Organizers for ACORN held a press conference on the steps of the Osceola County Courthouse in Kissimmee, Florida on Tuesday, April 28 at 1:00 PM to introduce a mediation program designed to help homeowners under threat of foreclosure stay in their homes. ACORN members Anne Busby and Robert Benech, members of the Foreclosure Fighters Committee, both told of their experiences with Countrywide, their lender, and of their efforts to fend off their own foreclosures. The purpose of this press conference was to introduce a mandatory mortgage mediation program to Osceola County through Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Belvin Perry's Administrative Order 2009-02. (Use the administrative order number here to find the six page PDF that outlines the mandatory process in Orange County)
According to ACORN, Osceola County is part of the Ninth Circuit and is affected by Judge Perry's order, however no action has taken place to implement the order. Despite attempts, ACORN has not been able to meet with Judge R. James Stoker, who is responsible for Osceola County.
ACORN, with the help of US Congressman Alan Grayson and State Representative Scott Randolph convinced Judge Perry to initiate the order requiring mandatory mortgage mediation on February 25, 2009. The order only affects Orange County.
The ACORN press conference touted the success of similar mandatory mediation programs, which are discussed in ACORN's Road to Recovery report. The Philadelphia program has a success rate of 78% according to the report.
After the press conference, the event organizer, Meredith Adrion, answered several questions dealing with ACORN's involvement in Bankruptcy legislation, "The failure of the congress to pass this bill will result in 100,000 families losing their homes in the State of Florida alone." Adrion emphasized the importance of the mediation programs in the face of the congressional failure. When questioned about ACORN's overall activities she stated that health care reform, affordable housing, restoration of rights for convicted felons, citizenship classes and immigration reform were all areas that ACORN is involved in as well as the foreclosure crisis.
Similar press conferences were held yesterday in Pittsburgh, PA; Cincinnati, OH; Hartford, CT; Bridgeport, CT; Prince Georges County, MD; and Schenectady, NY.