ACORN news

colist-admin at colist-admin at
Wed Jun 13 13:10:33 CDT 2001

[ed:  this is one of the regular updates on ACORN organizing activities.]

From: "David Swanson" <acornnews at>

Issue 8, June 12, 2001

1. St Louis Demands Investigation of Household Finance
2. Unions Move to Investigate Household
3. ACORN Housing and Bank of America Deliver $1 Billion
4. Baltimore Saves Libraries, Jobs
5. Suffolk County, NY, Passes Living Wage
6. New York Living Wage Campaign Builds Fast
7. ACORN Works to Boost National Minimum Wage
8. San Diego Delivers Shutoff Notice to President Bush
9. DC Combats Lead Poisoning
10. Bronx Demands School Improvements

held a town meeting and publicly presented the state Division of Finance and
the state Attorney General with seven complaints of predatory lending
practices against Household Finance.  A dozen victims of Household attended
the meeting and told their stories.  When the formal complaints were handed
to the representatives of the two state agencies, ACORN demanded that both
offices aggressively investigate Household.  For more information, contact
Craig Robbins at MoAcorn at or (314) 531-7023.

Labor unions are joining ACORN's campaign to halt Household Finance's
predatory lending.  SEIU Local 100 in Little Rock, the New Orleans CLC, and
the SEIU executive Board have joined other unions in requesting that the
AFL-CIO investigate Household.  AFSCME District Council 47 in Philadelphia
has urged that city's pension board to divest from Household.  Meanwhile,
Household is trying to pass a state bill in Pennsylvania that would block
the ordinance against predatory lending that was passed in April by a
unanimous vote in the Philadelphia City Council, and passed in response to
enormous public pressure led by ACORN.  For more information, contact Lisa
Donner at AcornCampaign at or (718) 246-7900.

partnership of ACORN Housing Corporation and Bank of America delivered $1
billion in fair and affordable mortgage lending to low-income and minority
borrowers.  This is possibly the highest volume community partnership in the
history of the Community Reinvestment Act.  AHC provides low- and
moderate-income borrowers with one-on-one pre-purchase loan counseling and
assistance in 27 cities.  AHC and its bank partners have put over 40,000
families into homes of their own.  For more information, contact Bruce
Dorpalen at ahclcdirect at or (215) 765-0048.

4. BALTIMORE SAVES LIBRARIES, JOBS - An ACORN-labor coalition has saved
libraries in low-income Baltimore neighborhoods from closing and halted
plans to cut City custodial and security jobs.  On June 5, ACORN, AFSCME
(American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees) and the City
Union of Baltimore packed a church with 750 people to protest the mayor's
plans to cut basic services.  The City almost immediately announced a change
in policy.  Having proposed to close as many as 10 libraries, the City
postponed these closings for the summer.  ACORN plans to make sure this
postponement becomes permanent.  Having planned to cut 587 jobs, the City
reduced this number to 200.  ACORN plans to make sure the number is changed
to zero.  For more information, contact Mitch Klein at MdAcorn at or
(410) 752-2228.

5. SUFFOLK COUNTY PASSES LIVING WAGE - On June 5, Suffolk County, NY, became
the 63rd locality in the country to pass a living wage law.  The law,
advocated by ACORN, the Working Families Party, and other groups, passed
17-to-1 in a Republican-majority legislature.  It requires that companies
receiving contracts, tax abatements, loans, or grants from the county pay
their workers at least $9 an hour with health benefits or $10.25 without -
amounts that will increase with the cost of living.  About 300 workers will
be immediately affected, some of whom are currently paid close to the
federal minimum wage of $5.15 with no benefits and cannot afford child care
or health care.  For more information, contact Jen Kern at ACORN's Living
Wage Resource Center at NatAcornCam at or (202) 547-2500.

