Montbello Speaks: Financial Consumer Protection


the district 11 council office and
montbello leadership cabinet present the second edition of montbello speaks in
partnership with the office of financial empowerment and the Denver office on
Aging good evening I’m Stacy Gilmore and I’m
the Councilwoman who represents district 11 and I’m honored to welcome you
tonight to a montbello speaks speakers bureau
event we have been working for the last three years with community members in
the montbello neighborhood to talk about the effects of gentrification
involuntary displacement what we really need to have in our neighborhoods to
make sure that our seniors can age in place that you have the financial
planning and resources to make sure that you’re able to transfer your asset on to
your children so that we’re looking at generational wealth building as well and
so thank you so much for being here tonight and at our second event we
started these recorded events to make sure that we were getting the
information out far and wide throughout the community we know that sometimes you
can’t come to a neighborhood meeting and so we wanted to have these available on
Channel 8 we’re gonna post them on YouTube and we would like you to share
them with your friends and family and other folks as well so that they’ve got
this information and so tonight we’re gonna be talking about financial
Consumer Protection there’s a lot of folks out there that are maybe not on
the up-and-up and so we want to make sure that you have the tools to make
good decisions and I would like to first thank the montbello leadership cabinet
it’s a group of registered neighborhood organization leaders community leaders
who have been so committed to this work and when we sat down and started talking
about our changing neighborhood the top things that came up were affordable
housing allowing our seniors to age in place but then financial empowerment and
financial literacy and so through your voice and your advocacy were able to do
these events I also want to thank the office of financial empowerment and the
office on Aging and we also have Perla Guyler who is here tonight and she
brought out the Denver connects mobile van which is a brand
new resource that’s in partnership with the City and County of Denver and Mayor
Hancock’s office to make sure that you have the resources right in your own
neighborhood and so it’s a mobile van and it’s for older adults it provides
resources and real time advice to you and so hopefully we’ll get a chance to
after this taping go out and check out that resource as well with the montbello
leadership cabinet we are always trying to grow the membership because there are
so many different topics and so many opportunities for people to learn more
that we want to make sure that you get involved as well and so if you are
watching this on television if you’re here tonight please get involved with
montbello leadership cabinet you can contact me or any of my staff members
and with that we’re going to go ahead and get started the presentation is
financial Consumer Protection and it’s presented by the Denver office of
financial empowerment and the two gentlemen that are going to be with us
here tonight are Alvin Tafoya he’s the program manager and Ron Ojeda the
Consumer Financial Protection coordinator
again for the office of financial empowerment here you go Alvin how’s everybody doing this evening doing
good I just want to go through a quick exercise just to kind of get a fill the
room and just to really engage you how many of you received some kind of
banking credit score or loan training or class when you were in high school okay
got one here how about while you were in college how many of you learned these
about these things through your parents do they systematically teach you all
that when you’re growing up okay we got a few more hands up so basically the
office of financial empowerment really wants to take all the guesswork out of
that it shouldn’t be an organic process in which you grow up you start learning
about banky and you start learning about checking you start learning about how
important your credit score is and how that could impact you financially so you
know so that’s really what we’re engaged in and what we do we serve families we
serve individuals we actually serve small businesses as well we want to
empower them to be able to make sound financial decisions so that they can be
come successful and so with that I’m going to go ahead and move forward with
the presentation give you a little bit of background about how we started where
we came from so Mary Michael B Hancock supported us back in 2013 along with all
council members City Council members supported us and they have been
supporting us ever since basically what we have been able to do since then is
grow our program from what it was to what it is today today we’re serving
about nine we have nine coaching centers throughout the City and County of Denver
you can walk in or call them and set up an individual appointment they’ll
provide you coaching sessions and teach you about all the banking type of
products and to get your arms around your finances
some of the things that we do or will help people better understand their
credit will help them to reduce their debt will also provide them small loans
if they need to and we’re also working with other financial institutions large
banks and small and credit unions to develop banking products that help
