Now that the Pennsylvania Communities Organizing for Change (PCOC) is starting to make some public appearances at rallies around town members are beginning to speak to reporters about the group. PCOC Volunteer Coordinator Mary Ellen Hayden says PCOC is not a continuation of the Pennsylvania arm of ACORN (Association for Community Organizations Reform Now) as some have been reporting but many former members of ACORN are now members of PCOC. Hayden describes the new organization as an organizing group for low and moderate-income communities made up of volunteers from those same communities. She says the group already has 501 (c) (3) and 501 (c) (4) status for its different efforts. She says PCOC had been talking to the 7,000 AORN members in Pennsylvania asking them if they wanted to stay with ACORN or join the new organization. She says now that ACORN in PA has been dissolved those conversations are bit different. She says they have recruited about 2,000 members so far. She says, “There is still a lot of work to do.” For now, PCOC has offices in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and Hayden says as they move forward members hope to drum up support in other Pennsylvania communities and form more chapters in the future. ACORN officials at the national office in Chicago say the organization is not dead but some state chapters are dissolving after a slew of bad press made it hard to hold onto members and find new funding.
Last May the Allegheny County District Attorney charged seven local ACORN members with election law violations. One has pleaded guilty, one has had charged dismissed and the remainder are awaiting trial.