ACORN News: December 1, 2005

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Sun Dec 4 18:15:05 CST 2005

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Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now
ACORN News: December 1, 2005

FEMA Backs Off Housing Deadline

When FEMA announced that on December 1st it would stop paying bills for 
Katrina victims still living in motels and hotels, members of the ACORN 
Katrina Survivors Association took action. On November 22nd, U.S. 
Representatives Al Green and Shelia Jackson Lee joined featured speaker, 
AFL-CIO Vice President Linda Chavez-Thompson and 100 ACORN members in a 
march to the Houston FEMA office to deliver a letter demanding that the 
policy be rescinded.

Later that same afternoon, FEMA reversed its policy and said that it 
would extend its hotel-housing program by a month in 10 states. The 
members of the ACORN Katrina Survivors Association thank all those who 
emailed and called Congress and the Administration, pressuring FEMA to 
change its policy. Read more.

Houston ACORN members gather to protest FEMA's December 1st deadline.

Ohio ACORN Kicks Off Minimum Wage Campaign

On November 22nd, Ohio ACORN participated in a press conference as part 
of Ohioans for a Fair Minimum Wage to introduce the coalition and 
announce its success gathering signatures on Election Day. Speakers 
included AFL-CIO legislative director Tim Burga, Senator C.J. Prentiss 
of Cleveland, and ACORN member/minimum wage worker Angela Coles.

Ohio ACORN and the coalition seek to place a constitutional amendment on 
the 2006 ballot to raise the minimum wage for workers in Ohio to $6.85 
per hour adjusted annually for inflation. The Ohio minimum wage, which 
is $4.25 per hour, was set back in 1990. Only Ohio and Kansas have state 
minimum wages below the federal level of five dollars and fifteen cents 
per hour. On Election Day, over 500 volunteers staffed polling places 
across the state to bring in almost 50,000 signatures. About 10,000 of 
those were from ACORN members, who were at polling places in six cities. 
The coalition has until August 9, 2006 to gather signatures from 322,899 
registered voters – 10 percent of the votes cast in the last govenor's 
race -- to get the issue on the ballot.
Katrina Survivors Win Stay of Evictions

New Orleans renters win against unfair evictions.

On November 22nd, New Orleans renters won a favorable settlement in a 
suit filed on behalf of ACORN, People's Hurricane Relief Fund, UNITE 
HERE, SEIU, and New Orleans renters by the Advancement Project.

ACORN and the other parties filed suit against FEMA, Clerks of the 
Courts, Justices of the Peace, and Constables in response to the 
evictions that had been proceeding without notice to the tenants. 
Louisiana law requires only that lessees whose whereabouts are unknown 
receive notice by tacking it to the door of the premises; yet most of 
the tenants have been evacuated with no way of knowing that the eviction 
process is underway. Now, Sylvester v. Bossiere, et al. requires FEMA to 
turn over the addresses of tenants facing evictions to the courts in 
Orleans and Jefferson parishes and requires that hearings be scheduled 
no sooner than 45 days after notices are mailed. In the past, FEMA has 
refused all requests to provide the addresses of evacuees, even to the 
State of Louisiana.
Taking Action for Our Communities

On November 17th, members of San Diego ACORN and SEIU rallied together 
at the billing offices of UCSD Medical Hospital to demand charity care 
for the poor. UCSD noted names of members who had medical debt and 
promised to revise their files to reduce or eliminate what they owed to 
the hospital.

New Mexico ACORN held a rally in the rotunda of the State Capitol with 
Speaker of the House Ben Lujan, to announce their plan to move a $7.50 
statewide minimum wage bill. New Mexico ACORN has Senate leadership 
supporting the bill as well. Since the rally, ACORN members have been 
talking to legislators and holding Town Hall meetings to build consensus 
around a high wage before the thirty day legislative session begins in 

D.C. ACORN won a meeting to mark up the "Way to Work" bill on November 
22nd, winning 5 of 6 recommendations including increasing the minimum 
wage from $9.25 to $11.75 to be paid by government and private employers 
who benefit from government tax breaks, incentives, or other assistance.

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