support low to moderate income families and so we’re really working on helping
individuals at any place in their lifespan to move forward and kind of
discuss what you talked about get to a place where you can do some wealth
development and transfer wealth onto your family so they can kind of go
through this – Jen process and move that forward
like I said Murphy Hancock supported us back in 2013 along with City Council
ultimately you know our job is to work with residents economic mobility
stabilize families individuals in small businesses we forgot that in this
PowerPoint but I wanted to throw that out there develop solutions through
programs policies and practices to stabilize families and individuals and
so one of the things we worked on was prop 111 to help reduce the amount that
a lenders payday loan centers can charge an individual for a payday loan and so
today because that law was passed they can only charge up to 36% and we still
think that’s a little bit high but we’re working on alternative products so that
we can work with individuals which is ultimately the goal to get them into
banking products that they’re eligible for so you guys are probably the first
to hear this in the communtiy we used to be office of financial empowerment but
now we’re the office of financial empowerment and protection the reason
why I remove to protection is because Ron’s going to come up in a little bit
and discuss the Consumer Fraud and Protection Division
we were putting together right now so you guys have actually kind of learned
about it the first time we met with you we’re continuing to move that forward
and we’re gonna roll that out here pretty soon and so a little bit more
about the program the ecosystem here the five pillars of financial stability
basically these are particular items here were we aligned ourselves with
Mayor Michael B Hancock’s priorities which were the five pillars that you see
here basically stable housing it’s important to have transportation
childcare and education jobs training and entrepreneurship and
health the one common thread and all of these things here if you’re unable to
meet your basic needs in any one of these areas you’re struggling
financially if you can’t afford to take your child to childcare you’re
struggling because then who’s gonna watch your child or children can you go
to work if your car breaks down can you drop the kids off at childcare can you
make it to work do you have a safety net fund that’ll help you to move that
forward and move it forward rather quickly and so even in the stable
housing or if you don’t have a job where you have a job where you’re not making
enough money that meets all your bills you’re struggling and all of us who
struggle financially at different times in our lives and it puts a lot of stress
on a family not being able to pay your bills or only being able to pay a
portion of your bills or having to cut back on groceries and nutrition to take
care of your family and your children these are all things that kind of impact
the family what we’ve learned through our evaluation is the services that we
provide to the families individuals and small businesses for every dollar we
invest we get a $5 and 56 cents return on investment that goes back into the
community so this is why we’ve been able to continue our work since 2013 because
it’s a sound business practice young men and women people of color in
the community it shouldn’t have to be something you learn organically we want
to teach you how to handle your finances from day one till the day you retire
until the day you transfer your property to your children and hopefully creates
that cycle that they do the same for their children save some money get and
go to college and so on and so forth go ahead run so why our work is sustainable
and the internal funding sources have created a stable platform for financial
coaching and evaluation we don’t do any work without evaluating it to make sure
that we’re putting our money into places that have the most impact and so by
teaching people financial empowerment we believe that that’s that’s the best
investment we can do helping each individual to become successful
so how this kind of started seed funding from financial empowerment centers back
in 2013 the city of Denver received six hundred thirty three thousand each year
for three years from the city of financial empowerment and the Bloomberg
philanthropies to create the Denver financial empowerment centers epi C
program so we had seed funding and since then we today our budget is 2.8 million
part of that is funding so we do a lot of fun development we work with
philanthropies to develop funds banks to donate dollars so that we can continue
to build products that low to moderate income families can access so they can
stabilize their financial household and move them forward so here’s our
evaluation investment and evaluation measurable outcomes as I stated
previously but it’s on the previous slide but again $5 for every dollar we
span five dollars and 56 returns back to the community we also learned that as
somebody’s in foreclosure that five dollars and 56 cents actually goes up to
eleven dollars so for every dollar we spend in helping the family to avoid
foreclosure we actually save money in the long run and put 11 dollars back
into the community now from our perspective it’s really more about cost
avoidance right if somebody gets evicted somebody gets foreclosed on now they’re
