All posts by Bertha Lewis

Sick and Tired’s Turn to Stand and Fight

I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.

How many times have you said or thought that? Plenty, I’ll bet. If you are like ACORN member Tamecka Pierce from Florida who suffers from lupus and serious gaps in her health care coverage, it’s a regular thing.

If you are like the ACORN members I speak with regularly, the mother who worries about her son’s asthma medicine, the partners who worry if their uninsured husbands get injured on the job, the families who face discrimination in the ambulances on the way to the hospital where a lack of insurance can take us 20 minutes farther away to a hospital that will provide care, then you know.

You are also sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Well, you aren’t alone.

Faced with a generational opportunity to fix America’s broken health care system thousands of people are joining together with Health Care for America Now (HCAN) and gathering today, June 25th, in Washington, DC. We are union leaders, healthcare workers, moms and dads, faith leaders, students, advocates, and over 900 ACORN members from around the country all coming together in the largest healthcare rally in American history! We are calling on Congress to pass a quality, affordable healthcare bill.

The sick and tired are going to halls of the well-insured and well-cared-for and telling them that now is the time to reform our healthcare system and provide quality, affordable healthcare to all Americans.

Today we are sending one clear message to our elected officials in Washington: We’ve fought too hard, come too far, and have waited too long for Congress to do too little. This fight is about quality care that people can afford, and that means a package of comprehensive benefits that gives all of us the care we need. We won’t settle for anything less.

We know the enemies of health care reform are working hard to defeat any meaningful reform. And they are being sneaky. They have to be because 72% of Americans support the centerpiece of health care reform: the Public Health Insurance Plan, the so-called “public option”. Opponents of reform say things like, “It’s too expensive.” “Now isn’t the time.” Or they rally behind the idea of buyer co-ops or state-by-state solutions. My friends, these are all stalling tactics aimed at derailing the centerpiece of any meaningful reform. Simply put, we need a robust public health insurance option and Congress needs to make it happen right now.

Because not only are we sick and tired of being sick and tired, we’re sick and tired of excuses, we’re sick and tired of delay, and we’re sick and tired of false solutions. The time is now, the momentum is with us. Now its time for us to fight and win.

Stopping the 13 Second Clock: ACORN and Leading Mayors Join Together in Fighting Foreclosures

California’s economy can’t really stabilize until the foreclosure crisis is resolved.

Yesterday I was honored to be on a call with America’s leading mayors and the US Conference of Mayors to talk about a huge problem affecting cities from coast to coast: the foreclosure crisis.

I’ve been talking about how a family is losing their home every 13 seconds for awhile now and the recent failure by Congress to enact bankruptcy reform to protect homeowners because of industry pressure was a real blow to stopping that clock.  

But the failure in Washington isn’t going to stand in the way of ACORN’s push to address the crisis at the heart of the economic meltdown and teaming up with some of the leading mayors in the United States is a major way we’re moving forward to help families stay in their homes.

Let’s set the record straight about one thing – mayors and ACORN tried to stop this crisis before it began, only to be preempted by federal regulators who did the industry’s bidding, and now we are left to clean up the mess.  It took the election of Barack Obama for the federal government to start helping families, but even his excellent Making Home Affordable program only aims to prevent 3 to 4 million foreclosures out of the expected 9 million over the next four years.

So it’s up to us – regular folks, community organizations, and local community leaders.  We cannot sit on the sidelines while 5 to 6 million families lose their homes.

Luckily there is a tremendously successful model already in existence in the city of Philadelphia. Called “mandatory mediation” it is based on one simple technique: having borrowers and lenders sit down and talk. The success rate is astounding.  As we have shown in our recent report, “Road to Rescue: How the Philadelphia Model Can Reduce Foreclosures Across the Country“,  fully 78 percent of homeowners who have participated in mediation are still in their homes today. 78 percent! Imagine if we could replicate that across the nation!  

The Philadelphia program works because it incorporates four pillars: (1) It is mandatory. (2) It involves extensive community outreach to struggling borrowers. (3) It has an easy threshold for participation. (4) It makes use of housing counselors to ensure affordability of workouts.  

