An Oakland, Calif., family threatened with eviction is on track to purchase the home they rented, according to ACORN Housing Corp.

Since 2006, Eddie and Martha Daniels have rented their home in West Oakland. However, their landlord failed to pay the mortgage, and the lender foreclosed on the single-family home and terminated the Daniels’ lease. On Feb. 4, sheriffs were scheduled to evict the family.

Starting at 6 a.m. that day, 30 housing advocates from ACORN gathered at the house, backed by media and made calls to the sheriff’s office. ACORN also negotiated with the lender and later that day arranged a stay of eviction.

On the same day, ACORN helped the Daniels apply for a Veterans Affairs loan that would enable them to purchase the house. Housing advocates hope that more renters faced with eviction from foreclosed buildings may be able to buy the properties, like the Daniels.

About one out of every five foreclosed housing units are owned by people that don’t live at the properties, according to 2007 information from the Mortgage Bankers Association. Often these homes are rentals.

The plight of renters evicted from foreclosed buildings is a priority for Shaun Donovan, secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). “We can’t forget the renters,” he said at his confirmation hearing Jan. 13.