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Policy Matters: September 2012


It’s Been a Busy Summer at Empire Justice Center

In between juggling children’s summer camps and activities, taking vacations and attending family reunions, Empire Justice Center staff members did a lot of policy work past summer.  We are happy to share what we did in this issue of Policy Matters.

We did not rest on our laurels with the announcement of proposed regulations eliminating finger imaging in New York’s food stamp program. Instead, we submitted comments supporting the proposed regulations, urging their speedy implementation and we put the word out to other advocates around the state to do the same, providing our comments as a model to make it as easy for them as possible. Now, we are celebrating the publication of the final regulations that will eliminate finger imaging starting November 1st, as seen in this recent blog post.

Speaking of blog posts, Empire Justice launched its blog, “Just Thoughts,” in August. We invite you to subscribe and have our new posts delivered to you via email or RSS feed.

We also released our sixth report  as part of the multi-state Paying More for the American Dream Collaborative, which focuses on mortgage lending.  This year’s analysis found racial disparities in FHA and VA loans.  We also blogged about it.

Our Director of Policy Advocacy wrote a guest essay in the Democrat & Chronicle about how New York’s auto resource rule hurts struggling families.

Our Senior Domestic Violence Attorney wrote a comprehensive legislative update focused on domestic violence issues and sent a letter to the Governor urging him to sign legislation that would fix probation transfer problems.

Staff in our Rochester foreclosure prevention unit submitted comments to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on our experience in using reverse mortgages to save seniors from foreclosure.

Along with other members of Americans for Financial Reform (AFR), we also sent comments to the CFPB about the importance of public access to consumer complaint information for consumers to make better informed decisions when choosing financial products and services.

And finally, our Senior Health Attorney sent a letter to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in support of New York’s proposed Ombudsperson Program for people with disabilities and chronic illnesses entering managed care for the first time.

Future issues of Policy Matters will feature several upcoming reports as well as our legislative priorities and agenda.  One report we expect out soon is an analysis of immigrant eligibility through the state’s health care Exchange that is being developed as we write.  Another will focus on why New York should join 48 other states in no longer allowing Social Services Districts to take liens on homes of people who receive public assistance (see our memo on this issue).

As always, thank you for supporting our work and please keep in touch via our web, facebook, and now, our blog, Just Thoughts.

Kristin and the Empire Justice Policy Team