All New Yorkers deserve equal access to programs such as health care, social services, justice through the courts and law enforcement, regardless of their proficiency with the English language. Empire Justice provides know your rights information, technical assistance to other advocates, and policy advocacy and analysis on issues relating to language access. Additionally, our staff also lead the Long Island Language Advocates Coalition, a group committed to expanding access to services for limited English proficient New Yorkers on Long Island.
Policy Matters – September 2022
September 30, 2022
Welcome to the September edition of our newsletter, Policy Matters. In this edition we cover our annual testimony on the importance of civil legal services, a final push for new tenant protections, our work to modernize the Community Reinvestment Act, advocacy for limited English proficiency SNAP recipients, recommendations for uniform standards of eligibility in family courts, a collection of recent legal education efforts, recognition of excellence in advocacy for several staff members, and last but not least – an invitation to our next Celebration of Leadership event in Albany!
In this edition of Policy Matters 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, comments on proposed rules regarding Alternative Dispute Resolution, and an exciting new addition to the Empire Justice team.
PRESS RELEASE: Advocates Applaude FHFA’s Move to Require Mortgage Lenders to Obtain Applicants’ Language Preference
May 04, 2022
WASHINGTON – Today, National Consumer Law Center, Americans for Financial Reform, Consumer Action, Empire Justice Center, National Community Stabilization Trust, National Fair Housing Alliance, UnidosUS, and National CAPACD applauded the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) announcement that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will make it mandatory for lenders to use the Supplementary Consumer Information Form (SCIF) during the loan application process.
Marlene Cortés is the Senior Manager of Language Justice at Empire Justice Center. Through her 30 years of experience in Legal Services, Marlene has seen firsthand how LEP (Limited English Proficient), d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing populations experience gaps in resources and knowledge accessing basic needs services within our community. In 2019, she began focusing on language justice as a foundational civil rights issue and became a trailblazer for breaking down barriers to leverage deep, systemic improvements in Monroe County. Marlene does this through training, technical assistance, outreach and by providing “Know Your Rights” information to those facing language-related inequities.
Marlene is the Co-founder of the Monroe County Language Access Coalition, the only Language Coalition in NYS that includes the Deaf/Hard of Hearing community, which is comprised of 27 local agencies focused on language access barriers. She participates in the Federal Housing Finance Agency's Language Access Working Group, Americans for Financial Reform Task Force for Language Access, and is a graduate of the Latino Leadership Program of United Way. Marlene is a member of the Latinx Leaders Roundtable, Deaf Friendly Roc, Latino Health Coalition, and New Americans Health Coalition.
Marlene is a native Rochesterian and her family is from Aibonito, Puerto Rico. She currently lives in Henrietta with her family and is passionate about being active in the Rush Henrietta School District.
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