ACORN, which is hosting this event, is a predatory organization which seeks to capitalize on the misery of suffering tenants and homeless people in the midst of a severe housing shortage in this city. The shortage of housing is the problem - not “slumlords” per se. If we had enough housing units, then renters could pick and choose between housing opportunities. The good landlords would find tenants - the “slumlords” would be driven out of business.

During the last ten years, the city of Minneapolis has torn down thousands of housing units. Many were structurally sound. The buildings became linked to crime and “neighbors” demanded that something be done about the problem. So city inspectors and CCP/SAFE officers harassed the property owner or condemned the building and it was torn down.

At the time, city officials did not know that there would be a housing crisis. But now they do. There can be no excuse for further demolitions which aggravate the housing crisis. Instead, we need to encourage people to invest in rental housing and to make improvements to buildings already owned.

A group of landlords belonging to Minneapolis Property Rights Action Committee has correctly identified the problem as a lack of housing supply. It twice picketed the sites of structually sound houses which the city was about to demolish. ACORN was invited to join this protest against demolishing affordable housing. ACORN chose to ignore the invitation. They apparently weren’t interested in saving houses. They had another agenda. What might that be?

Knowledgeable sources tell us that ACORN specializes in shaking down large financial institutions and getting money out of them presumably to have them go away. They did this to Ameriquist, for example. TCF gave ACORN some money to “train” first-time homeowners. After people went through this “course”, they were referred to a flipper who sold them houses at inflated prices.

More recently, ACORN organized a “slumlord” tour. The first apartment on this tour was owned by one of the most reputable landlords in town. The TV reporters couldn’t find anyone in the building who would say anything bad about him. Instead, several testified on camera about how well the building was maintained.

ACORN also targeted a building owned by a small Asian woman who was having trouble with drug users and dealers. At her request, the police did a raid on the apartment and found a large quantity of drugs. Tenants told her that some others in the building were also involved in drug use. These tenants went to ACORN to complain. So ACORN put her on the “slumlord tour” and got Legal Aid to help them get free rent. There were mutters about “gooks” on ACORN’s tour bus and the usual chants: “Hey ho, slumlords got to go.”

Remember, poverty pimps don’t provide housing - don’t punish people who do.

(Note: This is a leaflet distributed at an ACORN event.)

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