President Obama formally announced this morning a new $75 billion dollar plan designed to help families prevent foreclosures and stabilize hard-hit communities. The Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan includes a loan modification program, which provides incentives for lenders to modify the loans of borrowers who are at risk of foreclosure because their incomes are not sufficient to make their mortgage payments. It also includes refinance opportunities for borrowers who are current on their mortgage payments but have been unable to refinance because their homes have decreased in value.
ACORN Housing Corp and other non-profit HUD-certified housing counseling agencies will be helping borrowers access these programs. While the program will not officially go into effect until March 4th 2009, homeowners can get started on the process NOW by filling out an application for assistance from ACORN Housing. The application is available online at http://www.acornhousinghelp.org/ or by calling 888-409-3557.
There is no fee to participate in this new program or to receive counseling from ACORN Housing. Please beware of any companies that charge you money to provide housing counseling or help modifying a delinquent loan, especially any that ask for an upfront fee.
So, as we speak, ACORN Housing Inc. is a prominent player in the administration's $75 billion loan modification program. Long term readers should not be surprised about this. I first pointed to this portion of the site in June. I'd like to say that I am ahead of the curve but in this case another adage holds true. That is that a picture is worth a thousand words. What's changed is a set of videos like this one.
With these videos, ACORN Housing Inc has gained national prominence, or better yet infamy. Suddenly, their relationship to all sorts of powerful folks is under a new microscope. The census bureau cut ties with ACORN yesterday. Now, the spotlight is on HUD and it's relationship with ACORN Housing Inc.
Conservatives have cheered the Census Bureau's decision to sever ties with ACORN because it had lost confidence in the group, but the hidden-camera videos that prompted ACORN to fire four workers this week could raise more questions about the federal funding ACORN receives for housing outreach.
ACORN Housing Corporation received $1.6 million to provide housing services to low-income communities in this fiscal year, ending Sept. 30, according to USASpending.gov, a federal government Web site for tracking government grants.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development Grants has given $8.2 million to ACORN in the years between 2003 and 2006, as well as $1.6million to ACORN affiliates.
ACORN receives millions to be a HUD approved counselor for the President's $75 billion loan modification program. It is these very counselors that counseled the supposed prostitute how to buy a home and use it as a brothel. At this point, there's no defense for HUD keeping ACORN on its approved counselor list. ACORN also works with several localities, including New York City, Philadelphia and St. Louis, in the same function.
HUD itself is not without its own problems. Here's a story I did at the beginning of the year.
Yet, it's likely that HUD is the biggest shakedown artist of them all. Of course, again, the nature of the beast says that we'll never know just how much of this they have done, but let's put Kendrick's bio into a new context. Only one accused individual would speak to me. Even they made me swear to keep their case as vague as possible. Here is the only way they would allow me to describe their current situaiton.
One real estate professional told me that he is being targeted by HUD for discrimination. He was never presented with an accuser, nor a specific accusation of discrimination, only "it has been alleged". He not only denied the allegation, but communicated that he had actually done a large portion of their business with those he allegedly discriminating against. Despite this, the entity has been "asked" by HUD for a several thousand dollar cash "donation" because of this "alleged" violation, even before HUD went forward with the full investigation of the COMPLAINT!! Worst of all, the initial correspondence was initiated on stationary by COMPLAINANT Kim Kendrick herself. Because the case continues in litigation, the entity has asked me to keep their name outof the story. This individual did tell me that they received a letter similar to the one Bader received. Furthermore, the complaint only asks for a few thousand dollars, so why is the complaint letter coming from the office of the top deputy at HUD, Kim Kendrick.
HUD is notorious for running a racket in which they shakedown those in real estate. They find any advertisement or other professional correspondence and try and find language that can be construed as "discriminatory". In the example I gave, a realtor started a site called Christian Realty. HUD claimed this discriminated against all other religions and they demanded that he pay a fine. Often, HUD hires out third party groups to scour the ad pages and the internet for anything that can be construed as "discriminatory". Yes, often one of those groups is an ACORN affiliate just like ACORN Housing. As such, right now, HUD is paying ACORN to find unsuspecting individuals, organizations, and companies that can be targeted, accused of discrimination, and ultimately those groups will pay some hefty fine to HUD.
Bill O'Reilly said that in light of the investigation that ACORN can no longer receive any more government funds. Most of us have been saying this long ago. The census has already cut off all ties. HUD needs to follow and the rest of the government right after that.