ACORN was the nation's largest community organization of low and moderate-income families, working together for social justice and stronger communities.  From 1970 to its end in 2010, ACORN had grown to more than 175,000 member families, organized in 850 neighborhood chapters in 75 cities across the U.S. and in cities in Canada, the Dominican Republic and Peru. 

ACORN's accomplishments included successful campaigns for better housing, schools, neighborhood safety, health care, job conditions, and more.  ACORN members would participate in local meetings and actively work on campaigns, elect leadership from the neighborhood level up, and pay the organization's core expenses through membership dues and grassroots fundraisers.

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Opportunities and Threats (1990-95)


1990-95 follows the building and consolidation of the previous five years. Working at all levels of politics and in every corner of the country, ACORN has parlayed its building efforts into major victories. While some of ACORN's most exciting efforts were in the area of housing, its victories also included health, public safety, education, representation, work and workers' rights and communications concerns. 

The 1990 ACORN convention in Chicago focused on the fast-breaking housing campaign. It featured a squatting demonstration at an RTC house which was reclaimed for use in an ACORN neighborhood. Later, ACORN members, in a spirited action on the U.S. League of Savings Institutions, demanded cooperation from banks about providing loan data on low- and moderate-income communities and compliance with the Community Reinvestment Act. The convention also included the ACORN Elected Official Conference which developed strategies for independent electoral organizations. The hard-hitting actions and long-term strategies would pay off in years to come. 

Insider Opportunities

With a Democratic President and Congress, the national government became more receptive to reforms promoting the political power of low- and moderate-income people. ACORN played an important role in the passage and implementation of the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, or "Motor- Voter," Act. After its passage, ACORN members attended President Clinton's signing ceremony

The law itself was not enough to get the job done, however. ACORN follow- up required new registration laws in Arkansas and Massachusetts and lawsuits against governors who wouldn't comply with the federal law in Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania. By 1994, ACORN participation helped Project Vote register 147,000 voters in Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The potential political power of low- and moderate-income people all over the U.S. got a big boost from ACORN efforts.

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