out in the community probably need public assistance probably need to food
assistance Medicaid these types of things if we can stabilize them keeping
them home keep those children in the school which they were attending where
they have all their friends and colleagues and keep you know mom and dad
working and the job that they’re in but keep them in the home that’s critical
and I think that’s what Councilwoman Gilmore talked about making sure that
you can age in place in your home and have a chance for wealth when it’s time
some of the other cost benefits are total clients
served over the years to be served 8,192 total debt reduction over that same
period of time for these 8,000 individuals is more than 5 million
dollars so people are kind of like well where’d you get 5 million dollars well
part of it is if somebody goes and files bankruptcy the companies that you know
the money’s out to they don’t get anything in some cases so we go in and
we help negotiate that debt and that payback and so that’s basically where we
get our five million dollars reduction total savings more than 1.5 million we
help families begin to understand the concept to save you money put some money
away for a rainy day right we all know it’s gonna rain lately here in Denver
it’s been raining quite a bit but you know that’s really what it’s about
creating a rainy day fund we call it a safety net so when that car breaks down
and you live and paycheck to paycheck in the mechanic towels you cost $750 to
fix it you go to your rainy day fund and you get it fixed you’re back on the road
by Monday dropping your kids off at school or at childcare you’re heading
off to work or to school which work towards that degree you know it’s a bump
in the road but as it doesn’t take you down so you know that’s kind of what
we’re trying to help people understand the benefits of savings and then tax
impacts we work with D ABC Denver business asset coalition and every year
we support them to provide free tax prep to low to moderate income individuals
and families and within that debt scope we’ve served over 20,000 individuals and
families and we’ve helped them to save thirty five million dollars so that
comes in the form of the $300 or $350 you’re gonna paid for somebody to prep
your taxes plus they’re experts at it they make sure you get every possible
deduction that you’re eligible for so you can get a maximum return on
on your taxes if you’re eligible and so that’s 35 million imagine what we could
do if we expand our services across the Greater Denver area and possibly even
the state right how many more families we can support and so we’ll go ahead and
go to the next slide that’s nothing okay so just real quick
I’m gonna go ahead and pass this on to Ron Ojeda he is the program coordinator
for the Consumer Fraud and Protection Division Ron has been working really
really hard over the last two years to get this in place just real quick just a
little history note here when Trump was running for president he basically
stated that he was going to do away with the federal Consumer Fraud and
Protection Division and Jay solace had the foresight to have a conversation
with the mayor and Mayor Michael B Hancock basically stated you know when
they go low we go local right when they go low we go local and so basically what
we started doing was laying the foundation in the ground were to prepare
our own consumer fraud and protection divisions because we believe that the
citizens in our community deserve it and so without further ado I’ll go ahead and
pass this on to Ron Oh Heather thanks hi everybody
yes that’s he took my first slide my tiniest but but it had all serious
though in all seriousness about two-and-a-half years ago is when this
initiative started for the Consumer Financial Protection Division and that’s
right we did the mayor in discussions with Jay solace thoughts as though it
was going to be foisted upon the municipalities the cities around the
country and states also that if the federal government wasn’t going to do
something then the cities had to take on this job themselves and protecting our
residents and and in fact they all work work was being done by some of the
states but each each state has its own way of approaching consumer financial
protection and and usually it’s a it’s a it’s a function of resources and
bandwidth if you if you will they can only do so much with what they
so once again this is how we wound up starting the initiative and saying what
it is that we could do for our residents what we did was we started off with
about a 13 rather 13 different issues that through our research we found were
important to the residents of the City and County of Denver and we weren’t
going to sit there and take down less than 13 and try to tackle that because
we would fail too broad too much at one time so we needed to narrow it down to
something that was a manageable process and we were going to make these
decisions in a dark room so what we did instead as we hit convenings
with about 25 different government agencies about 40 or so not-for-profit
agencies all agencies that are organizations there were outward facing
organizations that actually serviced our community in one way or another so that
they had a good feel for what was going on and in their process we were able to
narrow down to five issues and those five issues are wage theft elder
financial abuse fair lending fair housing practices and notario fraud
though this was still a large project we still had to have some way in which we
