The Media’s Manufactured Home Bias

There was a moment in the first episode of the new Star Trek: Picard series that made us think of manufactured homes.

During an interview, Admiral Picard discusses the number of lives lost in a natural disaster. “Romulan lives,” the interviewer replies, to observe that the casualties were from a hostile alien race. “No – lives,” Picard responds, returning the focus where he thinks it belongs.

If you haven’t guessed the manufactured home connection, ask yourself how often you’ve read a headline like this: “Manufactured home destroyed by tornado.”

When a tornado hits a populated area, many homes are damaged or destroyed. But when site-built homes are lost, they are not specified as such by newspapers or local television news broadcasts. When that happens, they’re just homes.

But manufactured homes are just homes too. So the only reason we can offer as to why that status is mentioned is to suggest, intentionally or unintentionally, that manufactured homes are in some way less than a “real” home.

That’s not right. A manufactured home isn’t something our customers settle for because they can’t get a site-built home. The homes we sell are to people who have looked at a wide range of options, and decided that a manufactured home gives them more space, more comfort, more security, and more upgraded options, all at a cost that is within their budget. And after they have moved they don’t regret that decision.

There is no basis for the assumption that manufactured homes are less safe or more vulnerable to fire or extreme weather. All manufactured homes built after 1994 conform to enhanced construction requirements adopted by HUD. And homes that are built on permanent block wall foundations provide even more sound structural integrity.

A study was made on this topic a few years ago, in which reviews were conducted of more than 29,000 manufactured homes that had been exposed to hurricane force winds from four storms – Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne. Those built to the new HUD standard were not only still standing, they did not suffer serious damage.

So why does the media still do this? Apparently, old habits are hard to break. These are the same folks that still refer to manufactured homes as “mobile homes,” as if those two terms are interchangeable. Thankfully, in this political and social climate we all have learned to “read between the lines” on stories we see online or in other media, and understand that there may be elements in them that are not fair or accurate.

At Ma Williams we know the manufactured homes offered by our suppliers are equal to, if not better than, the quality and durability of many site-built homes. We think you should know that, too.

Contact us to learn more