BRACK: How about eliminating the manufacturing of mobile homes?

By Elliott Brack, editor and publisher  |  The winds of nature can cause massive destruction. The continued and long-lasting winds of a hurricane cause enormous damage. Luckily, these days the weather forecasters can tell you often days in advance where a hurricane is likely to hit. While it may leave tremendous infrastructure and building damage, widespread human deaths are curtailed with the weather forecasters’ early warnings.

Yet a tornado prediction is far more difficult. These fast-moving whirlwinds seem to pop up at a moment’s notice, sometimes not even allowing people to run for cover. It’s a chilling sound: the winds of a tornado. I have heard that sound, though once I slept through a tornado just a mile from our house.

Tornados have a unique ability to slam into housing projects and wreak massive damage. In particular, they seem to aim at mobile homes, as they did last week in South Georgia, killing 16 people, some in mobile homes.

Today one of the key topics in our everyday lives is the subject of ethics. We want ethics in our everyday living, in government, in business…..everywhere.  But let me ask you: did you ever consider the ethics of home building?

Why do we allow mobile homes anyway? Knowing that they can be death traps when heavy weather comes around…..knowing that people can be trapped inside them…..knowing that tornados can lift up mobile homes and toss them miles away…..why do communities allow the construction of mobile homes in the first place?

This photograph shows some of the destruction of a tornado which hit Albany, Ga., last week. The City of Lawrenceville Electric Division sent four people, plus a bucket truck and equipment, to help in the restoring of power for four days, from Tuesday to Friday. A total of 23 cities sent crews to South Georgia to help in the cleanup, while two contractors also sent crews.

Do people who own mobile home manufacturing companies, many in the South, ever consider what the outcome of their work can become?  Do they even care?  Do they think they are doing mankind a favor by putting together cheap materials to form a home that is so light that even wind gusts can overturn them, and cause havoc?

You wonder.

There’s even more reason to question mobile homes. From their very settings, they are a financial drain on the people who buy them. They immediately begin to de-preciate, not ap-preciate, just like automobiles. They are worth less the moment people occupy them.

Take an alternative: the manufactured home, one not on wheels, but constructed on a slab or brick foundation: these homes do not often get blown away by tornados. They are secured to their foundation.  Add another benefit of homes built away from where they are located, erected quickly, and lived in for years: they can ap-preciate in value!

Why do people buy mobile homes instead of stick-built or manufactured homes?

Because they are cheap. These homes may provide immediate housing, but the long-term benefits do not abound.

Gwinnett County, years ago, limited mobile homes to a few mobile home parks around the county, and seldom in backyards or on adjacent lots. Hurrah for Commissioner Ray Gunnin, now in Hall County, who led this move.

Eliminating mobile homes may never come. But educating people to their drawbacks is a worthy venture.  Perhaps we can also shame those in the mobile home manufacturing business to invest in another business itself, or even in simple manufacturing housing, for the benefit of mankind.