‘Homeowners Bill of Rights’ Helps Fight Foreclosure in Colorado

62664_452204658127800_477689577_nAfter three years of persistent and tireless work by Colorado Progressive Coalition members, the Colorado legislature this month finally passed meaningful protections for homeowners at risk of losing their homes.

For years horror stories have abounded in the press of banks that lost paperwork, homeowners never speaking to the same person twice, promises of a loan modification while simultaneously foreclosing on the borrower. Abuses by the banks added to the immense stress homeowners – and added to the growing number of foreclosures that could have been prevented.

The package of protections passed by the Colorado legislature is known as the “Homeowners Bill of Rights,” and is similar to those passed previously in California, Nevada, and Minnesota. Read more

Oregon Activists at the Heart of Fight to End ICE Holds

Manny releasedBy Nicole Brown

Center for Intercultural Organizing

Last week when I received a call from Multnomah County Chair Marissa Madrigal and then from Sheriff Daniel Staton, I wondered if the sheriff might finally be reconsidering his policy on holding immigrants in jail at the request of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

But I never could have anticipated this conversation – or what followed. Read more

Will Health Coverage Translate into Receiving Health Care?

LAH Orange 2019735258LeeAnn Hall, executive director of Alliance for a Just Society, published this article originally in Huffington Post.

More than 7.5 million people have signed up for new health coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s state and federal health insurance marketplaces at the close of the first enrollment period.

The Department of Health and Human Services reports that another 3 million people have gained health coverage through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) as of the end of February, compared to figures five months earlier.

Now we’re about to find out something critically important: whether having health coverage translates into receiving health care.

Let’s be blunt: one of the biggest problems with America’s health care system is that it neglects the poorest among us. People of color suffer more and die earlier than others. The U.S. continues to have one of the highest infant mortality rates among the 14 wealthiest countries, and it’s higher in communities of color. Read more

“We Say They Can Stay,” Native American Leaders Protest Immigrant Detension

By Simmi Bagri
Alliance for a Just Society

ICE Protest-1cropThe annual Alliance for A Just Society’s Advanced Native Organizers Training, was sponsored by the Praxis Project and hosted at the  Alliance’s office in Seattle this month, drew leaders from tribes and organizations from around the country. They came from as far as Virginia, Alaska, South Dakota, and New Mexico, and as near as Oregon and the Yakima Valley.

They brought with them their history, their culture, and stories of the injustices being faced in their communities. They brought an array of unique perspectives on issues ranging from fighting for food sovereignty to challenging the destruction of native lands through construction of oil pipelines. Read more

Tax Day Means Tax Refunds for the Country’s Powerful Corporations

ATF GE Graphic 1You pay your taxes today – April 15 – and every day, when you shop and buy products for your home or business.

The nation’s most profitable corporations, on the other had, aren’t just avoiding taxes – but actually getting refunds.

General Electric is especially imaginative it seems, when finding ways to short-circuit their tax-paying responsibilities.  When billion-dollar corporations don’t pay their fair share, all of us sacrifice valuable services, healthy schools, good transportation and jobs.

If corporations, like General Electric, paid their fair share, our cities, states and entire country would actually look and feel like the most prosperous nation in the world. Instead, too many of our cities and states look more like third world countries, entrenched in deep poverty.

It’s embarrassing. School are struggling, roads crumble, bridges collapse, college graduates struggle under the burden of repaying their student loan debt. Read more

National Organizer Position Available

Job Title: National Organizer –  Alliance for a Just Society

The role of the National Organizer is to work with our affiliates, partners and national allies to build robust local, state and national campaigns that advance economic, social and racial justice. The National Organizer will be a critical part of the Alliance team, developing and executing campaigns and increasing the capacity of Alliance for a Just Society, our affiliates and partners.
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New Jersey Small Businesses Still Adrift Two Years After Sandy

NJ worried businessesSince Superstorm Sandy hit the east coast in November 2012, small business owners who were promised financial assistance to help their businesses excited abut rebuilding and recovering, are still waiting for the funding to appear. Corinne Horowitz, the business representative for the New Jersey Main Street Alliance, describes their frustration as they search for solutions.

By Corinne Horowitz

 

Small business owners who were devastated by Sandy in November 2012 are outraged over the mishandling of Sandy business grants by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and Gov. Chris Christie’s Administration. 

Working with the New Jersey Main Street Alliance, business owners attended the economic development public hearing, townhall meetings, and finally organized a press conference to call for investigation and oversight of the program.

The federal Sandy Relief Bill passed in January 2013 allocated $260 million for the Stronger New Jersey Business Grant Program to provide grants of up to $50,000 to affected businesses “for working capital or construction needs.”  Businesses that were at first relieved by the anticipation of rebuilding and recovering from the storm, soon became dismayed what has turned out to be a daunting process.

Read more

After Obamacare Enrollment, Three Critical Steps

Massachussetts Considers Mandatory Health InsuranceThis article by LeeAnn Hall, first appeared in Colorlines.com

More than 7.1 million people have obtained health coverage under the Affordable Care Act, despite the early confusion and glitches with the computer system. In addition, 6.3 million are approved for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and an estimated 3 million more young people gained health insurance by staying on their parent’s plans.

We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to eliminate health disparities so people of color are no longer living sicker and dying younger. If we do our job, no mother will ever have to choose between paying the rent or taking her sick child to the doctor.
Read more

ACA Off to Good Start, But Will Coverage Translate to Care?

waiting room photo copyIt was nice to be out in the Pacific Northwest for a few days enjoying the rain, seeing my kids, and spending time over at the Alliance office. It was also good to see the beginnings of the effect that the Affordable Care Act is having. The guy in the bar who tells me his brother was alive because he had qualified for Medicaid. The waiter who tells me he signed up for insurance, even though he is young and healthy.

It was fascinating to sit through an Alliance staff meeting where we were shown the options they have under proposed new health insurance plans. They were being offered pretty comprehensive benefits and a couple of economic choices. The economics had to do with the size of deductions and co-payments the staff thought they could bear.

What is really different are the new limits on how much co-payment and deductability a person has to sustain in a year. Well, it is still pretty steep, between $3,000 and $5,000, depending on your plan, but that’s it. No more $80,000 medical tabs. No more need to sell the heirlooms, the car, and the family home just to survive. Maybe just the car.

This ACA is working, in spite of all the yelling about it on the part of the President’s enemies. Read more

No More Delays, Two Million is Too Many

Krista brighter 2 millionDelaying defense is one of the oldest tactics of war. It’s as much a psychological one as it is strategic. The goal is to wear down the opposition until they become weak, hungry or distracted. Our immigrant rights movement hasn’t been immune to it.

Now there is no longer time for delay: two million deportations is a clear message and a rallying cry that we cannot and will not be ignored.

The immigrant reform movement built great power during the electoral battle of 2012, vast armies of strong, fearless leaders were created as we went door-to-door registering people to vote. Read more