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Community Development - Policy Related News

Empire Justice Center Statement on CFPB Director Cordray Stepping Down

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray has been a beacon for millions of Americans harmed by abusive financial services practices. Read More

Empire Justice Statement on Language Access Additions to the Uniform Residential Loan Application

On October 20, 2017, The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced its decision to add a preferred language question to the redesigned Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA) by the end of 2017. Read More

Empire Justice Center Statement on Governor Cuomo's Hate and Human Rights Laws Expansion

The horrifying events that transpired in Charlottesville this past weekend showed us all that we have a long road ahead of us to reach a place where hate has no home in our hearts. We all have a responsibility to stand for what it right. Read More

Empire Justice Stands with Immigrants & Their Families

Empire Justice Center is proud to be one of more than 180 organizations across the country to stand up and speak out against the completely un-American attack on immigrants proposed by Senators David Perdue (R-GA) and Tom Cotton (R-AR), and championed by President Donald Trump. Read More

Empire Justice Press Release: 2017 Legislative Session

Empire Justice Center achieved one notable win that will have a huge impact on disabled New Yorker’s access to disability benefits, but were keenly disappointed by being unable to get legislation that would allow victims of wage theft to get paid what they are owed, and a bill that would have ensured that crime and domestic violence victims’ right to call 911 is not impeded in communities where there are local nuisance ordinances, passed in the Senate. We came so close. It’s a shame New Yorkers will be without these critical protections until 2018. Read More

Empire Justice Press Release: New York State Delivers a Tight Budget with Several Notable Wins for Low Income New Yorkers

Upon the finalization of the 2017-2018 state budget, Empire Justice Center was excited to announce that several of its legislative priorities were included, including a new $1 million investment that will allow the organization to dramatically increase the amount of assistance it can provide to immigrants in need of legal representation, as well as two notable policy changes. At the same time, other important programs and proposals sustained losses that will be acutely felt by hard working New Yorkers in the coming year, causing much concern Read More

Suffolk creates hotline for homeowners facing foreclosure (Newsday)

Suffolk County has established a new hotline connecting homeowners at risk of foreclosure with free housing counseling and legal services. Read More

Foreclosure help program faces loss of funding, advocates say (Newsday)

A network of housing agencies and legal groups that has helped more than 20,000 Long Islanders facing foreclosure is pushing to get funding for its work included in next year’s state budget. Read More

Capitol Pressroom: Kirsten Keefe on Foreclosure Prevention (WCNY)

Capitol Pressroom - We discussed options for those facing foreclosure on a mortgage or a reverse mortgage from Empire Justice Center Senior Staff Attorney Kirsten Keefe. Read More

Empire Justice Statement on Governor Cuomo's Executive Budget Proposal

After the release of the Executive Budget Tuesday night, Empire Justice Center expressed appreciation that funding is included in Governor Cuomo’s budget proposal for several key programs that assist New Yorkers living at or near the federal poverty level. Read More

We Stand with ALL New Yorkers (Nosotros estamos unidos con todos los Neoyorquinos)

The outcome of this election has shaken us all to the core. (El resultado de las elecciones nos ha sacudido a todos.) Read More

1930s Rochester redlining maps show discrimination (Democrat & Chronicle)

In the late 1930s, the federal Home Owners' Loan Corp. (HOLC) had the powerful responsibility of grading neighborhoods across the country to decide whether home mortgage refinancing there would be insured by the government. Read More

Recommendations made to cut vacant, abandoned homes in Monroe County (WHAM)

Recommendations were released Thursday by a task force focusing on reducing the number of vacant and abandoned homes in Monroe County. Read More

Task Force lists ways to confront ‘zombie’ house problem

A group that has been studying the problem of “zombie” houses since last spring released a report Thursday with 24 recommendations. Read More

Task force on vacant and abandoned property issues report (Democrat & Chronicle)

A Monroe County task force on vacant and abandoned property has made 24 recommendations to prevent vacancies, identify and maintain properties once they become vacant and to rehabilitate them. Read More

Zombie Homes Task Force Releases Recommendations (WXXI News)

