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Republicans against funding Acorn

Marketplace Staff Jun 12, 2009
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Bill Radke: For help with the foreclosure crisis, several big-city American mayors have turned to the nonprofit group Acorn. Acorn has been working with tenants in low-income communities for years. They’ve also made a few Republican enemies. Joel Rose reports.


Joel Rose: When Deserie Jones-Wright fell behind on her mortgage payments last year, she says she tried negotiating with her lender.

Deserie Jones-Wright: It didn’t go well at all. They don’t really want to talk to you. It’s a run-around.

Then a representative from the Philadelphia chapter of Acorn knocked on her door. That’s how Jones-Wright heard about a new city program Acorn helped develop. The program requires lenders and borrowers to sit down with a mediator and re-negotiate distressed loans.

So far, city officials say the program has helped 1,200 people stay in their homes — including Jones-Wright. And other cities are taking note. Yesterday, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he’d like to see a similar approach:

Michael Bloomberg: Settlement conference should be available, we think, to all owners of single family dwellings, and foreclosures can’t proceed until such conferences are concluded.

Bloomberg went on to praise the work of Acorn. Some Republicans in Congress have tried to block the organization from getting federal funds because of allegations of voter fraud stemming from last year’s presidential election.

I’m Joel Rose for Marketplace.

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