Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Don't Be A Victim: Protect Your Identity

Don't be a victim of identity theft, a growing problem in the United States.  According to John Walsh, Acting Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), “Over 10 million Americans were affected by identity theft last year. Consumers must protect themselves and become educated about identity theft to prevent and resolve problems.”

To help in this effort, the OCC has joined with others and has designated October 17 – 23, 2010 Protect Your Identity Week.   

From the OCC's press release this week:

WASHINGTON — The Office of Comptroller of the Currency has joined the public-private coalition that supports the third annual Protect Your Identity Week (PYIW), an initiative of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) and the Council of Better Business Bureaus (BBB). The week-long initiative, October 17 – 23, 2010, brings focus to the PYIW national campaign’s Web site and community events aimed at identity theft protection and education.

As part of this initiative, the OCC has made Web resources available that help consumers understand identity theft risks and how they may safeguard their personal information.

Consumers can find PYIW educational events in their area, hosted by local NFCC and BBB members, or other coalition partners, by visiting www.ProtectYourIDNow.org. Consumers can take advantage of identity theft workshops, onsite shredding and credit report reviews. The Web site also includes identity theft protection tips, videos, an interactive quiz to assess an individual’s risk of identity theft, and resources for victims. The Web site is also available in Spanish at www.CuideSuIdentidad.org. The OCC’s resources on identity theft may be accessed from the “Consumer Resources” section of the PYIW Web site.

Related Links:
OCC Fighting Identity Theft - http://www.occ.gov/Consumer/idtheft.htm

Celebrating the Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region's 25th Anniversary

The Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region is celebrating its 25th Anniversary on Monday, Oct. 25th from 5-7pm at the State Capitol.  This organization has been making loans available to small business owners, not-for-profit organizations and homeowners throughout the area, providing credit when it otherwise was unavailable or too expensive to access. 

TRIP was one of the very borrowers, helping us meet the financing gap on several of our earliest housing developments.  Since then, there is an illustrious list of Troy-based businesses or groups which have sought financing from the Community Loan Fund, including Olde Judge Mansion B&B, The Sanctuary for Independent Media, Ark Community Charter School, CafĂ© Deli-icious, Troy Community Food Coop, Xs to Os Vegan Bakery, Independent Living Center, Art Gallery, Friends of Washington Park (street resurfacing), TAUM, and more.

Through a $1 million award from the US Department of Treasury last year, the Community Loan Fund created a Residential Lending Committee to provide mortgages and repair loans, enabling homebuyers and homeowners some financing options. This is important given the current credit crunch which has made home loans very difficult to access. The first residential loan assisted a customer of TRIP's HomeOwnership Center.  

We appreciate the investment that the Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region makes in Troy!  For more information about the Celebration on October 25th, contact Linda@mycommunityloanfund.org.


Interest Rates are Low

The State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA) now has the lowest interest rates ever offered in 40 years. SONYMA's Low Interest Rate Program is at a rate of 4% and it's Achieving the Dream Program, for low-income first-time homebuyers, is at 3.5%!

SONYMA is dedicated to providing affordable home ownership opportunities to low- and moderate-income families in the State of New York by offering competitively-priced mortgages. SONYMA was created in 1970 with the mission of helping low- and moderate- income families become homeowners. It offers a variety of low down payment mortgages that provide below-market fixed interest rates, as well as closing cost assistance through a network of participating lenders across the state.

SONYMA offers six mortgage programs as well as mortgage credit certificates to assist you with the purchase of a home in New York State.  Each mortgage program features a competitive interest rate, low down payment requirements, no prepayment penalties and down payment assistance, while the mortgage credit certificates offer a federal income tax credit.  Each of these features are designed to make your home purchase more affordable.

For more information:


Visit www.triponline.org for more information about TRIP's HomeOwnership Center and how we can help you purchase a home.

Single Stream Recycling in Troy

Mayor Harry Tutunjian has announced that residents can now combine all of their recyclables into one container and no longer need to separate them.  This new process called “single stream recycling” makes recycling easier for the residents while incurring no additional costs to the city.

“Single stream recycling means you no longer have to keep paper and cardboard products separate from plastics, metals and other commodities.  Instead, you can place all of your recyclable materials into one blue recycling bin and not have to worry about what goes where,” said Mayor Tutunjian.  “Increasing the ease of recycling has been shown to reduce the amount of garbage that goes to our landfills.  Single stream recycling is a simple, environmentally friendly way to support ‘green’ practices all at no cost to our residents.”

According to their website, in December 2009, County Waste and Recycling launched Single Stream Recycling (SSR), which allows all recyclable materials – glass, paper, metal, cardboard and plastics – to be placed in the recycling bin for collection. Once collected, the recyclables are taken to County Waste and Recycling’s facility to be sorted and processed for shipment to recyclers.  The result, according to County Waste and Recycling, has increased recycling rates by 24% in the communities where it’s been implemented.

Tutunjian noted that for SSR to achieve its maximum effect, it’s important to note what not to recycle including: trash, pizza boxes, diapers, clothing, styrofoam, bottle/can caps or lids, food, compost, yard waste, electronics, and construction debris.

Tutunjian noted that the city’s recycling program has had a significant, positive impact on City finances, specifically in the area of avoided disposal costs. Annual solid waste disposal for the City averages $1.2 million. Through the curbside recycling program the City has saved an average of $115,000 annually.

Please be advised that collection containers should be placed for collection after 6:00 PM the night before your scheduled collection day.  If your recycling is not collected, please leave the container out and call the DPW dispatcher at 270-4579. 

For more information on the city’s program and list of acceptable items to recycle please visit www.troyny.gov/recycling.html.  To learn more about County Waste’s SSR program please visit www.county-waste.com/ssr.html.

Furnace Repair or Replacement

The Furnace Repair and Replacement Component of the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) is available to help eligible low-income home owners repair or replace furnaces, boilers and other direct heating components necessary to keep the home's primary heating source functional.

Furnace benefits amounts are based on the actual cost incurred to replace or repair the applicants’ furnace, boiler, and/or other essential heating equipment necessary to keep the home's primary heating source operational.

To receive a benefit, an application must be made in person at the local Department of Social Services and the applicant must receive a determination from the local department of social services that the applicant has met all established eligibility criteria, including established income and resource requirements. Benefits are paid directly to vendors after completion of all work for previously approved applications only.

Applications for furnace repairs or replacements are available at your local Department of Social Services office.

2010-2011 HEAP Benefit Gross Monthly Income Guidelines

Your total gross monthly income for your household size must be at or below the following guidelines:
Effective 10/01/10-9/30/11

Household Size
Maximum Gross Monthly Income
Each additional
Add $468

Questions regarding the HEAP program should be directed to your local Department of Social Services Office or the NYS HEAP Hotline at 1-800-342-3009.