The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, ACORN, is a grassroots community organization of low and moderate income people with the goal of organizing a majority constituency throughout the United States. The group binds together low and moderate income people in order to give them a voice on relevant issues within their communities. They take on issues involving discrimination, affordable housing, quality education, and better public services. ACORN allows for the people in low and moderate income communities to act as leaders and spokespeople for issues that are pressing in their own communities.
ACORN was founded in 1970 by Wade Rathke and Gary Delgado and since has been fighting for social and economic justice for low income communities throughout the United States. They have been able to make a difference in thousands of issues concerning its members through negotiations, legislative advocacy and voter participation. ACORN has 1200 local neighborhood chapters in 40 states which allow neighbors to come together and work for stronger, better communities. In short their goal is to allow people who have been silenced in the democratic system to bind together and become powerful players.
The ACORN offices work on many
different campaigns to help better communities. They have worked to
raise the minimum wage, stop predatory financial practices enacted by
mortgage lenders, develop affordable housing, and increase quality of
public schools. According to ACORN’S website, their victories have won
approximately $15 billion in monetary benefit to its members in the last
10 years alone.
ACORN, in regards to
affordable housing, helps to investigate complaints against predatory
lending practices, organizes against foreclosure rescue scams, and
steers borrowers toward loan counseling. In 2003, ACORN was able to
create a $72 million foreclosure avoidance program to give relief to
household borrowers who risked losing their homes.
ACORN also works to provide
affordable housing by urging redevelopment, rehabilitation, and pushing
for enforcement of affordable housing requirements for developers.
ACORN has recently been the topic of public
controversy in regards to embezzlement, management fights, and political
alignments. ACORN has traditionally been a leftist organization, siding
with the Democratic Party. Congress has recently decided to defund ACORN
due to “allegations of fraud, videos of ACORN employees willfully
assisting in tax evasion, child prostitution, and even obtaining federal
fire protection grants in Louisiana in which they did not meet the
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