HARRY Bulletin Board
Updated Thru: 11/04/09
How Can HARRY
The Post–9/11 GI Bill VA
is now accepting applications for the Post–9/11 GI Bill benefit
that is effective August 1, 2009. Read more
Priority Group 8 Enrollment Relaxation Changes
VA eligibility rules changed on June 15, 2009, making it easier for more Veterans to enroll in VA’s health care system.
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Helping 2 Advocate 2 Research 2 Respond 4 You Inc. (HARRY)
Veterans Community Outreach Service
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An Upcoming EVENT!
“The Buffalo Soldiers” Greater North Carolina Chapter Announces the official unveiling of the “Historical Marker” of William McBryar, a Buffalo Soldier in the United States Army and a recipient of America’s highest military decoration – “The Medal of Honor” which was awarded for his actions in the Indain Wars of the western United States. McBryar was born in North Carolina and at one point lived in Greensboro. The enveling will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday 20 February 2010 at 905 East Market Street, Greensboro, North Carolina 27401 (accross the street from the old Post Office). The guest speaker for this historical ocassion will be District Court Juddge Lawrence McSwain. The unveling is free to the public.
“The Buffalo Soldiers” Greater North Carolina Chapter further Announces its 15th Annual Chapter Awards and Recognition Banquet which will be held at 6:30 p.m. (social hour) on Saturday 20 February 2010 at the Downtown Marriott, 304 North Green Street, Greensboro, North Carolina 27401. District Court Judge Lawrence McSwain will also be the Keynote Speaker for this event. The cost to attend the banquet is $60.00 per person and tickets can be purchased by contacting Trooper Leanna Rogers (704.516.4173), Trooper Willie Edley (704.577.4752) or Trooper Clint Browne (336.392.3546).
Proceeds from the Annual Chapter Banquet will be used for “The Buffalo Soldiers” Greater North Carolina Chapter Scholarship Fund.
ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION
(“The Buffalo Soldiers” Greater North Carolina Chapter is one of 24 nation-wide chapters of the Ninth and Tenth (Horse) Cavalry Association of "The Buffalo Soldiers", we are a patriotic military service organization, which exists for the purpose of carrying out the non-profit, educational objectives of the national association. Dedicated to sharing the legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers through community service, we love to tell the story of the Buffalo Soldiers in schools, churches, community centers, private corporations, and wherever people are interested in hearing this forgotten chapter of American history. We are and shall remain non-profit, non-partisan and non-political.)
Center for Responsible Lending Action Alerts
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Late last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009 (H.R. 4173), a package of reforms that is desperately needed to make our financial system safe and fair for Americans. CRL strongly supports the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, a key part of this proposal, which will offer common-sense rules of the road for all types of consumer lending, stopping abuses that pile on unnecessary costs or trap people in an endless cycle of debt.
Many—but not all—in Congress withstood intense pressure from the banking industry to weaken this agency. Your support for real reform was essential to the passage of a strong proposal.
How did your Representative vote? You can find out here. Check their vote and send them a note. Thank them if they voted for real reform, and if not, ask them why they stood with the banks and not mainstream Americans.
On to the Senate
Now the battle goes to the U.S. Senate, and our voices must be loud and united in calling for a strong and independent consumer-focused agency. Watch for updates as we call on the Senate to follow through on the good work in the House.
Banks pull bait-and-switch on debit cards
Banks pulled a fast one with debit card overdrafts
The best case for reforming bank overdraft programs is the fact that now, for many people, using a “free” debit card ends up costing them a lot of money. Congress is considering new rules to rein in the worst overdraft practices, a move we need to encourage.
It used to be safer to carry a debit card than a credit card, because it couldn't get you into trouble with debt. But now the large majority of bank and credit union customers are enrolled in overdraft programs where debit card transactions are routinely approved, even when their customers don't have the funds.
Debit card shortfalls average $17, so customers are in effect paying a very high fee, typically $34, to borrow a few dollars for a few days.
Learn more about why debit cards are dangerous.
The banks say that's what people want. We know, after hearing from thousands of you, that what you really want is fair treatment and a banking system you can trust.
Congress has heard you too, and now you can help stop the funny business in bank overdraft practices.
