ACORN News, May 20, 2005

colist at comm-org.utoledo.edu colist at comm-org.utoledo.edu
Sat May 21 14:29:51 CDT 2005


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

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


ACORN NEWS
Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now
www.acorn.org
ACORN National Newsletter: May 20, 2005
Table of Contents

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New York Wins 2,250 Affordable Apartments

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ACORN Members Attend First Social Security Town Hall Meeting in DC

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Pennsylvania Demands Wells Fargo Investigation

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ACORN Pushes Hospitals to Open Access to Charity Care

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Houston Rallies for Justice for Janitors

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San Francisco Kicks off "Vital Services" Campaign

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New Jersey Launches Housing Campaign

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Wins for Our Communities
Take Action

 > Defend Social Security!

 > Donate

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Breaking News: New York Wins 2,250 Affordable Apartments

On May 19th, New York ACORN and developer Bruce C. Ratner signed an 
agreement to create 2,250 affordable rental apartments in the $2.5 
billion sports and housing complex planned for the Atlantic Yards in 
Brooklyn, NY. Read the New York Times article.
ACORN Members Attend First Social Security Town Hall Meeting in DC


Senator Reid (NV) speaks with ACORN members

On Friday, April 22nd, about 75 ACORN Members participated in "A Town 
Hall Meeting on African Americans and Social Security." The meeting was 
the first Town Hall Meeting on Social Security in the District of 
Columbia and was sponsored by the United States Senate Democratic Policy 
Committee. It was attended by Senators Harry Reid (NV), Byron Dorgan 
(ND), and Max Baucus (MT), and Representatives Eleanor Holmes Norton 
(DC-Del), Gwendolyn Moore (WI), and Stephanie Tubbs Jones (OH). In sharp 
contrast to the town hall meetings currently being held by the Bush 
Administration, "A Town Hall Meeting on African Americans and Social 
Security" allowed for open participation.

"It'll be years until we're in immediate trouble and this time should be 
spent strengthening, not destroying Social Security," said Prince George 
County's ACORN Board Chair Rev. Gloria Swierenga. "We're going to fight 
Bush's wrecking ball approach. Social Security can be saved, it can be 
strengthened and that's what we're demanding our leaders do." Click here 
to take action to defend Social Security!
Pennsylvania Demands Wells Fargo Investigation


Members march on Harrisburg.

On Tuesday May 3rd, over 100 ACORN members from across Pennsylvania 
gathered at the State Capital in Harrisburg to call for an investigation 
into Wells Fargo’s predatory lending practices. “Wells Fargo is a 
company that feeds on low and moderate income families,” said 
Pennsylvania ACORN President Carol Hemingway. “We want the Attorney 
General to investigate their deceptive practices in Pennsylvania.”

Members publicly delivered a stack of consumer complaints against Wells 
Fargo’s abusive lending practices to Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom 
Corbett, along with a letter demanding he open an investigation into the 
company’s deceptive and abusive lending practices. He agreed to meet 
with Pennsylvania ACORN within a week to discuss the complaints. 
Following the action, members went to the Capitol Building to meet with 
key elected officials to discuss anti-predatory lending legislation 
introduced by Sen. Jane Orie of Pittsburgh.
ACORN Pushes Hospitals to Open Access to Charity Care

On Thursday May 12, 2005 ACORN and the Access Project released the 
results of local and national studies that show hospitals are reluctant 
to disclose their policies for providing free and reduced cost care, 
known as charity care. On the same day members shared their painful 
stories of sky-high hospital bills in actions all over the country.