managed it so what we did was we broke these 75 issues down into different
components those components were political will they were education and
outreach was a policy policy work it was monitoring and enforcement and one other
very important piece that was an advocacy and the reason the advocacy is
in there is that when people are victims of these kind of crimes or wrongdoings
by bad actors for example wage theft when someone isn’t busy living
month-to-month or paycheck to paycheck and they don’t get paid for a month
this creates all kinds of other issues and problems in their lives and the
spiraling effect happens in their life and what happens is that all of a sudden
they can’t pay the rent they can’t pay their mortgage they can’t food on the
table they can’t pay their utilities they need someone to have to stabilize
them so in taking these five issues then what we
did is we we went to our policy review committee at the city the policy review
committee allows gives us permission if you will to move ahead on policy work or
for example for example like a new ordinance and they felt as though we
needed to focus even more at least initially with our efforts through a
confluence of events and that decision that was made in their room
we focused we started to decide on focusing on wage theft wage that there’s
an issue industry in the state of Colorado that is something that a lot of
people don’t they they hear about it they hear the term and it’s difficult to
tell what it really is the fact is there’s about three-quarters of a
billion dollars in wage theft in the state of Colorado every single year so
what is wage theft wage theft is now receiving overtime pay employee missing
classification what that means is that you have people that are working for you
and instead of paying them as an employee with a w-2 you’re paying them
with 1099 income so if you’re not taking other deductions but what you’re also
not doing is you’re not paying insurance it’s just some unemployment insurance in
obtaining workman’s comp you’re not paying that seven and a half percent of
the FICA contribution that everybody has to pay toward and every paycheck minimum
wage violations working off the clock well we know you’ve already punched out
but can you do that for me there’s only taking 15-20 minutes that’s wage theft
the illegal deductions from your pay such as for equipment and uniforms and
there’s there’s other airborne sidious forms of wage theft and now and I’ll
give you an example because what we did is also we work with we work the unions
and we actually had for example people in the construction industry come to us
and we said what kind of things are going on what kind of mechanisms our bad
actors using out there to cheat you out of your wages I’ll give you one great
example this is somebody for the Carpenters Union told us a story of
employment contractors when you’ve got a large general contractor and he needs
150 people to work a job he goes and he gets an employment contract I’ll get
those 150 people to come and work for him that
first Friday their first paycheck okay they had employment contract it goes
into his employee and it gives them that paycheck and he says if you want to come
back to work on Monday you’re gonna give you that paycheck back
they take their paycheck and they cash that paycheck for them they take a
little haircut off the top maybe five percent of their paychecks then they
give them the cash these are things that really happened it happens every day in
the city of County of Denver so what in in going after for example wage theft we
have a couple of different we have a couple of different initiatives that we
believe can offer solutions to residents of the City and County of Denver one of
the things that we’re going to do is we have developed a complaint management
system as a complaint management system we plan on opening it up to start
receiving complaints it’s looking like possibly end of GA end of June it’s kind
of a soft date this complaint management system is a sales force based system so
it’s we had to have our IT department help us to develop it they are you know
they’re all you know with IT it’s always one little thing get even the way to get
it completed and they’re into a little glitch so it’s got another week or two
weeks delay but when we do open this system what’s going to happen is if
people are gonna be able to call in a complaint through our 3-1-1 system we
will have a call center within a call center so and this is going to be the
person taking those calls abilities specially trained in taking care of of
people we have issues with wage theft and if you can’t call two three one one
you’re also going to be able to file a complaint online through our website
which is also in the process of being developed and then the third way is you
can also come in to one of our nine financial coaching centers and put a
complaint in in person now no matter what three doors you use to file a
complaint that complaint will be put into our sales force based system and
our navigator will then have asked that person one important question in
addition to getting all the information we need to to help and bring the ring
that complaint to resolution what is the resolution you are looking for what do
you want what do you need do you need your money back maybe all you really are
looking for as an apology letter it took me forever to get that to get paid took
me three months I finally got the money but this guy is not a good actor he’s
