Initially formed in 1970, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) was an integral player in driving reform in neighborhoods across the United States. In the late 1980s, ACORN played a substantial role in advocating for neighborhoods that had been redlined, and voiced the concerns of residents who had suffered from a lack of access to capital and neighborhood resources because of redlining.
By 1985, operating in offices in Northern Philadelphia, ACORN began negotiating with the local Continental Bank to increase the housing loans approved for previously redlined neighborhoods. By 1986, ACORN had successfully negotiated an agreement to provide the neighborhoods millions in housing loans.
Later, in 1989, ACORN again attempted to sway a bank, Provident National, to increase the amount of loans allotted to residents of distressed neighborhoods. ACORN staged protests at a Provident National Bank branch in Center City Philadelphia to bring attention to the bank’s decreased rates of loan allotments to redlined neighborhoods with large black populations. Although an agreement was never reached or signed between ACORN and Provident National Bank, the protesting efforts were not in vain. Provident National Bank ultimately offered to make millions of dollars in new loans to neighborhoods in need.
The ACORN organization continued its involvement in social justice issues in Philadelphia in the 1990s. In 1996, ACORN and Prudential Insurance made a deal that provided homeowners in previously redlined neighborhoods with insurance coverage.