ACORN Housing Sprouts New Identity

When the community organizing group ACORN fell to a notorious video sting last year by conservative activists posing as a "pimp" and a "ho," some of the biggest losers were thousands of homeowners facing foreclosure. Fortunately for them, ACORN's affiliated housing organization has returned under a new identity, as the Affordable Housing Centers of America.

For the last 25 years, ACORN Housing Corporation, a spinoff from the main group, had been an important advocate for low-income homeowners. It ran mortgage borrower counseling services out of 33 offices from coast to coast, and homeowners benefited from the group's affiliation with ACORN, which successfully fought predatory lenders like Ameriquest when federal regulators refused to.

Then Congress cut ACORN off – illegally, judges have since found. Gone were $17.2 million in federal foreclosure counseling and legal assistance grants for ACORN Housing. Until then, it had been one of the biggest homeowner counseling agencies in the nation, serving nearly 22,000 borrowers last year, most of them minorities with modest incomes.