On yesterday’s call, we heard from Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, whose office now coordinates this highly effective program.  He has raised money from the private sector to join city funds, but he needs more help, including from the federal government, especially as the foreclosure crisis lays at the heart of our recession.

President Obama himself understands this, and in his February speech laying out the foreclosure plan, said, “We are going to award $2 billion in competitive grants to communities that are bringing together stakeholders and testing new and innovative ways to prevent foreclosures. Communities have shown a lot of initiative, taking responsibility for this crisis when many others have not. Supporting these neighborhood efforts is exactly what we should be doing.”

Unfortunately, no such support for local foreclosure prevention yet exists.  ACORN will join mayors in fighting to make sure the federal government does as President Obama promised and funds these initiatives.  Despite a recent unanimous Senate vote on an amendment offered by Senators Casey and Gillibrand to open up some of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds for foreclosure prevention, rather than just buying properties after they’re foreclosed, the amendment died in the House.

Across the country, ACORN Housing counselors are waging daily battles just to get reasonable modifications and save homes, but the industry is still foreclosing on hundreds of thousands of families that could be helped but don’t live in a city with a mediation program. The efforts of mayors and ACORN to facilitate more affordable loan modifications will be critical in halting the national housing and economic downfall.  

Mayor Bloomberg is joining us in pressuring Albany to improve the state’s mediation law, Mayors Villaraigosa and Dellums are working with us to get needed changes out of Sacramento, and Mayors Slay (St. Louis) and Diaz (Miami) also committed to working with us locally, statewide, and nationally to help save homes.  

With millions more foreclosures staring us in the face, we have to act now to create sensible local solutions that will improve our communities, safeguard families, stabilize tax bases, and revive the economy.  With leading mayors stepping up yesterday, we’re starting to get the ball rolling.

21st Century Bull Connor: Shameless Intransigence

This is from the “Have They No Shame?” department. For the past couple of months I’ve been talking about the abuses going on in Maricopa County, Arizona  (that’s where the fine city of Phoenix is located) at the hands of the local sheriff there, Joe Arpaio.  

Arpaio’s officers have arrested people who disagree with his policies just for clapping. In the face of Sheriff Arpaio’s abuses, including police brutality, forced family separation, racial profiling, slow emergency response times, unjustified arrests, inmate abuses and more, ACORN members and allied community groups recently delivered a petition to Congress asking for an investigation of Arpaio, and then we sent petitions to the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Find out Arpaio’s response on the flip.

Congress has responded.  So has the Justice Department.

So what was his response? To take a long hard look at these policies and perhaps focus on reducing crime rather than deciding who is and who isn’t an American based on their skin color or first language?


It was intransigence. He sent around a press release stating that he is “even more determined even as criticism mounts.” This is from a sheriff facing more than 2,700 lawsuits, many citing civil rights violations.  

Arizona ACORN members have been protesting his brutal police tactics, most shockingly his recent publicity stunt of separating out 200 inmates from the county jail who are undocumented immigrants and marching them in chains to a separate “tent city” surrounded by an electric fence.

But, on March 10, Acting Assistant Atty. Gen. Loretta King sent a letter to Sheriff Arpaio informing him that the Justice Department was initiating an investigation of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO).  

The very next day, U.S. House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.), along with three other members of the House Judiciary Committee – Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), the chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Immigration; Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Rights; and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security – announced that they will conduct a Congressional hearing into Sheriff Arpaio’s alleged civil rights abuses.

These four representatives also have sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, asking that her office investigate Arpaio’s actions too. Secretary Napolitano’s office has yet to call for an investigation.  

That’s where you come in.

We need to ask her to take a stand, the same way that Attorney General Eric Holder has and the Congressfolk listed above have.

This is why she has juice here: Sheriff Arpaio’s office boasts the largest “287(g)” agreement with DHS. This agreement outsources enforcement of federal immigration laws to local policing organizations. Sheriff Arpaio has 160 officers on the project but none chasing the 70,000+ outstanding warrants in the County.

Under this agreement, Sheriff Arpaio and his officers may demand to see the papers of anyone they apprehend for any violation, even something as small as a broken tail light.    

