California Residents Can Get Help to Pay or Reduce Energy Costs

As the weather changes, you probably see your energy bill changing too. If you’re one of many low-income California households struggling to cover energy costs, you may be eligible for assistance.

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is funded by the Federal Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and provides energy assistance to qualified individuals. Eligible low-income persons can receive financial assistance to offset the costs of heating and/or cooling, and/or have their homes weatherized to make them more energy efficient. To qualify for this program, you must be a resident of the state of California, need financial assistance for home energy costs, and have an annual household income (before taxes) that is below 60 percent of the State Median Income.

To apply, call toll free 1-866-675-6623 or find the energy service provider in your community on the California Community Services & Development site – www.csd.ca.gov.

For more information about this program, visit www.csd.ca.gov/Pages/Assistance-PayingMyEnergyBills.aspx.

This article was previously published in our monthly newsletter, California Mobile Home News. If you would like access to more helpful information like this on a monthly basis, as well as additional resources for mobile home owners, contact us about becoming a MHET member!

Save Money by Shopping for the Best Medicare Coverage

Your current Medicare plan may not be the best for your needs. Each year, from January 1 to March 31, Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period allows you to select a different option for your annual coverage. To learn more about the different plan options, visit www.medicare.gov/plan-compare or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users call 1-877-486-2048.

This tip was previously published in our monthly newsletter, California Mobile Home News. If you would like access to more helpful information like this on a monthly basis, as well as additional resources for mobile home owners, contact us about becoming a MHET member!

You May Be Eligible for Energy Assistance Based on Medical Needs

If you require electricity to power your medical equipment or have a medical condition that requires your home maintain a specific temperature, you may be eligible for assistance with your energy bill under the Medical Baseline program. Eligible medical conditions include a compromised immune system, Multiple Sclerosis, or paraplegia. Eligible medical equipment includes breather machines (IPPB), Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), motorized wheelchairs, and respirators. If you have any of the above conditions, require electronic medical equipment, or think you may have a similar condition or device requirements, check with your utility provider to find out if you qualify for their Medical Baseline program.

SCE customers can find more information at www.sce.com/residential/assistance/medical-baseline or by calling 1-800-655-4555.

For SDGE customers, check www.sdge.com/residential/pay-bill/get-payment-bill-assistance/health-senior-support/qualifiying-based-medical-need or call 1-866-463-0070.

This article was previously published in our monthly newsletter, California Mobile Home News. If you would like access to more helpful information like this on a monthly basis, as well as additional resources for mobile home owners, contact us about becoming a MHET member!

Happy Holidays from Our Family to Yours

During the holidays, love and compassion for others is what is always on our mind. It is a time to cherish family and to enjoy friends. It is when we share time together, whether it is around a family dinner table, over the phone via FaceTime, or on a meeting app to visit family and friends near and far.

As we enjoy another wonderful and loving holiday season, we are also facing spikes in COVID cases here at home and around the world. The frustration continues and there has never been a better time to show compassion by thinking of others as well as ourselves. That is why it is important to continue wearing a mask that covers our mouth and nose when we are around others in a public setting and practice regular sanitation of hands and surfaces.

We wish you a very safe, healthy, and wonderful holiday season! Happy New Year and here’s to a healthy future!

Free Webinar: HUD’s Manufactured Home Dispute Resolution Program

You may have heard about the Manufactured Home Dispute Resolution Program, a resource that manufactured homeowners or prospective homeowner can use to resolve disputes regarding the correction or repair defect in manufactured homes. If you would like to be more knowledgeable about this program, there is a webinar on Tuesday, February 13th from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The webinar will teach you about how the program works, the issues handled by the program, federal disclosure requirements, and additional resources available. Upon registration, you can submit any questions you have about the program or any issues, and they will be answered by the webinar hosts. If you think of more questions after registration, you can submit them to info@huddrp.net by Tuesday, February 6.

You must register to participate in the webinar. Visit the link below to register, and contact Christine Biddlecombe at cbiddlecombe@savangroup.com for any questions about the webinar.

Registration: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/2950621205121298945

Resource: https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/housing/rmra/mhs/mhdrp

Safety Tips for Your Home During Holiday Seasons

We are approaching a very joyous time of the year – whether you celebrate Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, or the New Year, it is a time to celebrate by gathering with family and friends. With many gatherings and parties, there’s usually a grand display of foods that someone has worked very hard to put together.  Whether you are given the opportunity to host a party for the first time, or you have been doing it for many years, it helps to take a minute and review some safety tips.

