Safety Net Advocacy Campaign
Safety net programs help protect vulnerable individuals and families from falling deep into poverty. Please help to protect programs like SNAP, IDAs and more to help those in need when they need it most. See more from Prosperity Now!
Call or Tweet NOW! Financial Choice Act
Thanks to all of you who voiced your concerns about the threat to protections for consumers on prepaid cards. With your help, this action did not move forward.
The assault on protections continues with the Financial Choice Act. This new legislation will gut the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, destroying their critical role on behalf of consumers.
Please get involved again, to help us maintain these important protections. From our friends at the Center for Responsible Lending and the North Carolina Coalition for Responsible Lending:
TAKE ACTION: Urge your Members of Congress to support funding for affordable housing in FY 2017 and FY 2018
The White House proposes to cut HUD funding by $1.7 billion in Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 and deadlines for lawmakers to join letters supporting HUD/USDA funding for FY 2018 are fast approaching. Tell Congress to protect the federal spending needed to ensure families and communities can thrive. Sign your organization onto a letter from advocates calling on Congress to protect vital programs. The deadline for signing the letter has been extended to March 31.
Keep up the pressure on your Senators to reject a dangerous constitutional amendment
This week the North Carolina Senate approved in the Finance and Rules Committees a constitutional amendment proposal that would seriously limit our state’s ability to build thriving communities. This bill is moving quickly to a vote on the floor.
It locks in the arbitrarily low income tax rate that has primarily benefited wealthy taxpayers. It is this low income tax rate that has meant the state cannot support public schools, public health and the programs that ensure the environment is protected and the courts are funded.
Your lawmakers need to hear from you this weekendthat this is the wrong choice for North Carolina, today and in the future. Senate Bill 75 will be voted on the floor on Tuesday, March 14.
This proposed constitutional amendment should not be considered and cannot pass. TAKE ACTION NOW. And consider asking five friends to take action, too.
ACTION ALERT: Proposed cuts to HUD budget
This morning, the Washington Post reported that the Trump administration is considering $6 billion in cuts to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The revelation, made through leaked internal documents, is consistent with the administration’s stated goal of cutting $54 billion in domestic spending to increase the defense budget. The largest cuts would:
- Eliminate the Community Development Block Program;
- Eliminate the HOME Investment Partnerships Program;
- Reduce the direct rental assistance by $300 million; and
- Cut nearly $2 billion from the Public Housing Capital and Operating Funds.
These harmful cuts would be devastating to communities across North Carolina.
Samuel Gunter is in Washington, D.C. today meeting with several members of our delegation. He encourages you to make a call this afternoon to Senator’s Thom Tillis (202-224-6342) and Richard Burr (202-224-3154) as well as your Representative. Let them know that these programs are crucial to providing safe, decent and affordable housing to North Carolinians and their loss would be devastating.
Samuel Gunter Director of Policy and Advocacy NC Housing Coalition 919-827-4496
Congress just acted to maintain funding for Assets for Independence (AFI) and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)
Your voice has been heard! As a direct result of your advocacy efforts, Congress just acted to maintain funding for Assets for Independence (AFI) and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), at least through April of next year. These programs avoided the chopping block because we all stood together and made our case about their necessity. On behalf of the families who need AFI and VITA to become self-sufficient and climb the ladder of opportunity—thank you!
Despite this success, this is not the end of our advocacy—it is just the beginning. Starting when the new Congress convenes on January 3, these programs will be under attack yet again. Without the backstop of a sympathetic President, grassroots mobilization and advocacy is only going to be more important.
We face threats on all sides. While we do not know exactly what’s coming down the pike, we do know that they will threaten our low-income friends and neighbors, such as outlined in Speaker Paul Ryan’s proposed "poverty plan." In short, the next Congress will be on the attack for almost every federal program that protects families who need help the most: Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP) and more. They may propose additional work requirements, block granting, or even cutting or eliminating these programs.
These programs make up the first rungs of the ladder of opportunity, which leads to financial security, higher education, homeownership, entrepreneurship and a secure retirement. As asset-building advocates, we must protect the very first rungs of this ladder.
We know our work is going to get harder. Just like we fought to preserve AFI, we must brace ourselves to advocate and save all programs that support our families in need.
How to Raise Your Voice
Call your U.S. Senators and thank them for protecting AFI and VITA. Urge them to ask cabinet nominees hard questions in the confirmation process to learn about their plans for our low-income families:
- What steps will Ben Carson take to make sure that fair housing laws are enforced?
- How will Rep. Tom Price make sure that millions of families don’t lose access to health insurance, whether it is through Medicaid or Obamacare?
Push your senators to hold potential cabinet members accountable to ensure that low-income, working families aren’t left behind and unprotected.
We will continue to reach out to you to ensure the preservation and continuation of ensuring every family has access to the opportunity economy. If we stick together and stay engaged, as we did to protect AFI and VITA this year, we will have more victories to celebrate in the months to come.
Thank you for being our partners. CFED’s Federal Policy Team
|Burr, Richard - (R - NC)||Class III|
|217 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510|
|Tillis, Thom - (R - NC)||Class II|
|185 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510|
Add Your Voice to Stop the Payday Loan Debt Trap
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently released proposed rules that, if strengthened, could rein in the worst abuses of payday and car title lending. Thankfully, North Carolina protects against abusive payday and car title loans, but the CFPB still needs to hear from you.