If you don’t have the right papers with you, you can be arrested and detained without charge for up to 10 days, even if you are a US citizen. I mean, who carries their birth certificate with them to the store?

Join us in writing to Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano asking that DHS:

1.  Stop the raids in Maricopa County.

2.  Suspend Sheriff Arpaio’s 287(g) agreement.

Thousands of immigrant families are living in terror under Sheriff Arpaio’s reign.  We can’t let his racist policing continue. Please take action!  

We Are Willing To Go To Any Means Necessary

On Wednesday I wrote a piece on Huffington Post and another at Open Left talking about the centrality of fixing the foreclosure crisis to any recovery from the economic meltdown. Since the toxic assets at the center of the meltdown are based on mortgages that are entering foreclosure at a rate of one every 13 seconds, we have to address foreclosure as a part of getting America back on its feet.

The Homeowner Affordability and Stabilization Plan (HASP), announced in Phoenix on Wednesday by President Obama, which will help up to an estimated 9 million families, is a good first step – and the first serious effort by the Federal government to confront the challenge. But just because there was an announcement does not lessen the urgency of the problem. We are still in a situation where four families every minute enter the foreclosure process. We believe there must be a moratorium on foreclosures until HASP is fully implemented.

So yesterday we at ACORN launched the Home Defenders campaign in seven cities – a campaign to force the question of moratoriums and to press the urgency of this crisis into the consciousness of elected officials on the state and national levels. This is a campaign of refusal and resistance, refusal by distressed homeowners to cooperate with the foreclosure process and resistance to attempts to evict them from their homes. And in some cases it is a campaign of getting people back into their homes.

I wanted to give everyone a report-back from our activities yesterday, which is in the extended text.

In Baltimore, ACORN member Donna Hanks re-took her home. Foreclosed on last Fall, the house has stood empty since then, a stark reminder of the failure of the system. But Donna joined with 30 ACORN Home Defenders to liberate her home from the bank. Her act of civil disobedience was covered by 2 radio stations, 2 TV stations, the Baltimore Sun, and the Huffington Post.

Donna used bolt cutters to break the lock to the door and re-enter the home. Unfortunately, in the six short months since the home was seized, it has been extensively damaged, essentially partially gutted. The toilets are missing, and the upstairs ceiling is badly damaged. The greatest tragedy here is that Donna worked for months with ACORN sister organization ACORN Housing Corporation to try to get the bank to modify the loan so it could be affordable, but they refused, taking the home and now allowing it to be a haven for squatters and a target of looters.

In Houston, where one in three homes sold in January was a foreclosure and foreclosure sales accounted for 34 percent of all homes sold – a 9-percent jump from the same time last year, Sara Chavez announced her refusal to leave here home. “My mother and I don’t leave,” she said.  A mother of three who cares for her sick mother, she has owned her house since 2004, but has seen her mortgage payment double from $1,000 to $2,000. She joined with ACORN Home Defenders to declare her neighborhoods a “Foreclosure Free Zone”. And the  Home Defenders backed her up. ACORN member Pennie Saldivar said, “We want to fix this problem. We are willing to go to any means necessary”.

We even had a little star power come out to help the campaign to keep hard working families in their homes. In Los Angeles, comedienne Roseanne Barr traveled to Watts to join with Tommy and Debora Beard. The Beards are a teacher assistant and hospital cook who have lived in their home for over 20 years and have lost it to foreclosure in part due to a predatory loan. There is a possibility that allies in the legal community may be able to extend the Beards’ eviction process for quite awhile to buy time get Chase to reverse the foreclosure, person after person (including Roseanne) pledged to “go to jail” with the Beards if necessary.

There are other reports from Oakland, New York, and Orlando.

Conservatives have made much of the fact that they think this campaign is really all about helping greedy and undeserving homeowners get a taxpayer bailout. Or they are itchy about the fact that keeping people in homes might involve breaking things like trespassing laws. Or they just plain froth at the mouth because we at ACORN are again standing up for working families.

On the last point, we sure hope they are drinking plenty of liquids because we’ve been doing this for 38 years and we aren’t going to stop just because it gives the people whose ideology led us into this catastrophe the vapors.