A year and a half ago, Congress looked into hospital billing of 
uninsured people. The American Hospital Association (AHA) issued 
guidelines saying that hospitals should have a clear charity care policy 
and make that policy known. Despite this scrutiny, ACORN and the Access 
Project have found that it is still almost impossible to find out from 
hospitals what their charity care policies are. ACORN members called 
over 100 hospitals and could not get information about discounted care. 
ACORN offices around the country will be working on a campaign to hold 
hospitals accountable for providing charity care and stopping their 
abusive collection practices. Do you have high hospital bills? Click here.
Houston Rallies for Justice for Janitors

On April 30th ACORN joined Justice for Janitors at a convention and 
march, kicking off their campaign to win union representation for 
janitors in Houston. The 1200 person march, including SEIU and other 
labor unions, 300 ACORN members, and other community allies, was the 
largest event of its kind held within Houston. For the last year, clergy 
and community leaders throughout Houston have urged support for the 
janitors’ effort to form a union and their struggle for better jobs and 
have invited janitors and SEIU representatives to speak to their 
membership about the workers’ struggle for better jobs and access to 
affordable health care.



ACORN members came out in force for Justice for Janitors.

San Francisco Kicks off "Vital Services" Campaign


San Francisco ACORN won a commitment to keep the Oceanview Rec Center open.

On Saturday, May 7th, over 130 ACORN members in San Francisco held a 
public health organizing meeting where city officials, including the 
Health Commissioner and Deputy Director of Public Health, signed on to 
support the “Campaign to Protect our Vital Services.” At the meeting 
residents mapped out a sustained campaign to stop cuts and closures to 
health and recreation centers and the San Francisco General Hospital.

Four days later, a group of ACORN members marched on the Mayor's Budget 
Office with television, radio, and newspaper reporters following, to 
present the "Protect Vital Services" agenda. They then confronted a City 
Supervisor who hadn't attended the Saturday meeting and convinced her to 
sign the no-cuts demand. On Tuesday, May 16th, the campaign celebrated 
another win. With 100 ACORN members present, the Parks Manager signed a 
pledge to keep the Oceanview Recreation Center open.

San Francisco ACORN plans to pressure the Mayor's office to take the 
health closures off the table for the June 1st budget due date and 
organize in targeted districts to pressure the Board of Supervisors for 
continued Vital Services protections.
New Jersey Launches Housing Campaign


ACORN Members at a rally in Perth Amboy, NJ.

ACORN members in New Jersey have launched city and state-level campaigns 
to make sure future development projects include housing affordable to 
working families.

In Paterson, Jersey City and Perth Amboy, NJ ACORN is working to pass 
“inclusionary zoning” ordinances, which require developers to set aside 
a certain percentage of new units in residential projects for low- and 
moderate-income residents. On May 10th, ACORN members met with Paterson 
Councilman Kenneth Morris and won his support for an inclusionary zoning 
proposal. Meanwhile, a group of ACORN members spoke at the state capitol 
in Trenton with allies from the Housing and Community Development 
Network of New Jersey.

"I live paycheck to paycheck," Denise Thomas said. "I'm one of the 65 
percent of residents in Paterson that cannot afford the rent at the 
market rate." ACORN members said they will push candidates for governor 
to make changes at the state level to encourage balanced development in 
gentrifying cities.
Wins for Our Communities


Earnestine Waddle and her new home.

ACORN Member Earnestine Waddle got a new home as a result of Houston 
ACORN’s campaign to restore the funding to the city’s Emergency Home 
Repair Program.

On April 16th over 60 New Orleans ACORN members held a community meeting 
with city and state officials, to demand improvements in neighborhood 
safety and infrastructure. Three water main leaks have already been 
repaired, some of which had created holes in the street as large as 6 feet.

On April 28th Columbus ACORN members successfully negotiated with the 
OhioHealth hospital chain to erase members’ excessive medical bills. 
Some members received tens of thousands of dollars in refunds and 
forgiven bills.

After a series of community meetings with Memphis Lights, Gas & Water, 
Memphis ACORN is moving closer to an agreement with the CEO to extend 
moratoriums on shut-offs.

On May 5th, over 45 members and neighbors of Los Angeles ACORN's Watts 
chapter held a march and rally for safer streets. As a result they will 
see three new stop signs.



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