making everybody wait I just wanted you people to know maybe watch it maybe but
maybe instead maybe what he wants as he knows that he was he was the money this
money was stolen from him maybe he wanted to go to the attorney
general’s office or the district attorney’s office something these as
part of the complaint management system we plan on offering a number of
different solutions for people to get the resolution so now that they’ve not
they’ve submitted the complaint they’ve told us what they’re not running on the
resolution what’s going to happen is we’re not going to send I’ll refer that
complaint to the appropriate government agencies so that they can properly have
the complaint filed and it’s another example miss classification of worker
you have somebody who has has been told that there are 1099 there they’re really
not an employee this could happen this could have been a year and a half after
a person’s paid all said they’re doing their taxes and they realized oh my god
I owe all this extra money why because they’re self-employed they’re paying
self-employment tax in addition to the regular taxes at or they get into an
accident on site they find that they have no disability so they wind up in
this Holland so what will happen is that um excuse me I always I always get very
emotional about these things but what will happen then is that the complaint
will be go to like beacon Colorado Department of Labor and Employment all
right and they will start the process of investigating – the complaint to find
out if there’s a basis for it try to get to the money back now okay let’s go back
to the advocacy piece what will then happen is that this person has been paid
for two months we’re going to send them to true for rental assistance we’re
going to send them to an appropriate not-for-profit organization so they
get free legal help these are the tools that we want to bring to our to our
folks we don’t want to just say you know you should really call this person up
and send them into a black hole now another really important part of this is
that if they haven’t heard back from the agency or the not-for-profit
organization that we’ve referred them to they can call back and get the status or
their complaint from us because right now for example if you call the AG’s
office of the DA’s office and you have a complaint unless that complaint rises to
the level of a crime unless it hurts a certain dollar threshold and unless
there’s enough complaints on the same bad actor they can’t do anything about
it and they admit it I mean we’ve had both of these offices in our coalition
for well over a year and a half two years in some cases and they know that
they can’t do it all which is why they welcome the efforts of the Consumer
Financial Protection Division because you have to ask yourself the question
and they also ask themselves the question is that good enough for the
residents of the City and County of Denver and it’s not so that when that
navigator takes in that complaint his role is to stabilize the family
situation first and foremost because we’re gonna look to bring a resolution
within 60 days for people on complaints now we know that if it falls into the
legal system it’s gonna take more time it just naturally will however we’re
going to try to bring that resolution to the resident 60 days but in the meantime
we’ve got to get them some help so that’s very important to stabilization a
legal assistance which I’ve already talked about another part of the process
is mediation in many cases what we’re looking to do is we’re just trying to
get them their money back so we’re going to provide mediation services for our
residents also to get the both parties at the table and make sure that that
we’ve taken every opportunity prior to put it into the legal system to try to
get them the money back setting realistic expectations I think
we’ve been trying to be very careful about that since the beginning of the
initiative we’re trying not to over promise there’s there’s no system that
can take care of everything in this perfect way but we have to start
somewhere so putting this complaint management system in place helps us to
get the opportunity to give people some place to go to get their complaint file
and get them the help that they need next slide so what’s next from the copd
as I said we had five issues that were going after we’re starting with wage
that the next four issues elder financial abuse
I’ll speak briefly on that with elder financial abuse we’re very fortunate
that our office will not or our division rather will not have to put quite as
much a detailed effort into into creating new infrastructure to help
people and that is because there’s already infrastructure in place through
the DA’s office the attorney general’s office the Denver Police Department the
reporting rules that already exist such as that if you find that you don’t know
there which is very whether it’s related or unrelated to you and you feel as
though they’ve been taken advantage of by a bad actor and people have done
something wrong to them in regard to hurting them financially the law says 72
hours within 72 hours you must report that to the local police department so
once again we’re fortunate to have partners that that have been part of
this process that is a DA’s office AG’s office DPD so we’re going to do funding
elder financial abuse very shortly after we start with wage theft because once
