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Russellville welcomes Carson, Ivey as part of multi-city tour

Russellville’s Clayton Homes received high praise Thursday afternoon as Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey toured the plant as part of HUD’s Driving Affordable Housing Across America multi-city tour.

Carson is traveling the country as he talks to Americans about his plans for eliminating regulatory barriers in order to make owning a house more attainable for all Americans.

“The real focus of the travels has been to meet with local government officials and look at how we can work together to reduce a lot of the regulatory barriers that are driving up the cost of housing,” Carson said.

While visiting the local facility, Carson and Ivey also met with plant workers for a town hall meeting to discuss how these regulation changes will affect their work.

“What we noticed was instead of replacing the old regulations with new ones, the new one was just added on to essentially create an unnecessary maze in the process,” Carson said.

While in the town hall meeting, Carson made two announcements about manufactured home regulations.

The first change will be to remove a regulatory requirement for approval when certain safety features are built with the home.

The next will finalize a rule passed in 2019 to eliminate the requirement of a formaldehyde emission health notice in every manufactured home. This is because of the HUD code, a federal building code that regulates manufactured home construction, being updated to meet current Environmental Protection Agency standards.

“MHI commends Secretary Carson for his leadership in updating the HUD Code, aligning HUD formaldehyde regulations with EPA guidelines and working to alleviate regulatory barriers to manufactured housing at all levels of government,” said Manufactured Housing Institute CEA Lesli Gooch.

David Brewer, plant manager for the Clayton Homes of Russellville, said the Russellville location employs 324 expects to produce 2,250 homes this year.

Those in attendance also included Clayton Homes CEO Kevin Clayton, various HUD representatives, Congressman Robert Aderholt, Russellville Mayor David Grissom, Russellville city and Franklin County officials and representatives from Northwest-Shoals Community College and Bevill State Community College.