recognized the vulnerability of manufactured housing communities. They saw the lack of good home financing. They saw the stigma that weighed down the sector and the ignorance too many policymakers revealed when confronted with the early advocacy.
These challenges remain, though in a much more manageable way. Housing leaders in all sectors now recognize the potential and the role manufactured housing has. New lenders, policies and research now support the sector unlike ever before. The I’M HOME Network and the I’M HOME Conference are two examples of how far we have come and how much more we can do.
Thank you to all of our sponsors, particularly our Marquis Sponsor Wells Fargo, for making the event possible!