again we don’t have to create this broader infrastructure to do it fair
housing practices but fair housing practices this is a very broad topic for
people in the city of Denver gentrification is only one of the aspect
of fair housing the fact is there we go and I’m sure a number of people in this
room I know I know we can’t come up with several stories of people who have been
left to their own devices in a property that is barely livable where they have
no they don’t have hot water they haven’t had heat for six months we
had a story of a 91 90 year old woman with a 60 year old handicapped son who
hadn’t had heat in three three months and this was a Christmas Fair landing we
in regard to fair lending there’s that there’s a number of different a number
of different issues in regard to fair lending and that covers everything from
prop 111 which Alvin mentioned which is payday lending to simply being traded be
being treated by like a financial adviser unfairly I was I was a financial
adviser a licensed financial adviser series 7 for 30 years and I ran into
enough of it out there to know that there’s a lot of great financial
advisors in the business but the fact is you only need one you only need one to
take advantage of a lot of people and in one particular instance had somebody who
came to me who was the niece of a woman who was about eight years old she was
suffering from the early phases of Alzheimer’s have been taken advantage of
by a bad financial advisor who clearly was doing it for his own purposes cost
her a great deal of money and what was his specialty take care of elders of
course right but and nobody we we went through the steps of reporting his
action to the Department of Insurance to the attorney general’s office remember
what I told you about once you went to the financial system things could take
time it took four years to indict him but they did finally get them notario
fraud a lot of people don’t know what tutorial fraud is otário fraud primarily
affects immigrant and refugee communities a notario is the thing that
exists in mexico for example though tarios are people of official position
that help people in doing different licensing but and other services that
governments provide but they also help people through it like the driver’s
license if they need help and paperwork so they could travel to another country
in our country no tire you do not exist but in Hispanic communities dotted
throughout this country you will see sanitary O’s and so you have people out
there probably posing themselves as something and then charging services to
say oh I can help you get that driver’s license I can help you with your
immigration paperwork but they can’t they have no standing in this country
but they charge people for these services services they’ll never get so
we’re working toward trying to find solutions and we for for reducing or
eliminating rather than otário fraud I I did want to say one more thing one more
thing that we’re working on is we are working on an ordinance that is a
Consumer Financial Protection Ordinance a lot of people they use the letters an
acronym called you damn you da ap as stands for unfair deceptive and abusive
acts and practices there are not a lot of cities in the United States who have
this kind of consumer protection law we are in the process of drafting an
ordinance that will be very specific in the remedies that are available to
people and what the Consumer Financial Protection Division can do in regard to
taking these bad actors off the street and this does not by the way it’s not
being done so by the CFPB it’s being done by the City and County of Denver we
have partners such as excise and licensing pay license businesses the
district attorney’s office the city attorney’s office the auditor’s office
who are helping us in drafting this document to bring formal protections in
these issues for the residents of the city a county of death now introduce Perla Caylor in our office
on Aging thank you Ron every time I listen to Ron I learned something new so
always good to listen to the office of financial empowerment Thank You
Councilwoman Gilmore for having the office on Aging represent tonight and
for all of you coming out and listening to what we have to say I’m really
excited to talk about the office on Aging and some of the new programs that
we have come that launched this year did you know that by 2060 older adults which
are seniors will outnumber children for the first time in US history so we’re
gonna have more older adults then we’re gonna have younger people and who’s
gonna help us take care of older adults who’s gonna build the infrastructure to
take care of our older adults to help with caring for your parents caring for
my parents and so there’s just a lot of need that we need to start thinking
about before we get to that time right so the office on Aging we did a survey
not a survey but we did a audit I guess of every city department and we assessed
how are you responding to older adults Parks and Rec how are you responding to
older adults public public safety how are you responding to older adults do we
have the services we need to take care of our older adults and so what we came
up with if you’ll go to the next slide is that although we have all these
resources and services in within our city Department a lot of our older
adults don’t know about them and so what you don’t know you can’t access right
and so we want to make it easier for you not only to get the information for the
