Guest post by Brian Dabson
The scale and complexity of the issues surrounding North Carolina’s manufactured homes stock was the subject of a previous blog post, Hidden in Plain Sight. Over 1.3 million people in the state live in 480,000 manufactured homes, making them a vital part of the affordable housing stock especially in rural counties. However, challenges associated with high utility bills, vulnerability to flooding and high winds, and deteriorating condition of older homes suggest an urgent need for action. That said, responsibility and capacity for action is spread across multiple agencies and individuals with little incentive for any concerted or coordinated effort.
The School of Government interviewed 40 stakeholders with connections with manufactured home building, installation, maintenance, financing, regulation, removal, resident representation, and housing policy. It was apparent that bringing these stakeholders together might be a productive way forward. So, in April 2018, the School convened a workshop which attracted 32 participants from 25 organizations—ranging from the North Carolina Manufactured & Modular Homebuilders Association to the North Carolina Justice Center, from the Roanoke Electric Cooperative to Habitat for Humanity NC, and from the NC Department of Insurance to the Choanoke Area Development Association—to consider possible strategies and action steps to meet the mobile homes challenge.
Guest post by Brian Dabson
Mobile homes are a vital but generally unloved part of North Carolina’s affordable housing stock. They come to public attention in times of extreme weather, particularly high winds and floods. Their condition and location make them especially vulnerable to damage, and often their occupants—the elderly, people with disabilities, and the poor—are least able to cope with the consequences. This blog post looks at some of the challenges and opportunities for improving conditions using energy efficiency initiatives for low-income North Carolinians, particularly in our more rural counties.
Glenn Barnes is a senior project director with the Environmental Finance Center and is the co-director of the Smart Management for Small Water Systems project.
All drinking water systems should be concerned about water loss—water that is treated but does not reach an end user because it leaks out through the system’s network of pipes. Water loss wastes both a precious resource (the drinking water) and potentially a lot of money as well (energy use, chemicals, wear and tear on equipment, etc.). Continue reading
Glenn Barnes is senior project director with the Environmental Finance Center based at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the co-director of the Smart Management for Small Water Systems Project.
For the past year, the Environmental Finance Center at UNC has partnered with its sister Environmental Finance Centers around the country on the Smart Management for Small Water Systems project—an EPA-funded effort to provide training and technical assistance to drinking water systems nationally that serve 10,000 or fewer customers. Of the more than 50,000 community water systems in the United States (those that provide drinking water to people where they live), about 91 percent of them serve 10,000 or fewer customers, according to SDWIS data.
Many of these community water systems are operated by local governments. But a sizable percentage of the systems are operated by non-governmental entities such as homeowner associations and mobile home parks. All small systems face challenges, from dis-economies of scale when keeping up with capital needs and regulatory compliance to issues retaining qualified operators. When providing water service is not the water system’s primary business, however, the challenges are greater. Continue reading