New proposals in the House and Senate are under debate. Both would make banks get your explicit permission before enrolling you in overdraft systems that charge high fees for small overdrafts. Both would stop unfair practices like re-ordering your debits from highest to lowest to cause more fees.
Tell your members of Congress today to support H.R. 3904 and S. 1799, no nonsense reforms of sneaky overdraft practices.
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Send a letter to the following decision maker(s):
Dr. Corey L. Moore, Rh.D., CRC, Distinguished Professor Endowed Chair of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. is seeking the support of Veterans Service Organizations for the funding a Field Initiated Project (FIP) (research category- 84.133G-1). He writes;
“We are developing a proposal for this FIP competition that will develop evidence-based best practice strategies that will assist African American Wounded Warriors, Gulf War and Vietnam War era veterans with disabilities to more seamlessly access vocational rehabilitation (VR) services and achieve positive employment and career outcomes. Langston University, in collaboration with the National Association for Black Veterans, Inc. (NABVETS), proposes to conduct a FIP that will generate findings and recommendations for improving African American veterans with disabilities’ access to Veterans Administration’s (VA) Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and Employment Program (VR & E- Chapter 31), State VR agency and community rehabilitation program (CRP) sponsored services. An abstract that summarizes the thrust of our efforts over the 3-year funding cycle is available upon request. Although the FIP will focus on African American veterans with disabilities, we believe that the generated findings and subsequent recommendations could be used to benefit all veterans with disabilities, regardless of race or ethnicity”.
In order to meet the application deadline date and process the proposal through University channels, your letter is needed by Wednesday, December 30, 2009. Because we are in the holiday season, you may find it more expeditious to fax your letter of support to my attention at
(406) 962-1638, or mail through U.S. Postal Service to the following address; Dr. Corey L. Moore,Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Distinguished Professor Endowed Chair of Rehabilitation Counseling,Dept. of Rehabilitation Counseling and Disability Studies,Langston University,4205 N. Lincoln Blvd., Oklahoma City, OK. 73105
2010 Census Jobs!
The U.S. Census Bureau is recruiting temporary, part-time census takers for the 2010 Census. These short-term jobs offer good pay, flexible hours, paid training, and reimbursement for authorized work-related expenses, such as mileage incurred while conducting census work. Best of all, census takers work right in their own communities.
For detailed information visit http://2010.census.gov/2010censusjobs/
VA Plan to End Vet Homelessness
Week of November 16, 2009
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki unveiled the department's comprehensive plan to end homelessness among veterans by marshalling the resources of government, business and the private sector. Shinseki's plan includes preventive measures such as discharge planning for incarcerated veterans re-entering society, supportive services for low-income veterans and their families, and a national referral center to link veterans to local service providers. Additionally, the plan calls for expanded efforts for education, jobs, health care and housing.
Read the entire press release to learn more about the VA's detailed plan to end Homelessness for veterans.
Public and Intergovernmental Affairs -Five-Year Plan Unveiled at Homeless Summit
NC Coalition News
NC Consumers protected by new housing and debt buyer laws
Several consumer protection laws went into effect in October, and another becomes effective December 1st. These laws are designed to further protect homeowners from unnecessary foreclosures, limit or prohibit judgments after foreclosure that can put already hurting homeowners thousands of dollars deeper in debt, protect homeowners from losing their homes due to debts unrelated to their mortgages, and protect consumers from abusive debt buyers.
Many groups deserve tremendous thanks for their efforts to pass this legislation. Though this doesn't begin to cover the range of groups that should be thanked, several of the most involved include the NC Attorney General's Office, the NC Justice Center and the NC Housing Coalition. We've listed the bill sponsors with the bills listed (along with sponsors of related bills).
S974 Consumer Economic Protection Act of 2009 (Sponsor: Senator Tony Rand. House Companion Sponsors (HB 930): Reps. Deborah Ross, Larry Hall, Grier Martin, and Dan Blue. Also incorporated language from HB 1059, Sponsors: Reps. Dan Blue and Pricey Harrison, and SB 954, Sponsor: Senator Martin Nesbitt)
S974, which had the strong support of Attorney General Roy Cooper, includes important new consumer protections in two distinct areas:
* Greater protections for homeowners during the foreclosure process, and
* Greater protections for consumers against abusive debt buying activities.
