Nonprofits Use Twitter Tool to tell Goldman Sachs to Help Homeowners Avoid Foreclosure
June 30, 2009
ACORN and MomsRising.org are partnering this week using a unique new Twitter tool to petition Goldman Sachs, the parent company of loan servicing company Litton, to sign on to use the President’s new Making Home Affordable (MHA) Program. This program would help millions of families avoid foreclosure and keep their home. Goldman Sachs, along with three other institutions, has failed to take advantage of it to date.
The Twitter tool, called act.ly, allows users of Twitter to sign on to this petition simply by tweeting this language: “petition @GS_NEWS Prevent home foreclosures with the MHA program now! http://act.ly/5l retweet to sign #Homewrecker.” When Twitter users “retweet” the petition language, act.ly automatically tallies their retweets as petition signatures and sends a direct message to the target of the petition.
The petition recipient, Goldman Sachs, may also respond to the Twitter petition via act.ly, allowing for immediate response to the concerns of foreclosure victims. By focusing on Goldman Sachs with this new Twitter petition, MomsRising.org and ACORN hope to reach online activists and give them an exciting new route for citizen voices to be heard.
The Making Home Affordable program was created by the Obama Administration to help families avoid foreclosure during the economic crisis. The program could help as many as four million homeowners struggling with unaffordable mortgages to receive modifications to affordable terms, stay in their homes, and keep their neighborhoods stable. The program includes $75 billion in federal subsidies to mortgage servicing companies. To receive these subsidies, mortgage companies need to sign a binding contract that obligates them to basic foreclosure prevention practices like reviewing each loan for a modification before sending it to foreclosure.
To date, mortgage servicers representing more than 80 percent of outstanding loans have committed to participate in the President’s voluntary Making Homes Affordable program. But four major loan servicers Litton, HomEq (owned by Barclays), OneWest (owned by IndyMac), and American Home Mortgage (collectively labeled “The Homewrecker 4”) have yet to sign on to the program.
“While ACORN members in over 20 cities will be taking their concerns directly to the offices of the Homewrecker 4, urging them to join the Making Home Affordable program, we are pleased to be partnering with MomsRising to use this innovative tool to push these companies to do the right thing,” said ACORN Chief Organizer Bertha Lewis.
“This is an exciting new way to grab the attention of major corporations—and have citizens interact with them in real time -- using new technology to organize folks around the country on Twitter,” said MomsRising.org Executive Director, Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner. “We're looking forward to a quick response from Goldman Sachs, and we hope that the other three loan servicers will also get the message that citizens demand fair treatment and should be allowed to utilize this important family economic security program.”
Act.ly is petitions designed for Twitter. It's simple, yet very powerful. Anyone can go from outrage, to petition, to people tweeting in two minutes. The person petitioned can respond using their Twitter account, and act.ly tracks how long it takes to get an official response.
“Twitter is the perfect platform for activism,” said act.ly co-creator Jim Gilliam, “and we're thrilled to see all the unique ways people are using act.ly to further break down the walls between the people and the powerful.”