6. NY LIVING WAGE BUILDS - Following its kickoff event on May 24, the New
York Living Wage Coalition, which includes ACORN, the Working Families
Party, and SEIU locals (Service Employees International Union), recently
held a breakfast attended by a third of the current City Council Members.
These members pledged their support for a bill that would cover about
100,000 workers, including 45,000 in homecare, 15,000 in retail with
companies that receive tax abatements, and 15,000 in child care.  The bill
raises wages to $10 per hour with health insurance or $12.50 without.  Most
of the employers that would be effected are nonprofits, and many of them are
supporting the bill.  For more information, contact Jon Kest at
NYacorn at or (718) 246-7900.

7. BOOSTING MINIMUM WAGE - ACORN members are lobbying their senators to
support a Democratic bill to raise the national minimum wage from $5.15 to
$6.65 by 2003, and to reject proposals to attach corporate welfare to the
bill in the form of tax breaks, rollbacks in the Fair Labor Standards Act
guarantees of overtime pay, freezes in the base wage for tipped employees,
and permission for states to "opt-out" of future minimum-wage increases.
ACORN is targeting senators in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Florida, Arkansas,
Louisiana, Rhode Island, and Oregon.  This Wednesday, ACORN leaders will
join the National Campaign for Jobs and Income Support for a press
conference near the U.S. Capitol Steps.  Also taking part will be: Richard
Trumka, secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO; Robert W. Edgar, National
Council of Churches; and Rabbi David Saperstein, Religious Action Center of
Reform Judaism.  For more information, contact Jen Kern at
NatAcornCam at or (212) 547-2500.

8. SAN DIEGO SHUTS OFF SHRUB - On May 29, President Bush visited San Diego.
ACORN members, many of whom have received shutoff notices because they
cannot afford their utility bills, delivered a giant shutoff notice to Bush,
who has received huge contributions from energy suppliers and allowed those
companies to profit at the expense of consumers.  The shutoff notification
played on every television news channel in San Diego.  Bush and the
Republican Party have received roughly $13 million since 1999 from the
energy industry -- a fraction of what energy suppliers collected in inflated
bills.  For more information, contact Clare Crawford at CaAcornSD at
or (619) 235-9593.

9. DC COMBATS LEAD POISONING - On June 9, DC ACORN, in collaboration with
the DC Department of Health and other organizations, gave free lead
screenings to dozens of children and called attention to the problem of lead
poisoning in the District.  City Council Member Jim Graham spoke in support
of his ACORN-backed bill that would require lead-paint abatement every time
a house or apartment changes hands and allow tenants to withhold rent if
this condition is not satisfied.  For more information, contact Will Ward at
DCacorn at or (202) 547-2500.

10. BRONX DEMANDS SCHOOL IMPROVEMENTS - Bronx ACORN members are pushing for
a Fall 2001 start-up of a South Bronx School Improvement Zone, an ACORN and
United Federation of Teachers sponsored plan to pump resources into some of
the area's lowest-performing schools.  The project would include increased
training for teachers, parent organizing, and the introduction of reading
programs, including Success for All, to assist struggling students.  Many of
New York City's worst schools are concentrated in Districts 7, 9, and 12.
ACORN wants programs that are succeeding in other schools brought to these.
On May 22nd more than 100 ACORN members rallied with Bronx Board of Ed.
Representative Dr. Sandra Lerner. She committed to working with ACORN and
the Chancellor toward implementation in the fall.  Parents who got involved
in ACORN through the fight against Edison have now also joined the fight for
a South Bronx School Improvement Zone.  For more information, contact Amy
Cohen at NYacornBrx at or (718) 292-0070.

ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, is the
nation's largest community organization of low- and moderate-income
families, with over 100,000 member families organized into 500 neighborhood
chapters in 40 cities across the country. Since 1970 ACORN has taken action
and won victories on issues of concern to our members. Our priorities
include: better housing for first time homebuyers and tenants, living wages
for low-wage workers, more investment in our communities from banks and
governments, and better public schools. We achieve these goals by building
community organizations that have the power to win changes -- through direct
action, negotiation, legislation, and voter participation.

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David Swanson, communications coordinator
ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now
739 8th Street SE
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 547-2500 p
(202) 546-2483 f
acornnews at

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