According to Foremost Insurance and the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), Thanksgiving and Christmas are known for cooking-related home fires. You can imagine millions of people cooking in the kitchen, many of them pressed for time and stressed out from wanting to make everything perfect. It’s more than likely that just a few carelessness or inattention in the kitchen will lead to big disasters. Although the following tips were written to advise people for holiday feasts, you can apply these same tips for whenever you are cooking in the kitchen:

  1. Make sure that no flammable objects, such as kitchen towels, oven mitts, paper towels, hot pads, and food packaging, are away from your stove top. If you are rushing or not fully paying attention, it’s easy to forget about where you put these objects. It helps to clean off your kitchen counter as you cook so that you have space to put your kitchen tools and can keep track of where things are.
  2. Stay in the kitchen at all times if you have something boiling, frying, grilling, or broiling. If you are an experienced cook at home, you probably think that you can leave the kitchen for a short period of time. But why risk having a tragic accident in your kitchen right before an important gathering? Always keep an eye on your stove, or turn it off if you need to leave the kitchen.
  3. Always check on your foods that are simmering, baking, or roasting. Just because your pumpkin cheesecake recipe states to bake for one hour and to not open the oven door while it’s baking, you can still look into the oven every now and then to make sure that everything is going smoothly. If you are a forgetful cook, always use a timer, especially for dishes that calls for long hours of cooking.
  4. Don’t use the stove if you are feeling sleepy or have consumed alcohol. It’s very easy to start cooking and fall asleep while you are waiting. Pass the torch to someone else who is alert and wide awake to do the cooking.

It’s very easy for anyone to be a victim to kitchen disasters, especially when you are busy entertaining guests or if you are preparing everything by yourself. Make sure you stay safe by reading the Foremost Insurance article as well as visiting the National Fire Protection Agency website.

Resources: http://blog.foremost.com/thanksgiving-fires-turkey-fryers-and-safety-choirs.asp

https://www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/cooking.html

Is Your Mobile Home Level?

Many homeowners choose mobile home living as a long-term housing arrangement. There are many reasons for choosing the mobile home lifestyle including affordability, community setting, and convenience. One major reason, especially for seniors, is the accessibility of a single-floor layout. As your mobile home ages, it becomes increasingly important to keep up with maintenance. Although the manufactured homes that are built these days are very durable and can even look like a traditional home, one of the most crucial and often overlooked necessity is re-leveling of your mobile home.

As the years pass, all manufactured homes begin to settle. This can cause problems such as creaks and leans in your floor, as well as doors not closing properly. What does all this mean? Well you can rest assured, your home is not sinking or damaged, rather it means that your home needs an adjustment.

Without regular adjustments to the level of your home, the piers underneath the home that may be constructed of non-treated wood may show wear, tear, and erosion. Bolts could become stressed and less effective, and other deterioration underneath the home may have occurred.

What is re-leveling?

Re-leveling your mobile home is simply the appropriate redistribution of the weight of your home to make it even again.

Can I re-level my own home?

Unless you have the experience and equipment necessary, this is not a do-it-yourself job. To safeguard your home and guarantee that the re-leveling is done correctly, you will need to consult a professional.

The best place to start is with the company that sold your mobile home to you. Mobile home dealers often know the most qualified contractors. Or ask a neighbor which company they used. Another way to find the right company is to search the web. But be cautious, always investigate the company’s qualifications, credentials and previous clients’ comments and reviews.

Finally, get multiple quotes in writing and ask these potential companies questions. Find out who will actually be completing the job and verify their experience and credentials and request an accurate timeline for the project so you can plan ahead.

Re-leveling may seem like a major repair, however it really is quite basic, but definitely necessary. If you plan ahead and do your research your mobile home life style can continue to be comfortable and safe for many more years to come.

