Last week I showcased the plight of Rosa and Juan Rico in Oakland, CA. They had had so many problems working with their lender to get a modification of their loan that they joined with 40 ACORN members and moved themselves into a local branch of the bank in order to force the bank to deal with them.
They are but one of the 2.3 million families that faced foreclosure proceedings in 2008. And they are on the leading edge of a crisis that will claim up to 9 million more by 2013, costing the economy up to $850 billion, if we sit idly by, doing nothing about the root cause of the economic maelstrom that has engulfed our country.
ACORN members like the Ricos have made the commitment to save their homes and rebuild their communities through civil disobedience. Today, I am proud to announce that we are launching a program that gives everyone an opportunity to help keep families in their homes and put pressure on our elected officials to address this root cause of the economic collapse.
Called the ACORN Home Defenders, this program links members of local communities with families who have taken the courageous step of refusing to cooperate with the foreclosure process. It responds to the desperate calls for help found in the grim foreclosure statistics and echoes the sentiments of leaders like Toledo, Ohio-area Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur who recently said, "stay in your homes. If the American people, anybody out there is being foreclosed, don't leave[.]"
The urgency of this crisis demands immediate action. So the Home Defenders program is rolling out in two stages. The first stage will include eight "Tier 1" metro areas: Baltimore, MD; Contra Costa County, CA; Los Angeles, CA; New York, NY; Oakland, CA; Orlando, FL and Tucson, AZ. Initial trainings for people located in these metro areas will take place during the second week in February, with kick-off events scheduled to occur during the 3rd week of the month.
The second stage will include 16 "Tier 2" metro areas: Albany, NY; Boston, MA; Bridgeport, CT; Broward County, FL; Cincinnati, OH; Cleveland, OH; Dallas, TX; Denver, CO; Detroit, MI; Durham, NC; Flint, MI; Minneapolis, MN; Pittsburgh, PA; Raleigh, NC; San Mateo County, CA; and Wilmington, DE. Trainings and kick-off events will occur a few weeks after those in the Tier 1 cities.
New cities are continuing to join this campaign, so if you do not live near any of the metro areas listed above, you can still participate in actions to save the homes of families in your community as they come on-board. For people who live in areas that will not have local organizers helping drive this program, ACORN is creating Home Defender Tool-Kits that help you fight back against the crisis in your neighborhood.
I urge you to take this step in helping local families fight back against the crisis caused by reckless financiers who made billions in bonuses in equity-stripping schemes designed to set homebuyers up for failure.
By showing that communities are refusing to participate in their own decimation, we will force elected officials to finally shift their emphasis from bailing out Wall Street to bailing out Main Street.
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