A task force formed by Monroe County Clerk Adam Bello has issued its first report addressing a problem Bello calls one of the most concerning and frustrating issues facing homeowners: vacant or "zombie" properties. Read More

Task force releases zombie properties report (City Newspaper)

The Monroe County task force on zombie properties issued its first round of recommendations for local, state, and federal governments and agencies today. Read More

WATCH: The Zombie Home Apocalypse In Monroe County (WXXI)

According to Rebecca Caico, Senior Staff Attorney with Empire Justice Center, there are thousands of zombie properties in Monroe County. We’ll discuss how they’re haunting taxpayers in ways they may be unaware of. Read More

Empire Justice Press Release: 2016 Legislative Session: Great Strides and One Huge Disappointment

Upon the completion of the 2016 Legislative Session, Empire Justice Center was excited to see significant strides in addressing wage theft, and two huge victories that will impact the ongoing effects of the forclosure crisis on homeowners and communities. At the same time, the organization also expressed incredible disappointment that, for the third year in a row, essential protections for crime and domestic violence victims were not enacted by the New York State Senate. Read More

Empire Justice Center Statement on Governor Cuomo’s Signing of Ground Breaking Legislation to Improve Foreclosure Process and Address “Zombie” Properties

In a victory for communities across New York State that are still struggling to recover from the foreclosure crisis, both houses of the Legislature passed two pieces of legislation that, combined, will have a tangible impact on upstate and Long Island communities still struggling to recover from neighborhood blight caused by the recession and the foreclosure crisis. Read More

Empire Justice Center Statement on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2016 State of the State and Budget Address

Empire Justice Center reactions to Governor Cuomo's 2016 State of the State and budget address. Read More

Report: Bank policies worsen foreclosure crisis in areas (News 12 Long Island)

A new report claims certain communities may be suffering more from the foreclosure crisis because of bank policies. Read More

Long Island Communities Trying to Recover From the Foreclosure Crisis Lack Access to Mortgage Lending

Empire Justice Center Report finds that this key aspect of an economic recovery is not reaching low income families and communities of color Read More

Counseling, new rules could widen home ownership, study says (Newsday)

Long Island's poorest residents are missing out on the American dream of home ownership due to difficulties getting mortgages, according to a new analysis of federal home loan data. Read More

Empire Justice Center Statement on Chief Judge’s Creation of Permanent Commission on Access to Justice

Today, Empire Justice Center applauded Chief Judge Jonathan Lippmann’s July 22 announcement that the Task Force to Expand Civil Legal Services in New York will become a permanent Commission. Read More

Empire Justice Center Applauds the Governor and State Legislature for Several Budget Outcomes Helping Low Income New Yorkers

Upon the release of the final 2014-2015 state budget, Empire Justice Center is pleased to see several of its legislative priorities contained within the budget, as it provides additional funding and resources for low income New Yorkers. Read More

Empire Justice Center Elects Officers and Re-Elects Board Members

Empire Justice Center, a statewide leader working to achieve social and economic justice in New York State, is pleased to announce the election of two new members to its Board of Directors. Read More

There Goes The Neighborhood: Foreclosed Homes Shelter Crime, Threaten Communities (Long Island Press)

New York State had the third-highest number of homes in foreclosure in the nation—5 percent of mortgages, with 8 percent more in serious delinquency—behind Florida and New Jersey as of August, according to analytics firm CoreLogic’s latest report this summer. Read More

Governor Urged to Take Quick Action on Bill to Help Spare NYers from Foreclosure

Statewide Coalition Says Every Day of Delay Puts 92 More Homeowners at Risk of Losing Homes; Bill Would Speed Mediation for Affordable Loan Modifications Read More

Press Release: Empire Justice Center Applauds the State Legislature for Passage of Key Bills Affecting Low-Income New Yorkers

Two domestic violence bills, one child care bill and a critically important foreclosure bill passed both houses at the end of session last week. Read More

Many Long Island Communities Face Long Term Impact of Foreclosures

Study identifies hardest hit towns and strategies to keep families in their homes and limit damage to the local tax base. Read More

LI's minority enclaves hit hard by foreclosure (Newsday)

