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Empire Justice Condemns Cutting Support for Struggling Homeowners in the Executive Budget

Posted on February 3rd, 2023

For Immediate Release                     

February 3, 2023

For More Information Contact Alex Dery Snider:

Aderysnider@empirejustice.org  518-462-6831







Statement from Empire Justice Center President and CEO Kristin Brown on Governor Hochul’s executive budget: 

“While we were grateful to see positive steps – including the continued funding of important programs that provide legal assistance to low income New Yorkers like the Disability Advocacy Program, Education Debt Consumer Assistance Program, and Community Health Advocates; indexing of the minimum wage; and addressing “skimming” of public benefits  – there were a number of notable gaps, including increasing the Shelter Allowance and Cash Assistance grant levels, which are woefully out of date. Additionally, Empire Justice advocates are shocked to see that funding for foreclosure prevention through the Homeowners Protection Program (HOPP) was cut entirely from the executive budget. The lack of support to current homeowners is especially concerning given the Governor’s historic commitment to build 800,000 new homes in every part of the state.  Last year’s budget included $35 million. 


HOPP is New York State’s only homeowner retention program. It funds 89 non-profits providing housing counseling and legal services to distressed homeowners in every county of the state since 2012. More than 275,000 New York homeowners currently report being behind on their mortgage according to U.S. Census data and that is not counting families facing tax foreclosure. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated issues for homeowners especially in Black and Brown communities. Post-pandemic assistance programs are helpful but complicated to navigate and even tougher with recent interest rate hikes.  After a decade of building the HOPP network, passing laws to help homeowners that depend on HOPP services, and given the historic push to increase the housing stock, getting rid of services that help current homeowners will be disastrous for families, the courts, and communities. Historically, each $1 million invested in HOPP yields a return of over $5 million in tax and property cost savings.  


Cutting HOPP would be devastating for struggling homeowners and their communities. We call on the Governor to restore funding in a 30-day amendment and we ask for total funding of $40 million to support this crucial program.”


About Empire Justice Center

Empire Justice Center is a statewide nonprofit law firm with offices in Rochester, Albany, Yonkers, White Plains, and on Long Island whose mission is to make the law work for all New Yorkers, particularly for those who need its protection most. We take a 360-degree, comprehensive approach to changing systems by engaging in three major and interconnected areas of service. We teach the law by providing training, support and technical assistance to legal services and other community-based organizations to strengthen their work; we practice the law by providing direct, civil legal assistance to low-income people with a particular focus on those from marginalized communities such as LGBTQ; minorities, immigrants and LEP; and crime victims; and we change the law by engaging in policy analysis, research and advocacy and undertaking impact litigation to get at the root of systemic issues.




Read the Statement as a PDF

Empire Justice Center logo on a red background

Disability Law News – January 2023

Posted on January 31st, 2023

The Disability Law News is published four times per year for disability advocates across New York State.

To download the January 2023 issue, click here!

Featured articles in this issue:

When Will SSA Finally Replace the D.O.T.?

2023 SSI Benefits Chart Available

Service of Process Rules Amended for Federal Court Appeals

SSA to Incorporate Inclusive Language in Documents

Medicaid “Unwinding” Scheduled to Begin


Policy Matters – November & December 2022

Posted on December 21st, 2022

Welcome to a double-stuffed November & December edition of our newsletter, Policy Matters. In this edition we’re covering our efforts to combat EBT skimming scams, legislative victories as health, child care, and benefits bills are signed by the Governor, how we are pushing for equitable e-filing rules, growing efforts to combat child poverty, a new initiative pushing for health equity through language access, recognizing staff achievements, and a report out on our Celebration of Leadership event!

Read the full newsletter here: Policy Matters – November & December 2022

Policy Matters graphic - with photo of debit/EBT card scanner

Disability Law News – October 2022

Posted on October 31st, 2022

The Disability Law News is published four times per year for disability advocates across New York State.

To download the October 2022 issue, click here!

Featured articles in this issue:

New Faces Join DAP Statewide Support

What is DAP Statewide Legal Support?

Historic COLA Increase for 2023

SCOTUS Amends the FRCP for Social Security Appeals

Spotlight on Marriage Penalties

SSAB Encourages SSA to Use Data to Access Equity

Pile of newspapers

Important Notice for Individuals with Disabilities Who Are Applying for or Trying to Keep Public Benefits in Suffolk County

Posted on August 10th, 2022

Notice of Proposed Class Action Settlement Regarding Disability Accommodations at the Suffolk County Department of Social Services.

Attorneys from the Empire Justice Center, the National Center for Law and Economic Justice (NCLEJ) and Dentons LLP obtained class certification and a settlement in a Federal Court class action case called Newkirk v. Pierre, 19-cv-4283 (E.D.N.Y.). Plaintiffs in this lawsuit are individuals with disabilities who need help applying for or trying to keep public benefits through programs run by the Suffolk County Department of Social Services (SCDSS).