resources and services you need but to access them as well we know that our
older adults have challenges getting to city facilities you know you have to go
to Castro for Denver Human Services you have to go to another building for you
know Medicaid or or snap so it’s it’s a lot of transportation
challenges it’s a lot of time challenges if you’re a diabetic and you’re waiting
in the office for two hours that’s not what we want to see we want to be
helpful and so what we what we saw is that the numbers in Denver are growing
we’re gonna see a 28% increase in our older adults in our seniors by 2024 if
we’re gonna see 75 and older forty-one percent increase so right now we have
fifteen percent population of Denver is older adults that’s going to be well
over 20 percent by that time so we really want to make sure that what we’re
doing is relevant what we’re doing is helping you age in place and stay in
your homes but also be able to help you if you have a neighbor that’s having a
problems what do you do how do you help them so one of the areas we saw is
communication how do we communicate to our older adults we saw this as a
challenge because not a lot of older adults access information from their
cell phone or they don’t go to the internet you know some of them don’t
have computers so how can we make sure we get information to people take
information to where people are versus having them try to find a way to get to
us right because sometimes you’ll call the city and you’ll get transferred to
another number or you’ll get transferred to another number and it’s not because
nobody wants to help you it’s because sometimes we call that number and that’s
not really where we need to be we want to bring those resources and services to
you to you to make sure that you know what is available to you to where you
are so we came up with this idea called Denver Connect Denver Connect is a
mobile pop-up office so we just launched April 12th right here in this very
montbello rec center and we we got the money from grants not from the city but
we partnered with the attorney general’s office for a grant to purchase the
vehicle and then we partnered with doctor
Area Agency on Aging to get a staff person so this is how this program is
starting it’s a two-year pilot if it goes really well they want to launch it
in the state of Colorado and then this could even go nationally so we really
want to we we feel like this is great to start in Denver just because of the
sheer numbers of the people we need to help but this will be really helpful for
people who live in rural areas who don’t really have access to any kind of help
so we’re excited to be the city chosen for this innovation and we’re really
excited to share this information with you today so how does it work we right
now are starting to go out in the van all over Denver we’ve been going to
Denver Housing Authority we’ve been going to events for example tomorrow
night we’re going to a senior prom over on Quebec Street and so we’ll take
our van out there and start sharing information about how you can age in
your place and people will say well I live in my house but my property taxes
have gone up and I need help paying for this we will connect you with the
service that it gives you a rebate to help you pay your property taxes will
help you fill that application we’re also going to do applications for leap
so if you have challenges paying your utilities and you need some help there
we’re gonna help you connect you with that application with snap whatever that
service is we’re going to help you maybe you don’t even know what the service is
that you need and you tell us your problem we’re gonna try to help you with
that right there and then one of the areas that I feel is is significant and
I put out this book every year and and we’re about to go publish it but this
older adult resource guide it’s online it’s on our Denver gov aging website but
it also is I give a lot of copies to council women as office where we pass
these out and these are resources to help you with any problem you have you
need dental care there’s some dental agencies listed in here that will help
you based on your income you need someone to fix your
porch because the site of its falling off brothers redevelopment is listed in
here you need a handyman you need service to go emergency service you need
fraud and prevention it’s all in here and so we want to want to give you the
materials that you need so that you can take care of yourself you can take care
of a friend you can take care of whoever you need by accessing these resources so
Denver Connect new program we’re gonna be coming out to my Bello I think June
the third week of June and I’ll let Councilwoman Gilmore know she’ll put it
in her newsletter we’re gonna come out to montbello banner I believe and we’re
gonna work with do some work with the Latino age wave and then if you any of
your groups want us to come out and meet with your your people and we’ll bring
the coffee and donuts and we’re happy to sit with you and just talk about you
know what services we have but also we want to hear from you we want to hear
from you what are you experiencing how can we better serve you from the office
on Aging so it’s really about getting information to you bringing you back the
information you need and helping you stay in your home helping you age and a
healthy vibrant way that you’re feeling like you can live in your community and