On the first two complaints, though, let me say two things. First, we all have skin in this game. This crisis is on a scale that rivals the Great Depression and foreclosures are at the heart of it. Whether you think the homeowners deserve it or not, creating a plan that gets these toxic mortgages performing again is the only way for people to agree on a value for the toxic assets clogging up the financial system.

Second, people are fed up seeing Wall Street get billions in help while the people bearing the brunt of the disaster get eviction notices. They are saying “enough is enough”. Like Pennie Salvidar says, families are willing to go to any means necessary to get elected officials to do the right thing.

This is a unique moment in history, one where we can steer the country away from the failures of conservative ideology and toward a fundamentally progressive approach to governing. As Mike Lux put it in the Huffington Post today: “The American family has to take care of each other, has to look out for each other, especially in the hard times, because the misery of our fellow citizens will spread to the rest of us.”

Right on.

This campaign is not just about helping hard working families keep their homes, it is fundamentally about saving the American Dream, about what makes us proud to call ourselves Americans, and about bit by bit making this country stronger.  

You can help by asking Congress not to give in to Wall Street and their coming attempts to block the most important aspects of HASP. If we want a new America we’re going to have to fight for it

21st Century Bull Connor Closer To Feeling Fire Hose Turned On Him

Just over a week ago, I told you about the latest affront to human dignity carried out by the 21st century’s answer to Bull Connor.  At the beginning of February, a month in which we celebrate the birthday of Abraham Lincoln, Maricopa County (Arizona) Sheriff Joe Arpaio decided to bring back a staple of the Jim Crow South – the chain gang – to the Southwestern desert. He marched 200 undocumented prisoners from the County Jail to a tent city a couple of miles away. He put them in chains and paraded them through the city streets of Phoenix to the open air jail, surrounded by an electric fence.  

Well, that little stunt earned him, besides the full-throated outrage of human rights activists, immigrant rights groups, and organizations that care about the rights of communities of color, working families, and effective policing, the scrutiny of powerful members of the United States Congress. And we want you to help add your voice to this scrutiny.  

As a result of street actions by Arizona ACORN members and other pro-New American organizations, the voices that many of you raised through petition efforts like the one ACORN launched on February 5th, and meetings between ACORN leaders in DC for our annual Legislative and Political Conference and the staff of House Judiciary Chair John Conyers, Chairman Conyers issued a request today that puts Arpaio’s actions squarely in the cross-hairs.

Joining Chairman Conyers, a lion of America’s Civil Rights Movement, were Immigration Subcommittee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Constitution Subcommittee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), and Crime Subcommittee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-Va.), who all called on Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to investigate Arapio’s long-running reign of terror and error.  

The Congressional leaders are also asking for an investigation of the agreements between Maricopa County and the United States Government under section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. I am asking you to join with us and add your voice to those calling for an investigation of actions such as these:

A taste of the Jim Crow South in the heart of Phoenix.  

Arresting activists at public hearings for applauding calls for investigations into his actions.

Forcibly separating parents from citizen children as the result of his police-state approach to America’s immigration challenge.  

Frankly, it is about time. The people of Maricopa County deserve better, New American communities and communities of color deserve better, and all Americans deserve a better model for the challenges of immigration facing this country. The Arpaio spectacle shows that a police-state solution does not work.

With your help, Attorney General Holder and Secretary Napolitano will listen to the request from Conyers and his subcommittee Chairs and take a second step towards bringing real justice back to Maricopa County and ensuring that law enforcement isn’t simply about “just us”.

Stand with us in helping make that happen.  

Taking Action, Saving Homes, Starting the Recovery

“No homes for sale!”

“No homes for sale!”

“No homes for sale!”

It took me about 7 seconds to say that chant three times. Six seconds later another family in America entered the foreclosure process.

ACORN members know what that does to a family and to a community. So today, 300 ACORN members took over the Mitchell Courthouse in Baltimore, Maryland singing and chanting as they overwhelmed the 20 or so sheriff’s deputies assigned to “protect” auctioneers from selling off foreclosed properties.