This is an important notice about accessing Public Benefits and a proposed Settlement in a Federal Court class action case. Please read the entire notice provided in the links below if:

  1. You are an individual with a disability living in Suffolk County, New York; AND
  2. You have applied for or will apply for benefits and services from SCDSS, including SNAP (food stamps), Medicaid, Temporary Assistance, and Temporary Housing Assistance (THA); AND
  3. Because of your disability, you need help applying for or keeping those benefits and services.


Audio Recording of Notice


Members of the Plaintiff Class who are deaf or hard of hearing and require interpreter services to participate in the Fairness Hearing with the Court on September 6, 2022, should contact the National Center for Law and Economic Justice at info@nclej.org, or (212) 633-6967, in advance of the hearing.

Press Release Announcement


Aviso Importante para Personas con Discapacidades que Solicitan o Intentan Mantener Beneficios Públicos en el Condado de Suffolk

Posted on August 10th, 2022

Aviso de propuesta de acuerdo de demanda colectiva sobre Adaptaciones para Personas con Discapacidad en el Departamento de Servicios Sociales del Condado de Suffolk

Los abogados del Empire Justice Center, el  National Center for Law and Economic Justice (Centro Nacional para la Ley y la Justicia Económica) y Dentons LLP obtuvieron la certificación colectiva y un acuerdo en un caso de demanda colectiva del Tribunal Federal llamado Newkirk v. Pierre, 19-cv-4283 (E.D.N.Y.). Los demandantes en esta demanda son personas con discapacidades que necesitan ayuda para solicitar o tratar de mantener los beneficios públicos a través de programas administrados por el Departamento de Servicios Sociales del Condado de Suffolk (SCDSS).


Lea el aviso completo proporcionado en el siguiente enlace si:

  1. Usted es una persona con una discapacidad que vive en el condado de Suffolk, Nueva York;
  2. Ha solicitado o solicitará beneficios y servicios de SCDSS, que incluyen SNAP (cupones de alimentos), Medicaid, Asistencia Temporal y Asistencia de Vivienda Temporal (THA); Y
  3. Debido a su discapacidad, necesita ayuda para solicitar o mantener esos beneficios y servicios.



Los miembros de la Clase de Demandantes que son sordos o tienen problemas de audición y requieren servicios de interpretación para participar en la Audiencia de Equidad con el Tribunal el 6 de Septiembre de 2022, deben comunicarse con el National Center for Law and Economic Justice (Centro Nacional para la Ley y la Justicia Económica) en info@nclej.org , o ( 212) 633-6967, antes de la audiencia.

Press Release Announcement

Policy Matters – May 2022

Posted on May 31st, 2022

Welcome to the May edition of our newsletter, Policy Matters. In this edition we take a moment to observe the tragedy in Buffalo, and then we cover new language access mandates for mortgage lenders, the enactment of X gender markers on NYS drivers licenses, legal advocacy for trans youth, comments on proposed rules regarding Alternative Dispute Resolution, upcoming testimony on the future of NYS courts, and an exciting new addition to the Empire Justice team!

Read the full newsletter here: Policy Matters – May 2022

Transgender advocates and representatives of the Governor's office at X Gender Marker event

SNAP Budget Worksheet for New York State 2021

Posted on January 25th, 2021

The new updated SNAP budget worksheet, effective January 1, 2021, from Hunger Solutions New York.

Child Care Copayment Disparities by County

Posted on January 13th, 2021

Featured below is an updated Child Care Copayment Chart for families of three with an annual income of $43,440 (200% of poverty) showing the copayment multiplier for each social services district in New York. This chart is based of a review of the annual plan updates and the COVID -19 waiver chart posted on the OCFS website as of January 2, 2021. For nine counties that had not posted annual plan updates for 2020, 2019 data was used.


We recommend you view the PDF here.


There are many changes from last year’s chart. Most striking is that only four districts continue with the impossibly high copayment multiplier of 35%, which is the number applied to the family’s income over the poverty level to calculate the parent share. Last year eighteen districts used this multiplier. Many districts have reduced their copayments to 25%, 20%, or even 10%.  Last year only three counties chose to use the 10% copayments multiplier, which is the lowest permitted under state regulation. This year there are eight counties with 10% multipliers. Other important news to note is that the social services districts highlighted in red obtained approval from OCFS to waive copayments. The list of counties that are currently waiving copayments is updated monthly on the OCFS website at https://ocfs.ny.gov/programs/childcare/plans/ altogether for as permitted by 20 OCFS ADM-06, available at: https://ocfs.ny.gov/main/policies/external/ocfs_2020/ADM/20-OCFS-ADM-06.pdf





















Also featured below is a chart which shows the annual copayment required from families of three with incomes between the poverty level and 275% of the poverty level, and the percentage of the family’s gross income that that payment represents.


We recommend you view the PDF here.

Find Your DAP Service Provider!

Posted on January 30th, 2018