Source: http://mobilehomeliving.org/understanding-mobile-home-leveling-issues/

Financial Assistance

What state/local financial assistance is available to low-income mobilehome owners? Some programs that provide financial assistance to low-income or senior park residents include:

  • C.A.R.E. Utility Assistance: Low-income residents of master-meter mobilehome parks may qualify annually for a 20% discount on their electric or gas bills through the California Alternate Rates for Energy Program (care). For more information, check with your park management or the local gas or electric utility company listed in your phone directory.
  • Mobilehome Rehabilitation: Loans or grants are available to low-income mobilehome owners through the Department of Housing and Community Development’s CalHome program to make specified repairs on their mobilehomes. Although not all jurisdictions participate, the funds are channeled through qualified local government housing or non-profit agencies. For more information, check with your city or county housing department, authority or commission.
  • Mobilehome Park Resident Ownership Program (MPROP): On a limited basis, this program provides loans to resident organizations and non-profit organizations and 3% simple interest loans to low-income homeowners for costs involving the resident or non-profit purchase of a mobilehome park. For more information about the MPROP process and requirements, call the Department of Housing and Community Development at 916.323.3178, or at www.hcd.ca.gov/fa/mprop.
  • Section 8 Housing Assistance: Rent subsidies may be available to eligible low-income mobilehome residents who live in mobilehome parks. This program is funded by the federal government but administered by local housing agencies. Section 8 allocations are often full and many jurisdictions have waiting lists of a year or more. Not all mobilehome park owners accept Section 8 vouchers. For more information, check with your city or county housing department, authority or commission.

Resource: What Every Mobile Home Owner Should Know, published by the Senate Select Committee on Manufactured Home Communities

Mobilehome and Manufactured Homes Sales

Who handles the sales of mobilehomes and manufactured homes?

Only dealer-brokers licensed by the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) handle sales of new manufactured homes and mobilehomes. These new homes come with a one-year warranty from the manufacturer, but the warranty usually does not cover transit damage and may not apply to faulty installation. Used mobilehomes do not come with a warranty and may be sold by dealers, real estate agents, or the homeowner, who must provide the buyer with a resale or transfer disclosure statement (TDS), as mentioned previously. Complaints about mobilehome dealers should be directed to the Mobilehome Ombudsman at 800.952.5275, or ombudsman@hcd.ca.gov.

What if there is an issue with my new mobile home?

If there is a safety or construction issue with your new mobile home, you must notify the manufacturer, retailer, or installer. If the problem is not resolved, you may be able to use the HUD Manufactured Home Dispute Resolution Program. This program aims to provide timely resolution (of eligible disputes) between manufacturers, retailers and installer of manufactured homes regarding the responsibility of correction or repairs of defects in manufactured homes.

There are a few eligibility requirements to participate in this program. For example, the owner of the mobile home needs to report any issues to the manufacturer, retailer, installer, State Administrative Agency, or HUD within one year after the date of installation. In addition, not all States participate in this program, due to some administering their own dispute resolution programs.

If you are eligible to participate in the program, you can submit a request for dispute resolution in one of five ways: by email, phone, fax, mail, or online. The program outlines key information to include in your request, if you are not using the online form to submit the request. Make sure to visit their website to see if you are eligible, and read through all the instructions in order for your request to be processed. In addition, you can watch a very informative video about the program on their website.
Resources: http://www.huddrp.net/

Video Link: http://www.huddrp.net/video/

HUD Administered Dispute Resolution Program:

571-882-2928, info@huddrp.net

 

Park Rules & Regulations

The following is an excerpt taken from the pamphlet, What Every Mobile Home Owner Should Know, published by the Senate Select Committee on Manufactured Home Communities.

Why do parks have rules and regulations?

Most mobilehome parks have rules that restrict or regulate resident conduct relating to such issues as pets, parking, noise, recreational or common facilities, or home and lot maintenance, among others. Rules may be short and simple, or lengthy and restrictive, depending on the type of management and size of the park.

How are parks rules and regulations enforced?

Park rules and regulations accompany the park rental agreement and are enforceable under the

MRL. The MRL provides that a park may change a rule or regulation by issuing a 6-month written notice to residents, or a 60-day written notice if the rules relate to park recreational facilities. Violations of rules are enforced by the park through termination of tenancy (see the following Eviction section), a court-ordered injunction, or with regard to lot maintenance by assessment of reasonable fees, but park rules have to be “reasonable” as interpreted by a court in the case of an injunction or termination of tenancy for a rule violation. The management must provide prospective park residents with a copy of the park rules and the MRL if they ask for them at the time of application for tenancy.

Resource: What Every Mobile Home Owner Should Know, published by the Senate Select Committee on Manufactured Home Communities