For immediate release – October 16, 2013

Thousands of Manufactured Homeowners Across the Country Draw Attention To Attacks On Their Retirement and Economic Security

Homeowners Call Upon Sam Zell, Chairman of Equity Lifestyle Properties, Inc. (ELS), to Stop Economically Ravaging Their Personal Savings and Economic Security

Contact: Kevin Borden, Center for Community Change (202) 339-9356

Washington, DC –  This week, manufactured home owners across the country are posting “For Sale: Our Economic and Retirement Security” signs on their homes.   The signs are designed to draw attention to the devastating impacts that ELS’ exorbitant rent increases and lack of attention to needed capital improvements have had on thousands of manufactured homeowners’ economic and retirement security.     Events across the country are being held to coincide with the Manufactured Housing Institute’s Fall Leadership Forum that is taking place in Chicago from October 16th to 18th.  Sam Zell, Chairman of ELS, is the keynote speaker.    Homeowners are posting pictures of those events and For Sale: Our Economic/Retirement Security at the following site: http://mhaction.tumblr.com/

ELS is the nation’s largest corporate owner of manufactured housing communities.  ELS owns 380 manufactured housing communities (defined as land-lease communities) in 32 states.  ELS markets to retirees, and many homeowners in its developments are seniors living on fixed incomes.  ELS has come under scrutiny for undermining the retirement security of thousands of those seniors by drastically increasing rents, causing economic eviction, and being insensitive to the needs of the mostly elderly homeowners living in ELS-owned communities.

“I find it very troubling that Sam Zell is speaking at a manufactured housing forum entitled ‘Building a Vision For Our Future,” stated Bobbie Hemmerich, an ELS homeowner from Lewes, DE.   “It appears to me that his vision is to force seniors and hard working families out of homes that they paid for while allowing our communities to deteriorate.  That’s not a vision that is acceptable to us.  A number of homeowners in our community have practically given their homes away due to poor business practices on the part of ELS.”

At MHI’s Fall Leadership Forum, community owners, like ELS, will be discussing a wide range of topics that include discussions on the future of the manufactured housing industry to exploring actionable steps that community owners can take to improve customer satisfaction.

“Living in Florida, it’s clear to me that some of the larger, corporate owners are not doing right by their customers, especially Sam Zell,” said Al Lynch, who lives in a community owned and operated by American Land Lease.   “Our hope is that the large community owners don’t take a page out of ELS’ business model which  seems intent on robbing seniors of a secure retirement.  We need to show our support that all manufactured home owners are treated with dignity and respect.”

In response to ELS’ business practices and Sam Zell’s political contribution, ELS homeowners, supported by the Center for Community Change and the National Manufactured Home Owners Association, have launched a national campaign targeting ELS and Zell (you can learn more at http://mhaction.mstudio.com.).

The Center for Community Change (CCC) and the National Manufactured Home Owners Association (NMHOA) have called on ELS to re-evaluate its business model and management practices.    CCC and NMHOA believe that a sensible alternative model for ELS is to put in place long-term lease agreements with fair and balanced rent increases and capital improvement processes.  Additionally, ELS would be able to engender a higher level of customer loyalty by pushing for policies that protect and strengthen our nation’s Social Security and Medicare systems.

For more information go to http://mhaction.mstudio.com or contact Kevin Borden  to set up interviews with ELS homeowners who are leading the campaign.

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Founded in 1968, the Center for Community Change is one of the longest-standing champions for low-income people and communities of color. CCC seeks to confront the vital issues of today and build the social movements of tomorrow. For more information go to www.communitychange.org.

For decades, the National Manufactured Home Owners Association has represented seniors, veterans and the hundreds of thousands of Americans who live in manufactured housing communities. For more information go to www.nmhoa.org.