Thursday, September 24, 2009

Your Black News: ACORN mounts legal challenge

 Marshell Warren, 13, uses a computer in the youth center run by Millicent Hill in Hill?s home in the Watts section of Los Angeles. ACORN helped Hill avoid being kicked out of her home. 

LOS ANGELES — Millicent Hill says God put her in her stucco home on East 92nd Street, but she believes she would have lost the house without ACORN.

Hill's home is a center of after-school activity for kids in the Watts neighborhood in gritty South-Central Los Angeles. Children in her church-supported program can avoid the street, get a snack, work on a computer or get a hug.

LAST WEEK: House votes to defund ACORN

When "Mama" Hill, as she's known, faced foreclosure, ACORN members showed up at a public auction to protest, prompting the lender to cancel the sale. ACORN then found a buyer who rents it back to Hill. "I wouldn't be here without ACORN, and all of the kids would have to go somewhere else," says Hill, 69. "And they've got nowhere else to go."

Here and in other states, ACORN focuses on helping people with housing issues, supporting changes to health care and immigration policies, and registering voters.

ACORN — which has received about $53 million in federal funds since 1994 — has long been a target of conservatives because of its ties to Democrats. Attacks increased after its aggressive voter-registration and get-out-the-vote efforts for President Obama last year. Now, videos showing ACORN workers giving advice to conservative activists posing as a pimp and a prostitute are raising questions about its tactics and finances — and whether it can survive.

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