Posted by Nick Loh
Here at New Economy Project we continue to actively reach out to senior organizations throughout New York City to raise awareness of unjust financial practices that affect low-income immigrant seniors and seniors of color, in particular. Our presentations provide seniors with vital know-your-rights information and tools to fight back, and we encourage them to call our hotline for free legal assistance on a host of financial justice matters.
We tailor workshops to groups, and can cover a wide range of topics, from predatory debt collection to tenant screening reports and other barriers to fair housing. On debt collection, for example, we educate seniors about laws that exempt their limited income from debt collection, ways that debt collectors are restricted from contacting them, and concrete steps they can take if they believe their rights have been violated – including contacting our financial justice hotline.
On our hotline we frequently receive calls from seniors whose bank accounts have been “frozen,” making it impossible for them to cover basic necessities such as food, rent, or medicine. Many low-income seniors have experienced discriminatory and abusive debt collection as well as fraudulent and unfair banking practices. Seniors who contact our hotline typically live on fixed incomes, and these consumer financial justice issues threaten their financial security, not to mention add layers of stress and anxiety to their everyday lives.
In addition to equipping seniors with this important information, we seek to change the narrative about financial justice. Whenever possible we use individual stories to highlight broader patterns of financial exclusion and mistreatment, and to help seniors understand their situation in a broader context. We amplify ways that low-income New Yorkers and seniors are systematically targeted for financial abuse, and connect people’s personal struggles to neighborhoods, race, and class. At the beginning of one of our workshops a senior might think that her financial situation is a matter of personal circumstances. By the end, we hope she is not only equipped with information she can use to vindicate her rights, but that she can also tie her personal situation to larger issues of racial justice and economic inequality.
To schedule a know-your-rights workshop for your members or staff, write Nick at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at (212) 680-5100 x212. We look forward to hearing from you!