Foreclosure protections: This new law allows a clerk of court to continue (delay) a foreclosure hearing for up to 60 days for owner-occupied residential property if the clerk believes that additional time will increase the likelihood of resolving the delinquency without foreclosure. This delay gives homeowners more time to negotiate a workable and affordable loan modification or payment plan with the mortgage servicer, increasing their chances of saving their home. In addition, if a foreclosure of a principal residence is under appeal, the clerk of court shall require a bond on 1% of the principal balance owed on the loan. This amount may be waived in hardship cases, or increased if the clerk believes that waste or damage to the property is likely.
Debt buyer protections: This law sets new rules for companies that purchase consumer debts, and requires those purchasers to be licensed under the debt collectors statutes. In the past, these debt buyers have purchased old or stale debt (debt where the statute of limitations had expired) for pennies on the dollar. They then aggressively tried to collect on this debt, hoping of course to collect more than the small amount they paid.
One particular tactic this bill addressed was the use of lawsuits to gain judgments against the debtor on stale debt. Under the previous law, passage of the statute of limitations was a defense to a lawsuit. However, the debt buyers knew that the debtors were unlikely to be able to afford legal representation. Then, when the debtor did not attend the court hearing, the judge would enter a default judgment on behalf of the debt buyer. The debt buyer could then file a lien against the debtor's house and potentially force a foreclosure if the debt was large enough.
Under this new law, it is now illegal for debt collectors to bring a lawsuit or initiate arbitration proceedings if:
* They know, or should know, that the debt collection is barred by statute of limitations.
* They don't have complete documentation and clear proof of debt.
* They haven't given the debtor at least 30 days notice before filing legal action.
The law also increases the penalties for unfair debt collection from $2000 to $4000, and includes a private right to action.
Effective date: October 1, 2009, applies to foreclosures initiated, debt collection activities undertaken and actions filed on or after that date.
H1057 Abolish Certain Deficiency Judgments (Sponsor: Rep. Dan Blue. Senate Companion SB 819, Sponsor: Senator Fletcher Hartsell)
H1057 prohibits deficiency judgments on predatory home loans in North Carolina. A deficiency judgment can be pursued by the lender if a foreclosed home sells at auction for less than the mortgage on the home. For the increasing number of homeowners who owe more on their loan than their home is worth (upside down in their mortgage), deficiency judgments add tremendously to the hardship of losing their home. This law prohibits deficiency judgments for first-lien subprime or non-traditional loans (like payment option adjustable rate mortgages) made on or after January 1st, 2005, unless the lender takes the homeowner to court rather than use the power of sale through the clerk of the court. In court, the homeowner can raise defenses against the foreclosure that the homeowner could not raise before the clerk, which offers more protection for these homeowners. This new law does not apply to home equity lines of credit, reverse mortgages, construction loans, second liens, and manufactured homes not sold as real property.
The law also prohibits deficiency judgments on all subprime and nontraditional mortgages made after January 1st, 2010 regardless of the method of foreclosure.
Effective date: October 1, 2009, applies to actions filed after that date.
H1058 Increase Statutory Homestead Exemption (Sponsors: Reps. Dan Blue and Jennifer Weiss. Senate Companion SB 883, Sponsor: Senator Fletcher Hartsell)
H1058 significantly increases the amount of equity in their home that a homeowner can protect from creditors. This allows individuals with debt to keep their homes rather than having their home sold to satisfy a judgment. The law raises the NC homestead exemption from $18,500 to $35,000 per individual ($70,000 per married couple). If the homeowner is 65 or older, and previously owned the home with their deceased spouse, they can exempt $60,000.
Effective Date: December 1, 2009.
H1222 Mortgage/Rate Spread & High Cost Loans (Sponsor: Rep. Dan Blue)
H 1222 made technical and clarifying changes to the recent anti-predatory lending laws, which will make compliance with and enforcement of these laws easier.
Effective Date: October 1, 2009.
