Tag Archives: Cynthia Zwick

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ACAA honors Hildebrand, Schmaltz, Grijalva, Torres

Ginny Hildebrand, who is retiring this year as President and CEO of the Arizona Association of Food Banks, and Tim Schmaltz, Executive Director of the Protecting Arizona’s Family Coalition, have been named the 2013 Margie Frost Champions Against Poverty by the Arizona Community Action Association (ACAA).

This is the first time that two recipients will share the award named for Margie Frost, the longtime community activist and creator and former director of the East Valley Men’s Center, a facility for homeless men re-entering society.  Frost, the 1990 Mesa Woman of the Year and recipient of the 1995 Alma Blew Award for Most Outstanding Service to Humanity, died in 2006.

Hildebrand and Schmaltz, consistent and powerful advocates in the effort to reduce or eliminate poverty in Arizona, will receive their awards at the ACAA Statewide Conference (Strengthening Communities through Innovation, Investment, Inclusion) on Friday, May 10 at 11:15 a.m. at the Carefree Resort and Conference Center, 37220 Mule Train Road in Carefree.

The ACAA Leadership Award selection committee also will recognize:

• U.S. Representative Raul M. Grijalva with the 2013 Legislative Leadership Award for “his representation of the people of Arizona in helping to make a difference in the lives of those impacted by poverty,” according to ACAA Executive Director Cynthia Zwick.

• Pastor John Torres (JT) with the 2013 Beating the Odds Award for his “personal accomplishments and in beating the odds to overcome many challenges and obstacles to improve his life and give back to the community,” Zwick said.  Pastor JT overcame drugs, alcohol, gangs and prison to serve local social service and faith-based organizations in the West Valley.

Heart in Hand Awards, annual recognition of the contributions of individuals across the state in the battle to end poverty, will be presented to:

• Jack Davis, by the City of Phoenix Human Services Department

• Alice Tipton, by the Community Action Human Resources Agency (CAHRA), Pinal County

• Amy Schwabenlender, Valley of the Sun United Way, by Maricopa County Human Services Department

• Ana Robles, City of Somerton, Desert Valley Senior Center, by Western Arizona Council of Governments

• Reverend Rula Colvin, by Gila County Community Action Program

• Scott Coverdale, Community Home Repair Projects of Arizona, by Pima County Community Action Agency

• Harvey Grady, by Northern Arizona Council of Governments

• Elizabeth Archuleta, Chair, Coconino County Board of Supervisors, by Coconino County Community Services.

The two-day ACAA Statewide Conference features keynote addresses by Elizabeth Archuleta, Chair, Coconino County Board of Supervisors; Jennifer Brooks, State & Local Policy Director, Corporation for Enterprise Development; and Kimber Lanning of Local First Arizona.

Break-out sessions include key principles of Motivational Interviewing (Denise Beagley, Magellan Health Services of Arizona), Asset Building Strategy (Luis and Francisco Cervera, eMoneyPool), Moving Toward Evidence-Based Practice and Intro to the ROMA Next Generation Center of Excellence (Kelly McGowan, ACAA, and Sandra Mendez, National Association for State Community Services Programs (NASCSP), Building Healthy Client/Customer Relationships (Moe Gallegos, City of Phoenix Human Services Department), Mental Health 101 for Caseworkers (Denise Beagley), Create a Social Media Plan You Can Manager (Elise Peterson, Meridian Designs & Creations), Creating Hunger Free Communities (Amy Schwabenlender, Vice President Community Impact, Valley of the Sun United Way), Building an Effective Issue Campaign (Serena Unrein, Arizona PIRG), A Place at the Table Screening and Discussion (Ellen Teller, Food Research & Action Center); Becoming an Excelling Community Action Agency (Russ Spain, Eastern Idaho Community Action Partnership, Idaho Falls, ID); Viewing of “The Line” and Discussion (Laura Penny, Director, Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona); Affordable Care Act (Matt Jewitt, Children’s Action Alliance); and Save Our Home Arizona (Mickey Breen, Arizona Department of Housing, Save our Home Arizona).

For information or to register, visit www.azcaa.org or call (602) 604-0640.

Cynthia Zwick

Let the Sun Set on Debt Trap Loans

In 2008, more than 1.2 million Arizona voters said no, by a 2-to-1 margin, to triple-digit interest rates and special exemptions from the state’s usury laws for payday lenders by rejecting Proposition 200, which would have permanently legalized 300% APR payday loans in Arizona.  Since then, through bi-partisan efforts, the legislature and Arizonans have rejected several new attempts by lenders seeking carve-outs from the state’s consumer loan laws.

A recent news story conveys the urgency of why more work is needed to enforce and uphold the voters’ mandate.  The report showed that many title loans may simply be payday loans in disguise, only possibly worse since borrowers may be putting their car at risk.

While voters were smart enough five years ago to reject the Prop 200 ballot initiative, payday lenders obviously will try to do and say anything to hide their high-cost, predatory product.

Today, they’re simply hiding in the shadows of one predatory loan scheme – car title lenders – to continue their same old dollar-stripping ways.  Regardless of the name they use, it’s clear that it’s just more of same: triple-digit interest rates, putting checking accounts and cars of the most financially vulnerable at great risk and leading to a long-term cycle of repeat debt.

These types of loans ultimately push families into financial situations much worse than when they began – particularly in rural communities – with consequences including bankruptcy, delinquency on other bills, and ultimately bank account closures.

The Arizona Community Action Association, which provides services and programs to assist the vulnerable Arizonans and working poor stabilize their financial lives and move out of and away from poverty, works diligently to protect thousands of Arizona citizens from falling into title-loan type traps from which they may never escape.  These so-called lenders, many from out of state, must comply with laws protecting consumers from outrageous interest rates and predatory practices.

More than 80% of the readers responding to the recent article in The Arizona Republic were quick and to the point, characterizing car title lenders as “piranhas.”   This underscores the very clear public sentiment of the overwhelming majority of Arizona voters who demanded that the sun set on these types of predatory loans.

We appreciate the work of the legislature in preventing payday or other high-cost lenders from rolling back the voters’ mandate.  However, the abuses and tactics exposed by The Republic dramatically emphasize that targeted efforts must continue to ensure the voters’ mandate is both enforced and fully realized to end triple-digit interest rate debt trap loans.

Our community deserves nothing less.

 

Cynthia Zwick is the Executive Director of the Arizona Community Action Association.