Long Island communities with the highest concentrations of houses slated for foreclosure are also the neighborhoods where many black and Hispanic residents live, reflecting a disproportionate impact of the housing crisis for minority groups, according to a new study of foreclosure warning notices sent by banks. Read More

Plan loads home loans (Times Union)

Federal agency asks to add big fee to mortgages, citing state's foreclosure shields. Read More

A. G. Schneiderman Announces $20 Million In Funding To Help Families In New York State Avoid Foreclosure (Office of the Attorney General)

A portion of the $20 million is also going to support a partnership between the OAG and two “Anchor Partners,” who will assist with training, technical assistance, and other support systems to ensure the network is providing the highest quality of services to at-risk homeowners. The Center for New York City Neighborhoods will serve as Anchor Partner for groups operating in NYC, and the Empire Justice Center will serve as the Anchor Partner for the rest of the State. Read More

Report finds FHA/VA Lending Disproportionately Prevalent in Neighborhoods of Color

Leading community organizations, including Empire Justice Center, today report evidence of a two-tiered mortgage market characterized by high rates of government-backed loans made both to borrowers in communities of color and to minority borrowers in their new report, “Paying More for the American Dream VI: Racial Disparities in FHA/VA Lending.” Read More

AG Announces $60M in Foreclosure Help Funding (Long Island Press)

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Monday a $60-million program to assist struggling homeowners facing foreclosure on Long Island and beyond. Read More


At an event at the Long Island Housing Partnership, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the launch of the Homeowner Protection Program, his office’s commitment of $60 million over three years to fund housing counseling and legal services for struggling New York homeowners. Read More

A.G. Schneiderman Announces $60 Million Commitment To Fund Housing Counseling And Legal Services For Struggling Homeowners (NYS Attorney General)

Funding Housing Counseling And Legal Services Will Help Struggling New Yorkers Keep Their Homes Read More

A.G. Schneiderman Introduces Legislation To Protect New Yorkers From Foreclosure Fraud (New York State Attorney General)

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the introduction of his bill in the state Legislature that would protect New Yorkers from fraudulent business practices like "robosigning" in the foreclosure process. Read More

New Survey of Housing Counselors Points to Banks Failures in Compliance with Foreclosure Prevention (California Reinvestment Coalition)

A new survey of housing counselors in California reveals the failure of banks to comply with policies and programs that would help homeowners avoid foreclosure. Read More

NYS Foreclosure Prevention Services Progam Campaign Celebrates Albany Collaboration to Restore Funding

The New York State Foreclosure Prevention Services campaign today thanks and applauds the groundbreaking agreement among Governor Andrew Cuomo, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and the New York State Legislature to provide six months of critical funding for the statewide Foreclosure Prevention Services Program in the FY 2012-13 budget. Read More

A.G. Schneiderman Announces Up To $15 Million Of National Mortgage Settlement To Extend Funding For Foreclosure Prevention And Other Related Services (NYS Attorney General)

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that up to $15 million of the $132 million he secured in the national mortgage servicing settlement will be used to extend funding for foreclosure prevention and other related services. Read More

NYS Foreclosure Prevention Services Program Campaign Applauds Efforts to Restore Funding

The New York State Foreclosure Prevention Services Campaign today applauded the New York State Legislature for its efforts to restore funding for the statewide Foreclosure Prevention Services Program in the FY 2012-13 budget. Read More

A.G. Schneiderman Secures $136 Million For Struggling New York Homeowners In Mortgage Servicing Settlement (NYS Attorney General)

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced today a $136 million settlement for New York with the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers over foreclosure abuses. Read More

Push to Avert Foreclosures Hits Court Logjam (The New York Times)

Courts statewide have been mired in often hopeless cases involving loans that have left bus drivers and grocery clerks, among others, owing $700,000 or more on homes that have fallen in value. Read More

Foreclosure Dispatches: Views From Around the Country (Huffington Post)

Dispatch #1: Sarah Ludwig and Josh Zinner, Co-Directors, Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project (NEDAP) in New York City Read More

Foreclosure Prevention Services Funding Campaign Rally & Press Conference

On January 31st, advocates from across New York gathered in The Well of the Legislative Office Building to rally for funding for the vital services they provide to homeowners facing foreclosure. Read More

