George “Mac” McCarthy, President and CEO of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, brings to the table a well-informed outlook on resident ownership. Fueled by his education and experience in economics, Mac delves into conversation with Paul and Mike about the changing views around manufactured housing, his relationships with and advice to owners of manufactured homes – co-ops in particular – and what needs to happen within the housing market to improve conditions and promote resident ownership going forward.
Episode: Resident Ownership with George McCarthy: An Economist’s Perspective
Welcome to the Ownership Matters podcast, where hosts Paul Bradley and Mike Bullard of ROC USA highlight the stories of people at the heart of the resident ownership movement! In today’s episode, Paul and Mike welcome guest George “Mac” McCarthy.
0:12 – Introduction of today’s episode and guest.
Dr. George “Mac” McCarthy is the President and CEO of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Lincoln Institute seeks to improve quality of life through the effective use, taxation and stewardship of land. As a non-profit organization whose origin dates back to 1946, they research and recommend creative reproaches to land as a solution to economic, social and environmental challenges. Before joining the Lincoln Institute in 2014, Mac directed Metropolitan Opportunity at the Ford Foundation, which sought to provide disadvantaged people better access to good jobs and other opportunities for advancement in the U.S. and other developing countries. Before that, he administered a program at Ford which focused on using homeownership to build assets for low income families and their communities. Before that, he had a distinguished career as an academic.
2:28 – The misconceptions about manufactured housing
Earlier on in his career, Mac remembers hearing from many non-profits that manufactured housing “was the problem, not the solution.” A study conducted showed that about ⅓ of manufactured housing at the time was appreciating, not depreciating, due to several factors. These factors include what was going on inside of the housing market, how well the home was maintained and sited and the dysfunctions of the sales market. Since manufactured housing was sold using the automotive model, people weren’t getting the proper appraisals. The biggest reason for the depreciation was control of the land under the unit.
6:13 – How the perception of manufactured housing has changed
In recent years, the narrative surrounding manufactured housing has completely changed. The topic of the prejudices around manufactured housing is now widely and openly discussed. Mac explains that this is largely attributed to the work done by ROC USA.
12:29 – The changes made to preserve affordable housing in the U.S.
Every year in this country, we lose more affordable units than we gain across the board. The beauty of the ROC model is that it maintains in perpetuity a stock of affordable housing that will always be available for working families forever.
14:14 – Mac’s relationship with Lois Parris and Lakes Region Cooperative
Mac’s meeting with Lois Parris at her own resident-owned community of Lakes Region Cooperative was a huge turning point in his own work in manufactured housing. The biggest thing that struck Mac about his meeting with Lois was the strong community feel of her neighborhood park in contrast to his own suburban upbringing. Over the years of their correspondence, Mac recalls just how much more politically active the members of her community grew to be. When he was able to relay this story internally to the Ford Foundation, they were immediately all in on manufactured housing. They loved the idea of preserving housing and the empowerment that this brought along for the people.
17:35 – What’s next for the I’m HOME network at Lincoln Institute?
The last 20-25 years of work done here, Mac shares, was solely dedicated to building up a national ecosystem. Now, Mac hopes the team becomes more strategic in looking at how other players in the market can be moved in the right direction. Then, he runs through the history of FHA and Fannie Mae. This new proposed model is a national housing financing plan that would benefit everybody and is so desperately needed in this market today.
24:20 – The importance of having homeowners at the roundtable
First and foremost, it is the people actually in the homes which bring the meaning to all of this work being done. The credibility of these organizations actually comes from the changed life stories of the people who have been affected by the work.
27:19 – Advice for co-op leaders at the community level
Mac has met with a wide network of community leaders all over the world during his career. His best advice is that co-op leaders are in a position to help transform the entire manufactured housing space. They just need to get out and tell their story. Every time they do this, they inspire others to help make an impact in this space, too. This seed can only grow if co-op leaders and resident owners are able to tell their stories to others.
30:03 – Thanks to Mac for joining us on this episode of Ownership Matters!
Links: Read about manufactured housing appreciation here.
Learn more about the I’m HOME conference here.
Learn more about ROC USA through our website.
Thoughts? Questions? Stories? Send them to email@example.com.