Skip to Main Content
Printer Friendly

Policy Matters September 2016


It’s the time of year when we gather our forces in anticipation of Budget Season, feverishly working to make sure vital programs are funded and remain in place.  But our other labors don’t stop or even slow down- as advocates, we must always guard against the rising tide of hate and fear, and commit ourselves to making the law work for all New Yorkers.

Open Enrollment starts November 1, and Health Care for All New York and partner organizations are hosting a series of summits around the state focused on post-enrollment challenges.

Domestic Violence
It’s crazy to think, but domestic violence and other victims of crime risk losing their housing when they call for help thanks to nuisance ordinances that some towns have in place.  Senior Attorney Amy Schwartz and our colleague Sandra Park from the ACLU were featured in a recent article, and 29 US Senators, including New York’s Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, sent a letter to The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) demanding action, which HUD then took.

As you’ll read throughout, HUD has been busy. 

Big news!  Amy Schwartz is continuing to lead advocacy efforts for domestic violence victims by being named co-chair in a new collaboration between the New York State Bar Association and the Women's Bar Association of the State of New York.  This is really huge and we are so proud of Amy and all she does for New Yorkers.

Our Senior Attorney Ruhi Maker was appointed to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Consumer Advisory Board.  Congrats Ruhi!

Crossover with LGBT Rights: Reverse mortgages can be good things for seniors, but there can be many pitfalls, especially for LGBT seniors, who face housing instability at a much higher rate.  The City Bar Justice Center published a blog and guide to help.

Staff Attorney Maggie Robb submitted comments on proposed student loan regulations.

Language Access
HUD issued guidance that will help limited English proficient people access their rights under the Fair Housing Act.

LGBT Rights
Landmark Victory!  The highest court in New York State ruled that non-biological parents can seek custody and visitation rights.

HUD finalized a rule that will require shelters to provide services to people in accordance with their gender identity. 

Public Benefits
The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant turned 20 in August.  This was part of the “welfare reform” of 1996- for better or worse.  Senior Attorney Don Friedman is two thirds into his three-part blog series on the impacts of TANF (Part One, Part Two), and Attorney Emeritus Barbara Weiner (honoree at our upcoming Celebration of Leadership event) wrote about how TANF affected immigrants’ eligibility for benefits.

The Gates Chili Central School District continues to defy the US Department of Justice, refusing to provide reasonable accommodation to Devyn.

Civil Legal Aid
With civil legal aid programs stretched so thin, alternative sources for help are necessary.

Our Senior Attorney Becky Caico talks about zombie properties in Monroe County.

We put out an updated SNAP budget worksheet, effective October 1.

Applications for the 2017 – 2019 Hanna S. Cohn Equal Justice Fellowship are being accepted until October 19.

We reflected on a somber anniversary.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau published a resource on how to avoid credit repair scams.

Eòghann Renfroe and Milo Primeaux held a seminar at the Pride Center of the Capital Region’s Youth in Power Camp this summer.

We updated brochures for immigrants seeking protection from domestic violence in New York State’s Family Courts- available in seven languages.

That’s it for now! 

The Policy Team at Empire Justice Center


facebook button  Sign up to receive email from us!