H1523 S.A.F.E. Mortgage Licensing Act (Sponsor: Rep. Dan Blue)
H1523, with the strong support of the NC Commissioner of Banks, rewrote the current NC Mortgage Lending Act (MLA) to conform to standards required under new Federal legislation. Though the bulk of the Act stays the same, some new protections were added, including:
* Increases the bond required for mortgage brokers from $50,000 for all brokers to a sliding scale of $75,000 to $250,000, depending on the broker's lending activity, and
* Explicitly states that the broker owes a duty of loyalty to the borrower and cannot make loans that are in the broker's best interest rather than the borrower's best interest.
Effective Date: Mostly July 31, 2009.
S465 – Fair Housing Act Amendment (Sponsor: Senator Floyd McKissick) Amends the NC Fair Housing Act to make sure "intent" and "disparate impact" are not required to make a claim for refusing a request for a reasonable accommodation or modification or for building design violations.
S810 – Affordable Housing-No Discrimination (Sponsor: Senator Floyd McKissick) Makes it a violation of the NC Fair Housing Act for local government to refuse to allow housing development because it's "affordable" for families below 80% of average monthly income (AMI).
H806 – Notice of Lien for Home Owners Association Assessment (Sponsor: Reps. Jennifer Weiss, Beverly Earle, Rick Glazier, and Tricia Cotham) Places new requirements on a homeowners association (HOA) prior to and subsequent to the filing of a lien for homeowner's dues, including a requirement that the HOA make "reasonable and diligent" efforts to track down the homeowner before filing a lien on the property. Failure to follow these procedures may raise grounds to challenge the lien and/or the subsequent foreclosure.
NC Housing Trust Fund – No cuts to recurring appropriation of $10 million each year. No non-recurring appropriation as in the past few years that provided funding for development of housing for people with disabilities.
NC Home Protection Program – No cuts to recurring appropriation of $3 million each year to help save homes from foreclosure due to lay-offs.
Again, many thanks to the NC Justice Center, not only for their hard work on these issues, but also for their excellent summary information for many of these new laws.
Please let me know if you have questions about these new protections. Also, watch for future Coalition updates on the Fight NC Foreclosures Campaign as well as the upcoming Joint Legislative Study Commission on the Modernization of the NC Banking Laws and the Consumer Finance Act.
Message from Derrick S. Boone, Ph.D.:
Greetings, I wanted to let you know about a great opportunity here at Wake Forest where you can get a FREE education and get PAID while you're doing it. Our Dean of the Schools of Business is the former CEO of PepsiCo and very committed to diversity. He's gone around to his CEO friends, who have agreed to donate a bunch of money to pay tuition and fees, provide a stipend, and a job, to diverse students. The details are below. The problem is, response to the program has been dismal! As a faculty member, I would be embarrassed for him to have to tell his CEO friends, "thanks so much for your donation, but unfortunately I have to give it back because we couldn't find Any students who wanted it." So, I need your help. Please contact me if you, or ANYONE you know is interested in the program. I want to help out as many young scholars as I can. Don't worry about whether or not you (or they) have taken the GMAT, etc. All you need to do at this point is JUST APPLY.
About the Program: The Master of Art in Management program is designed specifically for liberal arts majors only. The MA degree program is a 10 month intense study of the basic functional areas of Business. After graduation and working for approximately two years, all MA graduates are eligible to apply to Wake Forest as part of the MA/MBA joint degree program and get the MBA in one year. The new Dean, Steve Reinemund, has created a new scholarship for diverse students pursuing the MA degree called the Corporate Fellowship.
The Corporate Fellowship provides full tuition and a $21,000 stipend to cover living expenses. Additionally, each Corporate Fellow will participate in a practicum. The practicum has two components, educational and professional development. Each student will be assigned a mentor that is a high level executive with their sponsor corporation. The mentor will oversee an educational project covering 4 of the functional areas of business using their own corporation as the subject.
The student will visit the corporation 3-4 times during the program to present his/her results of their research project. Additionally, the "professional development" component of the fellowship provides career coaching and leadership development for the students.
The goal for the corporation is to be able to groom and hopefully, hire a top candidate from a diverse background for their organization. Of course, there is no obligation that the students accept any offer of employment. Still, the student benefits, even if they are not ultimately hired by their sponsor corporation in that they have the MA degree and the type of experience that will make them more marketable.