50 miles away in Washington, DC, another 120 took over two buildings on the same block where foreclosure auctions were being held.

In Baltimore, Donna Hanks, a foreclosure victim who lost her home a year ago – a home that still sits vacant in the bank’s hands today – led the action and later talked to film crews about the turmoil she is going through. “I’ve moved six times in the last year – and I have a steady, union job. Families that are losing their jobs are even worse off than I am. That’s why I came out today to help working people keep their homes.”

In Washington, ACORN members snuck into one auction disguised as prospective buyers and then joined in the protest as marchers appeared outside the building. One of the building owners, angered that his property was being used to facilitate foreclosures, kicked the auctioneer out and ACORN members proceeded to follow him around refusing to let him sell homes out from under families.

13 seconds goes by pretty fast. We’re talking four families every minute. It is no wonder that ACORN members are stiffening their spines, gritting their teeth, and fighting back in the face of the economic maelstrom engulfing the country. With Treasury Secretary Geithner announcing today the prospect of a $50 billion package of aid that addresses the crisis, we are heartened, but know that we need to take action now to keep hard-hit families in their homes and to keep pressure on our elected leaders to do the right thing.


Because it is one family every 13 seconds.

Today’s actions are the continuation of actions that ACORN members have been taking for weeks to keep families in their homes, including a coordinated Day of Action on January 15th, when members in over 25 cities blocked foreclosure actions.

As part of the campaign, ACORN members are in DC today for our annual Legislative and Political Conference talking with their Congressional representatives about the need for immediate action to get Americans back to work and save the homes of working families.

Next week we ratchet up the pressure. On February 19th, ACORN is launching the Home Defenders, a program that links members of local communities with families who have taken the courageous step of refusing to cooperate with the foreclosure process. It responds to the desperate calls for help made by one family every 13 seconds.

It echoes the sentiments of leaders like Toledo, Ohio-area Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur who recently said, “stay in your homes. If the American people, anybody out there is being foreclosed, don’t leave[.]”

The Home Defenders program is modeled on an ACORN action taken a week ago in Oakland, CA that saved the home of a West Oakland couple on the day of their eviction.

And we are partnering with the folks at Brave New Films in their launch of a new web-based resource for foreclosure victims and those in danger of foreclosure. Called Fighting For Our Homes, this is a way for people to have their own voice and tell their own stories about the foreclosure crisis – stories that show how real people and real neighborhoods are being affected.

If you want to join in the fight to get America back to work and end the foreclosure crisis in this country, you can join the Home Defenders, and sign this petition to President Obama asking for quick action. And visit Fighting For Our Homes to see foreclosure victims speaking for themselves.

Together we can get America back on her feet again.

Sheriff Arpaio – The Bull Connor of the 21st Century

Friends, there are some things that cannot go unchallenged. They are affronts to human dignity and to what it means to live in America.

Yesterday one of those things happened in Maricopa County, Arizona, the mega-county that contains Phoenix. In a move that smacks of the treatment of detainees in Guantanamo Bay and that harks back to the days of the chain gang in the South, the Sheriff of Maricopa County, Joe Arpaio, is clustering 200 undocumented inmates of the County Jail in their own special tent city. The tent city is surrounded by an electric fence, further bringing home the treatment of human being as chattel. The Phoenix New Times has a compelling story detailing yesterdays outrage.

We cannot let this stand. We are circulating a petition that asks Congressman John Conyers, the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, to hold hearings into this latest outrage and the long history of abuse carried out by Sheriff Arpaio.

What makes this move especially troubling is the Sheriff’s determination to expand his tent city to accommodate up to 2500 prisoners, an indication of the scope of his determination to continue his devastating policies of racial profiling, retaliatory arrests aimed at silencing critics, and forced family separation.

These actions are an affront to anyone who cares about human rights and are the logical outcome of a police state mentality that sees the only solution to our immigration challenge coming at the end of a gun.

Therefore, we at ACORN, through our Arizona ACORN members, are taking a stand against this action and the on-going immigration enforcement policies of the Sheriff that have resulted not just in this indefensible move, but in widespread human rights abuses of American citizens and our immigrant cousins.

