Wednesday, September 16, 2009

ACORN CEO Speaks about Home Defender Teams

Video on site shows Brenda Lewis talking about housing foreclosure...

Stories From The Front Lines Of The Foreclosure Crisis
by Bertha Lewis

Published February 19, 2009 @ 06:48AM PT

(Friends, I'm thrilled to feature this guest post by Bertha Lewis, CEO & Chief Organizer for ACORN, detailing the scope of the foreclosure crisis and ACORN's response. This is part of an on-going series with ACORN here at - Leigh)

Yesterday, President Obama announced a $75 billion program to address the challenge that foreclosures pose to our collective economic future with an orientation towards helping families stay in their homes. But the provisions in the President's proposals won't be implemented for weeks and months. Between now and then there are still 2.3 million families in the country facing foreclosure proceedings. And one new family joins them every 13 seconds. The reality is that everyone is affected by this crisis; the foreclosure epidemic is at the heart of our economic meltdown.

So, today, Thursday Feb 19, ACORN members and community activists in seven cities are formally launching the HomeStaying Campaign, in which families facing eviction for foreclosure will announce plans to stay in their homes, and Home Defender teams will stand in solidarity with those homeowners.

The Home Defender Teams are local neighbors and community activists prepared to mobilize on short notice to peacefully help defend a family's right to stay in their homes until a fair solution to the crisis is put into place by the new Administration. Over the coming weeks, people in 24 cities are going to be taking part in this campaign. The New York Times did a great story yesterday about a Home Defenders training session in New York City over the weekend.

Homeowners who live in neighborhoods with one foreclosure see their housing values drop by 2%. For homeowners in communities hit hard by this crisis it is much worse. The abandoned homes become magnets for crime and vagrants, further destabilizing communities, to say nothing of what happens to the families that have to go through the process of losing their homes.

An interview with Bertha Lewis CEO of ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now)

...Q. With so many mortgage foreclosures, how has ACORN been able to help the dispossessed?

First of all, for ten years ACORN has been saying, "the economic sky is falling," and we were ignored, at best. We sounded the alarm on predatory lending, on sub-prime loans and on rampant deregulation. ACORN has counseled foreclosure victims, promoted legislation for a federal moratorium on the runaway foreclosure trade, and fought to have banks and lending institutions modify loans. We recently created our ACORN Home Defenders Campaign to keep homeowners in their homes long enough for President Obama's program to kick in. We have trained volunteers, across the country, in non-violent action to defend people in their homes and turn back sheriffs who serve evictions. So, yes, we are also in the halls of Congress, in the board rooms and on the streets fighting against these foreclosures. We'll fight for ten more years until home-owning Americans actually have a fair shake.

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