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Fisher Redefines North Carolina’s Housing Mission

The North Carolina Housing Coalition gave Susan Fisher, a state representative from Asheville, its Legislator of the Year Award.

The choice of Fisher marks a change in some of the gospel within housing circles.  Fisher has championed the reform of our state’s manufactured housing. The underlying principal of her aims should make sense to other “housers“, as manufactured housing provides shelter for the least well off in the state – families earning less than half of median family income.

Still, it is a new direction. Advocates from both inside and outside of North Carolina have resisted seeing the light on manufactured housing for years.

Fisher sponsored and helped to pass H1700, “Prevent Displacement of Manufactured Homes,” which gives park owners a tax incentive to sell their mobile home parks to resident groups.  It covers sales to non-profit groups, or even to resident-owned cooperatives.

Chris Estes, the Housing Coalition’s Executive Director, framed Fisher’s work within broader concerns to address our manufactured housing. “Mobile homes house 18 percent of the North Carolina residents. They are on the largest source of non-subsidized affordable housing in the state,” he added. These days, the sector makes  one-third of all housing starts in North Carolina.

Fisher accepted the award but acknowledged that more can be done.  She emphasized how it fit within goals for  homeownership. Perhaps she was reaching out to state leaders attending the Summit.  Sen. Joe Sam Queen, who arrived later and reiterated several longstanding critiques of manufactured housing, but remains dedicated to increasing homeownership.

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