People's Action

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National People's Action is a low-income housing activist organization largely responsible for pushing the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) of 1977. National People's Action was founded in 1972 by Gale Cincotta and Shel Trapp.

People’s Action Institute (501c3) is associated with People's Action. People’s Action Institute’s "long-term goal is to reverse the trajectory of growing economic inequality by building an economy that expands opportunity for low-income families, with an emphasis on racial and gender equity."[1]

National People's Action(501c4) was renamed to People's Action in 2016. According to Joelle Fishman of Communist Party USA, "collaborates" with Indivisible, Working Families and People's Action.[2]

Open Letter to the Biden Campaign on “Unprepared”

Open Letter to the Biden Campaign on “Unprepared” was released May 12 2020.

":Our demands: The country’s greatest priority at this moment is to beat the COVID-19 crisis, and this requires embracing principles of antiracist solidarity and international cooperation. The Biden campaign can and should beat Trump and the GOP with a message centered on our real public health needs and the progressive values that are required to meet those needs. The “Unprepared” ad must be taken down, and all campaign messaging that fuels anti-Asian racism and China-bashing must end. We refuse to allow the Biden campaign to sacrifice our dignity in the name of political expediency."

Signatories included People's Action

Board of Directors

As of February 7, 2018, the Board of Directors[3] was listed as follows:

People's Action

Executive Committee

People's Action Institute

Executive Committee

Endorsing Bernie Sanders

December 2019 Bernie Sanders has won the endorsement of People's Action, a coalition of 40 progressive groups that said it represents more than 1 million members in key early-voting states and others across the country.

The nod is a triumph for the Vermont senator in the competition with Elizabeth Warren to become the leading left-wing candidate in the presidential primary.

“We were really struck by the fact that for the last few decades, this guy has been able to see through the haze of a neoliberal worldview that has affected so many parts of American life,” said George Goehl, national director of People's Action. “We also think he’s uniquely positioned to win. He’s already stitched together a multiracial, urban, rural, multigenerational campaign.”

Sanders received nearly 74 percent of the ballots cast by delegates from the group’s affiliates, according to People's Action. Goehl said there was a period in the primary when it seemed the vote “might be closer.” Sanders' rollout of his housing plan, which calls for building almost 10 million affordable housing units as well as national rent control, was a turning point, Goehl said.

The nod from People's Action is the latest in a string of progressive endorsements nabbed by Sanders in recent months. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) backed him in October, giving a jolt of excitement to his campaign after he had been eclipsed in the national polls by Warren and suffered a heart attack.

Sanders has since leapfrogged Warren and is now in second place behind Joe Biden,. He also recently bested her in scoring an endorsement from the Center for Popular Democracy, a left-wing group that counts 600,000 members.

Analilia Mejia, Sanders’ national political director, said the backing of the two coalitions sends a message by progressives.

"Combined, it’s over 1.5 million members,” she said. “It gives you a sense of the popularity of our candidate, especially with those who are doing the work.”

The Sanders team worked for months to court People's Action: Sanders met and spoke with the group’s affiliates, and his team convened conference calls with them while putting out policy proposals. Omar and Tlaib also contacted the organization’s leaders in their home states to vouch for the presidential candidate, according to a Sanders aide.

Omar said an event hosted by one of the group’s affiliates helped persuade her to endorse Sanders: “It was at the Iowa People's Action presidential forum in September where I saw the power of their grassroots movement. And it was clear then that Bernie was the candidate to take on Trump and take back the White House."

People’s Action has a presence in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and Super Tuesday states, including in rural areas. In addition to Sanders and Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro and Kamala Harris also responded to the group’s questionnaire.

People's Action is one of the great grassroots organizations in this country,” said Sanders in a video that will be released after the endorsement is announced. “I am just so proud and excited to have the endorsement of People's Action because they understand what I understand: That at the end of the day, the only way we make real change in this country is through grassroots activism.”[4]

Opposition to HR 10

A letter opposing HR 10, written by Allen J. Fishbein and endorsed by hundreds of organizations, was submitted to the Senate in September 1998. Here is an excerpt:

"HR 10 undermines the effectiveness of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), the 1977 law that has served as the primary tool for directing much needed small business, small farm, and affordable housing credit into previously underserved urban and rural communities. The bill passed by the Committee makes it easier for banks to shift their assets to insurance, securities, and other affiliates not covered by the CRA. As a result, banks and thrifts will have fewer

resources to lend to underserved geographies."[5]


Opposition to Regulatory Relief

In May, 1996, Allen J. Fishbein wrote an article[6] about opposition to a regulatory relief bill. Here is an excerpt:

"Twelve national community reinvestment and housing development groups have written to House Banking Committee Chair Jim Leach [R-IA], detailing the various provisions of his expanded bank powers bill, HR 2520, that “would do real damage to the nation’s underserved urban and rural areas.”
"HR 2520 would roll back the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and other consumer disclosures. It would also allow parent companies of insured banks to own uninsured banks, thereby escaping CRA requirements by shifting all their deposit accounts above $100,000 to their uninsured affiliate.
"Copies of the letter were sent to all House Banking Committee members. Many Committee Democrats have criticized Mr. Leach for excluding them over the past year as he negotiated with industry lobbyists for a compromise expanded bank powers bill. The Democrats picked up on a similar theme used by the national organizations in their letter.
"The co-signers of the letter were as follows: ACORN, Center for Community Change, Enterprise Foundation, Greenlining Institute, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, McAuley Institute, National Council of La Raza, National Community Reinvestment Coalition, National Neighborhood Coalition, National People’s Action, NETWORK: A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, and Organization for New Equality.
"In addition, many of these same organizations recently wrote to Banking Committee Democrats, urging them “to oppose the Chairman’s divide and conquer strategy and to demand a clear and specific section by section understanding of the provisions that the Committee will report to the floor on CRA and CRA-related provisions . . .The vote on the Leach ploy is likely to be the ultimate test of Members’ support for CRA and the related issues.”"

