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"I live and breathe small “p” politics, so I am grateful that my work at Empire Justice Center reflects my political and social values and that I can see the impact of our work in the community."
Barbara van Kerkhove
Empire Justice Center
p: (585) 454-4060 f: (585) 454-2518
Barbara van Kerkhove is a researcher/policy analyst with the Consumer, Housing, C.A.S.H. and Community Development Unit in Empire Justice Center’s Rochester Office.
Ms. van Kerkhove conducts research on and advocates for fair access to affordable credit, responsible mortgage and small business lending and access residential property insurance. Most recently, Ms. van Kerkhove collaborated with advocates in other national and state organizations on their third annual report “Paying More for the American Dream: Promoting Responsible Lending to Lower-Income and Minority Communities.” This April 2009 report debunks the myth that the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) caused the recent foreclosure crisis while, at the same time, sheds light on weaknesses in CRA.
Findings from Ms. van Kerkhove’s December 2007 insurance report, “How Fair Is New York’s FAIR Plan? An examination of NYPUIA’s residential FAIR Plan policies,” suggest that African-American and Latino communities and neighborhoods with high vacancy rates may have less access to property insurance from private insurers than other communities and indicates the need for public data on where and to whom residential property insurers are writing policies.
In addition to her research and advocacy work, Ms. van Kerkhove provides support to the Greater Rochester Community Reinvestment Coalition (GRCRC), a coalition of 30 locally based not-for-profits and individuals that monitors the community development lending and activities of the top banks in the Rochester area; facilitates the Insurance Working Group of New Yorkers for Responsible Lending (NYRL), a 140+ member statewide coalition promoting access to fair and affordable financial services and the preservation of assets for consumers and their communities; and maintains a fair housing and lending website www.housingchoice.org. During 2007 she was a Funded Consumer Representative to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
Ms. van Kerkhove received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University at Albany, SUNY in 2001.