ICARE Calls For Jacksonville Leaders To Fund Re-entry Center

March 28, 2017. WJCT.

More than 1,500 people were at Abyssinia Missionary Baptist Church in Jacksonville on Thursday for an assembly of the Interfaith Coalition for Action, Reconciliation and Empowerment, which continues to apply pressure to leaders about community problems.

Faith groups come together to help solve community problems

March 27, 2017. News4Jax.com

JACKSONVILLE, FL – More than 1,000 Jacksonville faith leaders from 38 congregations converged Monday for what they called a night of action.

Just a few of the topics discussed at ICARE’s Nehemiah Assembly were civil citations for juvenile offenders, resources for the homeless and how to revitalize Northwest Jacksonville.

Pumped up by pope, anti-poverty advocates joining Vatican summit in Calif

January 25, 2017. CatholicPhilly.com

WASHINGTON (CNS) — For 27 years, Pat Campbell-Williams has worked on Detroit’s West Side, organizing her neighbors to tackle tough economic justice issues. It’s good work, she acknowledged, but she didn’t know if anyone cared beyond the city limits.

SC Legal Services hires attorney to help victims of wage theft recover money

December 24, 2015. The Post and Courier.

Low-income workers in Charleston County who’ve been illegally shorted pay or benefits can now take advantage of the state’s only Wage Recovery Program, an outgrowth of the Charleston Area Justice Ministry’s yearlong effort to address the rampant problem.

Push on Again to Limit Payday Loans in KY

February 9, 2015. Public Service News.
FRANKFORT, Ky. – There is no limit in Kentucky on how much interest payday lenders can charge, but an effort is underway to change that.
PHOTO: Lawmakers in Kentucky are being urged to cap interest rates at 36 percent on payday loans offered at businesses like this one. Photo by Greg Stotelmyer.

PHOTO: Lawmakers in Kentucky are being urged to cap interest rates at 36 percent on payday loans offered at businesses like this one. Photo by Greg Stotelmyer.

Congregations and religious groups across the state are among those pushing lawmakers to cap payday loans at 36 percent. Jason Hall, executive director with the Catholic Conference of Kentucky, says the loans are a “debt trap.”

“It is a trap where people are forced to roll over one loan after another and it drains them of what resources they have.”

A bill filed in the Kentucky Senate (SB 32) proposes to cap interest and fees at the same level Congress has capped loans to military families.

The 36 percent cap is also where Kentucky law sets the ceiling for other types of small loans.

In Louisville, a group of congregations has banded together to push for the cap. The coalition calls itself CLOUT, short for Citizens of Louisville Organized and United Together. Jimmy Mills, vice president of CLOUT, attends Mosaic Methodist Church and says the lending rates boggle the mind.

“It’s just outrageous, it’s usury, it is overcharging,” Mills says. “It’s just taking too much money out of people who have the least amount of money.”

But the Kentucky Deferred Deposit Association, an advocate for the industry, says it’s a myth payday lenders prey on the disadvantaged. On it’s website, the association claims “most payday advance customers are working adults from the middle class.”

The trade group says regulating payday lenders would hurt consumers. Mills doesn’t buy that.

“They won’t do anything unless they are forced to,” he says. “Because they are making too much money the way it is.”

Mills says he’s for the cap on interest rates, in part, because he’s had a personal experience. He says he “bailed out” a family member who turned to payday loans because she was “too embarrassed to ask anybody for help.”