Payday loans notoriously carry 300+% APR (annual percentage rate). Strategically located in low-income neighborhoods, payday lenders intentionally trap borrowers in debt that they cannot escape. The average payday borrower is trapped by ten transactions in a year.
Though payday lenders were forced out of our state 10 years ago, we still need a strong national rule. Payday lenders will use a weak rule to seek a green light to come back into North Carolina.
Blow are five versions of NC model letters to comment on the CFPB’s national payday rule.
· Personalize letters to the greatest extent possible
· Do not mail your letter – instead submit using the instructions below
· Send Center for Responsible Lending a copy -- it will take forever for CFPB to get these all uploaded.
Five model letters:
· NC comment long, for an organization: Appropriate for many of the groups you will be asking to submit letters. this version gives prompts to add information about a) their organization, b) harm they say from payday loans, c) examples of how their members/clients are better off now that payday is illegal in NC, and d) a person for CFPB to contact. We should encourage as many groups as possible to send an edited version of this letter, adding their personal perspective to the greatest extent possible. They should put it on their organizational letterhead.
· NC comment short, for an organization: A shorter version of the letter above with fewer prompts. Again, put on organizational letterhead.
· Community leader letter, for an individual: This very short letter is appropriate for a social worker, housing advocate, public interest lawyer, etc. Short and sweet, more lay language, and very little to edit. For folks who work for an organization that cannot lobby/submit comments (Legal Aid of NC, for example), any staff person can submit this letter as an individual (from home and not on organizational letterhead).
· Faith leader letter, for an individual : Short and sweet, appropriate for any faith leader to send.
· Elected official letter, of an individual : Short and sweet, appropriate for any elected official to send. Emphasizes how hard we have fought to get rid of payday and the dangerous precedent of a weak national rule.
Instructions to submit
Once you have final letters ready to go, the best way to submit the letter as a formal comment is to:
· Upload comments directly on Regulations.gov (here) or (http://bit.ly/2aGpZpV). This is the quickest way to get the comment posted. I would suggest uploading a PDF of the letter along with cutting and pasting the letter into the comment box, if at all possible. Please let me know if you or others have any trouble with this process. If they submit a PDF, you don’t need to worry about identifying info on the drafts that show the original draft came from CRL or you.
· If uncomfortable with the direct upload, they can email their comments to FederalRegisterComments@cfpb.gov. They need to be sure they include the Docket No. CFPB-2016-0025 or RIN 3170-AA40 in the subject line. It will take longer for these comments to be posted.
Senior Policy Associate Center for Responsible Lending
Support of CFPB Forced Arbitration Rule
Earlier this year, the CFPB proposed a rule for public comment that that would prohibit forced arbitration clauses that take away the power from consumers to seek redress through class actions lawsuits.
As you many already know, many financial service products--such as credit cards, payday, student, and automobile loans, bank accounts, and prepaid cards--include clauses in contract agreements that require disputes between consumers and service providers to be resolved through arbitration, rather than through the courts. By removing the option to collectively sue, companies are able to avoid accountability and consumers remain uncompensated, because few people are willing to put in the time required for arbitration by themselves when the amount in dispute might be small.
As part of the public comment period, our friends at Americans for Financial Reform (AFR) have written a comment letter that strongly backs the Bureau’s proposal. With such strong industry and congressional pushback, it is crucial to get as many signers as possible to join AFR, CFED and other consumer advocates on this public comment to the CFPB.
If you would be interested in supporting this important letter, please click here to sign-on (the full letter is available at this link as well). The deadline is August 19, 2016.
The A&O Team
Take Action! Action Alert--Assets for Independence
The Senate Appropriations Committee moved to eliminate the Assets for Independence (AFI) program, which funds the Individual Development Account (IDA) programs. Several other programs were also eliminated in the committee's $160 billion funding bill for education, health and human services and labor programs. The committee vote was nearly unanimous, meaning the bill has wide bipartisan support.Call or send a letter to your North Carolina's U.S. Senators and urge them to protect the Assets for Independence program!
RSVP Now: Payday Briefing | July 12 and July 20 |
The Center for Responsible Lending, NC Justice Center and NC Assets Alliance are hosting an important webinar: Keep North Carolina Payday Free: Two Months to Strengthen Proposed National Payday Rule on two upcoming date.
Call Now to Stop Dangerous Manufactured Housing Bill
Last year calls and emails helped to oppose Senate Bill 491, the "Manufactured Home Purchase Agreement Change" bill. Your calls and emails stopped the bill in 2015. But now, the industry has persuaded House leadership to move the bill - but they are running into trouble. House leadership has move the bill to the House Rules Committee after it ran into trouble in another committee. Your calls and emails made a huge difference - House Members say they are getting a lot of calls on this issue.
We need your help one more time. If you are already calling your House Member - thank you! If a Member of the House Rules Committee is your representative, please call or email TODAY AND forward this Action Alert to others who might be interested.
Amendment to Change N.C. Constitution to be Considered
Don’t Make Tax Giveaways to the Powerful Permanent
The Senate could vote on the floor in the coming days to permanently change our state constitution, putting in place a low and arbitrary cap on the income tax rate in North Carolina. The results would hurt our communities and our families who are already seeing the fallout of just three years of tax gimmicks. Read more
North Carolina protects against abusive payday and car title loans, but the CFPB still needs to hear from you.
NC Coalition Supporters,
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently released proposed rules that, if strengthened, could rein in the worst abuses of payday and car title lending. Thankfully, North Carolina protects against abusive payday and car title loans, but the CFPB still needs to hear from you. Read More