We are following the lead of community leaders like AZ ACORN Board Member Alicia Russell who said, “This march is an extremely callous and inhumane move, aimed directly at degrading undocumented immigrants. In claiming to justify this action as a way to improve”budget savings”, Arpaio is degrading these immigrants, violating their civil rights, and overreaching his jurisdiction”, the entire Maricopa County town of Guadalupe, and Maricopa Citizens for Safety and Accountability (MCSA) who recently staged a “Death of Democracy” funeral procession protesting the Sheriff’s actions.

We are answering the call of local leaders like Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon who has demanded a federal probe into Arpaio’s recent crime sweeps in Hispanic neighborhoods using tactics that are tantamount to racial-profiling and reflect poorly on all Arizonans, regardless of their ethnic heritage. We are answering the call of Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, who said, “We treat people equally in America. I think it’s wrong.”

Even the conservative Goldwater Institute calls Apraio’s policies “ineffective” in a report released in December. “[He] has diverted resources away from basic law-enforcement functions to highly publicized immigration sweeps, which are ineffective in policing illegal immigration and in reducing crime generally[.]”

Help us take a stand by asking Rep. Conyers to lead an investigation into these tactics. America needs to stand for justice under the law, not the law of “just us”.

Refusing To Be Evicted – Keeping Foreclosure Victims In Their Homes

Last week I showcased the plight of Rosa and Juan Rico in Oakland, CA. They had had so many problems working with their lender to get a modification of their loan that they joined with 40 ACORN members and moved themselves into a local branch of the bank in order to force the bank to deal with them.

They are but one of the 2.3 million families that faced foreclosure proceedings in 2008. And they are on the leading edge of a crisis that will claim up to 9 million more by 2013, costing the economy up to $850 billion, if we sit idly by, doing nothing about the root cause of the economic maelstrom that has engulfed our country.

Find out how some families are fighting back on the flip.

ACORN members like the Ricos have made the commitment to save their homes and rebuild their communities through civil disobedience. Today, I am proud to announce that we are launching a program that gives everyone an opportunity to help keep families in their homes and put pressure on our elected officials to address this root cause of the economic collapse.

Called the ACORN Home Defenders, this program links members of local communities with families who have taken the courageous step of refusing to cooperate with the foreclosure process. It responds to the desperate calls for help found in the grim foreclosure statistics and echoes the sentiments of leaders like Toledo, Ohio-area Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur who recently said, “stay in your homes. If the American people, anybody out there is being foreclosed, don’t leave[.]”

The urgency of this crisis demands immediate action. So the Home Defenders program is rolling out in two stages. The first stage will include eight “Tier 1” metro areas: Baltimore, MD; Contra Costa County, CA; Los Angeles, CA; New York, NY; Oakland, CA; Orlando, FL and Tucson, AZ. Initial trainings for people located in these metro areas will take place during the second week in February, with kick-off events scheduled to occur during the 3rd week of the month.

The second stage will include 16 “Tier 2” metro areas: Albany, NY; Boston, MA; Bridgeport, CT; Broward County, FL; Cincinnati, OH; Cleveland, OH; Dallas, TX; Denver, CO; Detroit, MI; Durham, NC; Flint, MI; Minneapolis, MN; Pittsburgh, PA; Raleigh, NC; San Mateo County, CA; and Wilmington, DE. Trainings and kick-off events will occur a few weeks after those in the Tier 1 cities.

New cities are continuing to join this campaign, so if you do not live near any of the metro areas listed above, you can still participate in actions to save the homes of families in your community as they come on-board. For people who live in areas that will not have local organizers helping drive this program, ACORN is creating Home Defender Tool-Kits that help you fight back against the crisis in your neighborhood.

I urge you to take this step in helping local families fight back against the crisis caused by reckless financiers who made billions in bonuses in equity-stripping schemes designed to set homebuyers up for failure.

By showing that communities are refusing to participate in their own decimation, we will force elected officials to finally shift their emphasis from bailing out Wall Street to bailing out Main Street.

Join with us. The good folks at have already taken one step by covering the announcement of the Home Defenders. Let’s all join together and keep families in their homes.