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

In March, 1995, Allen J. Fishbein wrote an article[7] about the advantages Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have over the private sector, considering that they are exempt from regular banking rules. The article also mentions that Fannie and Freddie have to lend to poor people. Here is an excerpt:

"On February 16, 1995, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published an extensive set of proposed regulations revising the affordable housing performance goals for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The challenge for HUD, which oversees these two government sponsored enterprises (GSEs), was to set targets that were both realistic and appropriate, given the sheer size of the GSEs, their mission, and how they operate. HUD is now seeking comments from the public and especially from affected communities on the appropriateness of the goals.
"An understanding of the new performance measures depends, in part, upon an understanding of how the GSEs operate and the nature of the special public benefits they receive and their corresponding statutory requirements. The GSEs are part-private, part-public corporations. As with any financial institution, the GSEs make their profits by lending at higher rates than they pay. The greater the spread, the greater the profits for Fannie and Freddie and their private shareholders. As government-sponsored corporations, the two GSEs enjoy a direct line of credit to the U.S. Treasury, exemption from securities regulations and all State and most local taxes, and the triple-A investment rating of government institutions. This quasi-governmental status enables them to raise capital at interest rates significantly below those paid by other financial institutions. In exchange for their unique status, these corporations were chartered to “support the secondary market for residential mortgages (including activities relating to mortgages on housing for low- and moderate-income families); and promote access to mortgage credit throughout the Nation.”


"But while the GSEs have increased mortgage credit availability in general, they have been much less successful in serving low-income and traditionally underserved housing markets. The GSEs have been making record profits for their shareholders but have failed to even keep pace with the private mortgage market in serving the nation’s low-income and predominantly minority communities. As a result, Congress enacted legislation in 1992 directing HUD to establish specific interim performance goals, for 1993 and 1994, to stimulate the GSEs’ role in mortgage lending for affordable housing. HUD was also to provide revised goals for 1995, 1996, and beyond. The affordable housing provisions were strongly supported by national housing advocates, community organizations, and community development intermediaries such as the National Low Income Housing Coalition, National People’s Action, ACORN, Center for Community Change, the Housing Assistance Council, LISC, and the Enterprise Foundation.

Promote lending to poor people

In a New York Times article titled "Rules on Lending to Poor Blocked" about forcing banks to give loans in poor neighborhoods by Keith Bradsher published on December 16, 1994,[8] Allen J. Fishbein was quoted.

"But civil rights activists responded to the Justice Department's move with complaints that the Clinton Administration may be neglecting a traditional Democratic base as it moves to the right politically in the wake of last month's Republican triumph in Congressional elections. "This interpretation I think clearly could have gone the other way," said Allen J. Fishbein, the general counsel of the Center for Community Change, a Washington-based advocacy and research group that focuses on fair lending issues."

Community Reinvestment Act

In 1992, Allen J. Fishbein published a report[9] for the Fordham Urban Law Journal titled "The Community Reinvestment Act After Fifteen Years: It Works, But Strengthened Federal Enforcement is Needed." This is the abstract:

"The Community Reinvestment Act (“CRA”) was adopted to curb redlining, the discriminatory mortgage lending practice whereby lenders refuse to make loans to certain geographic areas based on the racial or ethnic composition of those areas or the age of their housing stock. The law reflected Congressional judgment that lending institutions were overlooking important credit needs within their local communities and that the banking regulators’ efforts were inadequate to deter this neglect. Although the law was rarely enforced, some organized community groups made it work. Today’s climate of bank restructuring presents new challenges to making the law effective. Despite its apparent success, or perhaps because of it, the CRA remains a controversial law. This article argues that the CRA continues to serve an important role. The CRA clarifies the public responsibilities of federally insured financial institutions to their local communities in three ways: 1) it affirms the obligations of banks and savings institutions to meet the credit needs of low and

moderate income communities; 2) it directs banking and thrift regulators to evaluate as part of their regular on-site examination the extent to which lenders are meeting local credit needs; and 3) it permits regulators to impose sanctions on lenders with weak records."

Fannie Mae Housing Impact Advisory Council

In 1992, Fannie Mae established a "Housing Impact Advisory Council" which included People's Action.[10]

"James A. Johnson, chairman and chief executive officer of the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) (NYSE: FNM), today announced the company's new Housing Impact Advisory Council and its 35 members who will advise on affordable housing programs for low- and moderate-income home buyers. "This distinguished advisory council shares our strong commitment to providing affordable mortgage credit to the underserved communities of our country," Johnson said. Fannie Mae is preparing to meet new affordable housing goals established in legislation recently passed by Congress to modernize regulation of the secondary mortgage market. "We at Fannie Mae believe, as does Congress, that working with a national panel of housing leaders will greatly aid in our achievement of the legislation's goals," said Larry Dale, executive director of Fannie Mae's National Housing Impact Division. The council is comprised of nonprofit, state housing agency, and financial institution executives, legal professionals, academicians, and clergy. It will hold its first meeting in December and will meet twice annually beginning in 1993. Michael R. White, mayor of Cleveland, and Marvin Siflinger, executive director of the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency, will co-chair the council.

In addition to White and Siflinger, the new members are:

External links