ACORN News: December 28th, 2005

colist at comm-org.wisc.edu colist at comm-org.wisc.edu
Fri Dec 30 16:16:21 CST 2005


From: "ACORN News" <news at acorn.org>


ACORN Wins Halt of Ocwen’s Prepayment Penalty


Ocwen has agreed to stop charging prepayment penalties to hurricane 
survivors.

On December 22nd, ACORN and ACORN Housing called on Ocwen Loan Servicing 
to immediately stop the practice of charging prepayment penalties to 
displaced Hurricane Katrina victims—and won. In a national press release 
and letters to regulators, ACORN pointed out that responsible lenders 
and servicers have routinely waved prepayment penalties for homeowners 
who are paying off the mortgages of their damaged homes through 
insurance settlements or other means. ACORN members demanded that Ocwen 
refund all prepayment penalties and other fees it has received from 
people living or working in the disaster area.

After ACORN released its report, Ocwen agreed to stop charging 
prepayment penalties to Katrina, Rita, and Wilma victims and to refund 
all the prepayment penalties they have already collected in hurricane 
disaster areas. Hurricane survivors who experience similar problems with 
any bank or mortgage company can get help by calling the ACORN Housing 
Evacuee Hotline at 866-471-2272.
Pennsylvania ACORN Wins Emergency Energy Funds


ACORN members in Harrisburg, PA rally to "Keep the Heat On!"

Thanks to actions by ACORN members from around the state of Pennsylvania 
and intense media attention, the Pennsylvania State Legislature voted 
December 15th to move $20 million into an Emergency Energy Assistance 
Fund. This action marks the first time the state has moved any funding 
into the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and 
fulfills a key component of Pennsylvania ACORN’s Fair Utilities for All 
Platform. ACORN members stood with Governor Rendell on Friday as he 
signed the bill into law, celebrating the fact that thousands more 
families will be able to afford reconnections and maintain heat 
services. Pennsylvania ACORN's Fair Utilities Platform also calls for 
policies to get utilities back on after a shut off and an education 
program directed at families who are eligible for assistance.
San Francisco ACORN Calls for Unity Against Violence

Over 100 people took part in a December 19th candlelight vigil 
co-sponsored by San Francisco ACORN and the Catholic Archdiocese, to 
call for a unified effort between faith leaders, the community, and city 
hall to stop the violence in San Francisco. In attendance at the vigil 
were the Mayor’s department heads for Neighborhood Services and Criminal 
Justice; George H. Niederauer, the new Archbishop of San Francisco; 
three pastors; a representative from Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi’s 
office; and seven different media outlets.

ACORN members, pastors and safety experts have been putting pressure on 
Mayor Gavin Newsom's office for improved community policing and youth 
intervention programs. It the last month ACORN has brought over 200 
residents to events including:

* A 50 person march on the Mayor to demand a meeting;
* A 65-person neighbohood protest in Visitacion Valley to demand 
security cameras and more police walking the beat;
* The presentation of a platform of anti-violence demands to the Mayor's 
Deputy Chief of Staff;
* Two neighborhood meetings called by the Mayor.

At the vigil, ACORN members called for a unified safety plan by Martin 
Luther King Jr. Day and strengthened their relationships with other 
community leaders.
Taking Action for Our Communities


Mrs. Evans takes a holiday picture with the clean-out crew who treated 
and decorated her home.

After months of campaigning, ACORN members in Mesa, Arizona and their 
supporters won their fight to place a property tax initiative on the May 
2006 ballot; Mesa ACORN members are now running a grassroots campaign to 
gather support for the property tax, highlighting its value as a stable 
funding source to ensure quality city services.

The ACORN Home Clean-out Demonstration Program is now treating three to 
five houses a day in New Orleans, to protect them from further damage. 
When the clean-out crew came to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Evans last 
week, the Evans' only special request was to save their Christmas 
decorations. After finding the water-damaged decorations, the crew used 
the pictures they recovered to surprise the Evans' by decorating the 
house just as it had been on previous Christmases. Donate to the ACORN 
Hurricane Recovery and Rebuilding Fund

Los Angeles ACORN members joined other community groups in a campaign to 
press the L.A. School board to improve the quality of school cafeteria 
foods. At a School Board meeting, ACORN member Sarah Araiza spoke in 
favor of a plan that requires stricter inspections of food and the 
creation of a committee, including ACORN, to recommend and oversee 
changes to the food program. The School Board then unanimously voted for 
the plan.

On December 22nd, members of the Avondale, Ohio chapter of ACORN met 
with the city's Director of Traffic Engineering to deliver a 
child-penned Christmas list of the reasons ACORN members want their 
children to be safe this holiday season. They left with a signed 
commitment from the director to go doorknocking with ACORN members in 
order to collect the signatures needed to get speed humps on their street.





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