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Community Activist Group ACORN Closes Its Doors

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (""ACORN"":http://www.acorn.org) said Monday that it is closing down its operations. The organization's board, over the weekend, decided to dismantle the 40-year old grassroots activist group.

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According to a statement from the association, all remaining ACORN state affiliates and field offices will be closed by April 1, and it is developing a plan to resolve all outstanding debts and obligations. However, ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis told National Public Radio Tuesday that some state chapters have chosen to go their own way, prompting speculation that the organization isn't gone for good and may eventually pick up under a new name.

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ACORN's exit comes after Congress cut off the organization's federal funding and it began to experience trouble raising funds and donations, following a widely publicized scandal involving members posing as pimps and prostitutes, hidden cameras, and questionable ""advocacy.""

The organization has been accused of voter fraud, embezzlement, and advising citizens to skirt tax laws. While criminal investigations were launched in several instances, ACORN was never convicted of any wrongdoing. The organization told _Reuters_ that it has been the target of a ""series of well-orchestrated, relentless, well-funded right wing attacks.""

One of the organization's arms, known as ACORN Housing provides counseling to low-income homeowners and has been working with lenders to help obtain loan modifications for hundreds of thousands of struggling borrowers. According to officials, ACORN Housing will continue to operate, but under a new name â€" Affordable Housing Centers of America.

In a ""farewell statement"":http://www.acorn.org posted on its Web site, ACORN said, ""[Our] members have a great deal to be proud of â€" from promoting to homeownership to helping rebuild New Orleans, from raising wages to winning safer streets, from training community leaders to promoting voter participating â€" ACORN members have worked hard to create stronger to communities, a more inclusive democracy, and a more just nation.""

About Author: Carrie Bay

Carrie Bay is a freelance writer for DS News and its sister publication MReport. She served as online editor for DSNews.com from 2008 through 2011. Prior to joining DS News and the Five Star organization, she managed public relations, marketing, and media relations initiatives for several B2B companies in the financial services, technology, and telecommunications industries. She also wrote for retail and nonprofit organizations upon graduating from Texas A&M University with degrees in journalism and English.
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