Thousands of Distressed Homeowners Will Be Left in the Lurch by Imminent Loss of State Funding for Foreclosure Prevention

Elected Officials, Advocates and Homeowners Call for Funding in New York State’s Budget for Foreclosure Prevention Read More

Non-profits, lawmakers want foreclosure-prevention funds in budget (Politics on the Hudson)

Non-profit groups that provide counseling and legal services to homeowners at risk of foreclosure and a number of lawmakers are urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to include $25 million in the state budget to continue the statewide Foreclosure Prevention Services Program. Read More

Rally against Foreclosure Prevention cuts (YNN)

Homeowners in crisis were looking for a little help at the state capitol on Tuesday. Some fear proposed state budget cuts could trigger more home foreclosures. Read More

‘The Capitol Pressroom’ with Susan Arbetter (WNYC- The Empire)

Listen to Kirsten Keefe, our senior staff attorney with the Consumer Housing, C.A.S.H. and Community Development Unit in the Albany office as well as Hilary Lamishaw, housing counselor at TRIP/ NeighborWorks Alliance NYS react to the Governor's budget proposal. Read More

Foreclosure services seen at risk in budget (Newsday)

Homeowner advocates said Tuesday that an array of counseling and legal assistance programs for people facing foreclosure is endangered by cuts in Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's proposed state budget. Read More

State Money Will Help Replace U.S. Funds for Foreclosure Aid (New York Law Journal)

Legal service providers apparently have made up approximately $2.3 million of the $22 million that they expect to lose for their foreclosure prevention programs as the federal stimulus money that has financed the work dries up. Read More

Empire Justice Statement on Governor Cuomo’s State of the State Address

Read More

Opinion: NY must keep helping homeowners (Newsday)

After the nation's housing bubble burst in 2008, New York State took action to address the foreclosure crisis crippling housing markets and devastating low-income communities. The state invested in an innovative, collaborative web of programs to provide housing counseling and legal services to New Yorkers confronted with the loss of their homes. But now that funding is set to expire. Read More

Foreclosure Prevention Programs Urge State to Pick Up Funding (New York Law Journal)

Foreclosures have slowed to a crawl in the last year as lenders coped with accusations of slipshod procedures and the state courts imposed a requirement that attorneys and lenders attest to the accuracy of their filings. But that breathing space is about to end, court officials say. Read More

Judge Calls Off Eviction of Rochester Woman, For Now (YNN)

Rochester homeowner avoids eviction with the help of housing counselors. Read More

Thousands caught in foreclosure (Times Herald-Record)

Across Orange, Ulster and Sullivan counties, thousands of families have already lost their homes, and thousands more face the prospect of eviction in coming years, as the worst housing crisis in decades plays out across the region. Read More

LI foreclosure filings at twice state rate (

Long Island homeowners received foreclosure-related filings at twice the statewide rate in the three years following the 2007 collapse of the subprime lending market, the state comptroller reported Tuesday. Read More

Budget Cuts Imperil Legal Aid in Foreclosure Cases (The New York Times)

The state’s budget squeeze has put at risk more than 120 legal aid and homeowner-counseling agencies across the state that have provided a last-ditch legal and economic lifeline to thousands of distressed homeowners. Read More

More cuts hit foreclosure prevention assistance (The Daily Record)

Monroe County loses its foreclosure settlement conference referee due to court budget cuts. Read More

Cuomo vetoes pay for foreclosure prevention services (The Business Review)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s veto of $1.5 million to pay for foreclosure prevention services in New York shocked housing advocates who say the program is vital to help struggling homeowners. Read More

Veto of Foreclosure Prevention Services Severs Lifeline for Homeowners

Legal services and housing counseling providers across the state decried Governor Cuomo’s veto of $1.5 million in foreclosure prevention services funding which was put in the budget by the Assembly Majority in a last ditch effort to keep the program alive through the end of the state fiscal year. Read More

Advocacy group laments loss of foreclosure services funds (Daily Gazette)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing to cut funding for foreclosure prevention services at a time when data indicate the number of homes in foreclosure will greatly accelerate in coming months, according to an advocacy group. Read More

69,000 NY home loans at risk of foreclosure (The Business Review)

Nearly 69,000 home loans in New York are at imminent risk of foreclosure, a situation that an advocacy group said today could lead to a “tsunami” of foreclosures over the next year or two. Read More

717 more LI homes in foreclosure process (Newsday)

More than 700 mortgage borrowers fell into the foreclosure process on Long Island last month, according to a report released Thursday that also showed the pace of home repossessions slowing. Read More

New Wave of Protests Fighting Banksters (The Notion: The Nation's Group Blog)

The Empire Justice Center is predicting a “tsunami” of foreclosures coming, and Bank of America is refusing to write down mortgage debt. Republicans in Congress want to eliminate the Home Affordable Modification Program, which helps people keep their homes and Democrats are flagging in their support. Read More

Foreclosure crisis entering a new phase (The Daily Record)

Dr. Barbara van Kerkhove, Research and Policy Analyst at the Empire Justice Center recently published an exhaustive report on the state’s foreclosure crisis. The report indicates the state is nowhere near the end of the foreclosure crisis, which now includes those homeowners with good credit and prime loans. Read More

Flood of Foreclosures Expected Just as Funding to Help Homeowners Dries Up

New analysis of data from the Federal Reserve of New York shows that the foreclosure crisis in New York is far from over – and without legislative action to provide funding for the state’s “Foreclosure Prevention Services Program,” thousands of homeowners will have little help in saving their homes when foreclosure strikes. Read More

Foreclosure prevention group seeks $15M in state funding (The Business Review)

Housing advocates will be at the Capitol in Albany, New York, today asking legislators to set aside $15 million in the budget to continue a foreclosure prevention program that will run out of money this year. Read More

Forecast for New York: “Tsunami” of Foreclosures (Public News Service)

Nearly 69,000 home loans statewide are at imminent risk of foreclosure in New York, and the majority of them are prime, rather than subprime or 'alt-A' loans. Read More

Advocates: What Cuomo Could Get Done In 100 Days (Politics on the Hudson )

Good-government and environmental protection groups want Gov.-elect Andrew Cuomo to issue a series of executive orders in his first 100 days as a way to get the ball rolling on changing the state. Read More

Tenants do have rights if foreclosure looms (Times Union)

Tenants are the invisible victims of the mortgage crises, with very few advocates. Read More

NY Joins National Foreclosure Work Group (The Daily Record)

New York is joining the rest of the nation in a bipartisan mortgage foreclosure working group being led by Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller. Read More

Is a New State Law Curbing Home Foreclosures? (Times Union)

New York’s tough new foreclosure law might be cutting the number of foreclosures in the state — at least temporarily. Read More

Press Release: Paying More for the American Dream IV

Study finds TARP-supported banks reduced lending to communities of color dramatically in Rochester, New York and six other cities across the nation. Read More

Banking on Hypocrisy (Politico)

While American families have made clear that they overwhelmingly support the reforms that a new consumer financial protection agency will produce — like clear, understandable terms and conditions for consumer credit products and accountability for the big banks — the lobbyists have made equally clear their plan to kill the agency. Read More

New Law Mandates Settlement Conferences in All Foreclosure Cases (Nassau Lawyer)

New laws now require all lenders seeking to foreclose mortgages to participate in a settlement conference in court. Read More

Press Release - Paying More for the American Dream III

This report examines the impact of CRA in seven metropolitan areas in the United States: Chicago; New York City; Los Angeles; Rochester, NY; Boston; Charlotte, and Cleveland. Read More

Spitzer State of the State Message Brings Message of Hope and Unity

Advocates from the Empire Justice Center expressed optimism as they watched Governor’s Spitzer’s State of the State address today. Read More

Report Highlights Racial Disparities in Mortgage Lending By Country’s Largest Lenders

Today at the Federal Reserve Board Consumer Advisory Council meeting, a collaboration of advocacy agencies, including Empire Justice Center, released a report showing that the largest lenders making both prime and subprime loans have a disproportionate share of their higher cost loans going to minority borrowers across the nation. Read More