stay in your community so I really appreciate you giving me the mic tonight
to come meet with you and if there’s anything I can do to help my numbers in
this book and I love coming out to montbello so thank you very much well
thank you Perla and Alvin and Ron and so now it’s a chance for you to ask any
questions that you might have and so I know we’ve got Megan and Melissa here
and are there questions that folks might have yes Ron will give me the mic there
thank you very much for this I already seen like a new services from
everyone at that spoke and some might have contact some of the agencies but I
needed good follow through on the things we have there are so many things in our
situation that need to be addressed and I look forward to meeting with each
individual to let them know my concerns are perfect well and and that might be a
you know idea that we can make sure that the Denver connect mobile resource van
is here and we just have maybe two or three hours where there’s time for folks
to go and have specific questions or sit down with folks and we’ve got Miss Anne
here yeah thank you very much for being here I have a I just wanted to make a
comment about the consumer protection part of it when you were mentioning
about the wages for the state of Colorado for 30 years and retired and I
would did the workforce piece and the wage and hour and I know there were lots
of individuals that we had referred to wage an hour and it would take them a
long time to get mediation or get the problem solved so it’s great to see that
in a city in County of Denver we have those resources available for those
individuals now where they don’t have to jump through so many hoops because we’d
have to send them here and send them there and they didn’t have the resources
so it’s great to see that those amenities are in our city now and so I
applaud your group and mayor and everyone for bringing those resources in
City Council to us City okay thank you I think we’ve got Terry here and then mr.
Murray I have actually two questions one for Perla
she was saying that this was a pilot so what do you have to meet numbers or what
needs to happen for it to continue yes I do I so right now I’ve been going out
into different events and communities and what I’m trying to find out is what
challenges are happening in different zip codes so I need to talk to at least
750 people by end of June so any way you can help me would be great and you know
each district has different challenges we don’t want to reinvent the wheel we
want to make sure that we’re leveraging our city sources and our community
partners our nonprofits that do this work already and so if there’s something
that’s amazing and working in ma bellow how do we take that to Westwood so we
really want to make sure that we’re using what we already have and if
there’s a gap then let’s talk about that and see how we can make it happen to fix
that so yes I do need to talk to 750 people by end of June and here we are at
the 11th hour but I’m really excited about it so and it’s a pilot in a sense
that you know when you do a pilot you tweak it along the way it’s never
perfect when you first start so I’m people are excited about this it’s hard
to to navigate the city system and so I think this is a great solution to
bringing information to where people are but also hearing from people to take
back and say hey we need to work on this so thank you thank you and my other
question is for Ron in the wage apportion that you as you
refer to them as bad actors so you at one point you said getting the
individual and the bad actor I guess at the same table my question is is that
some of this these folks I’m assuming they’d still be in their employment
situation so what prevents that bad actor from firing them you know or yeah
retaliation yeah well we we are going to have a portion of the ordinance that
deals with retaliation in regard to protecting that that residents rights I
don’t know exactly what the wording is going to people we’re extremely aware of
the idea of retaliation in these instances a large portion of the people
who are victims of wage theft is some of the more aggressive ways that I
mentioned are people who tend to be at-risk populations they’re at a
disadvantage because a lot of them are undocumented workers there are lower
income workers who may not have the ability to or the knowledge of you know
what their true rights are especially when it comes to non undocumented
workers though so we’re very aware of the idea of retaliation and wanted to
make sure that we do protect our residents in that case one of the things
that we are considering as part of the overall complaint management process is
to possibly have a third party organizations such as censoring about
otário which is an organization in the city of Denver that helps undocumented
workers in regard to these kinds of situations and also under getting an
employment day workers for example and also an organization called towards
justice towards justice is out of Colorado but it’s an organization of
about 120 attorneys nationwide who handle specifically wage theft issues
and workers rights so these are these are strong parts of our coalition and we
are listening to them and actually the executive director of towards justice is
on that task force to create that so we wanted to make sure that the we’ve
got voices being heard from both sides of the aisle it’s not just a bunch of
politicians in the room yeah trying to create something without without that
again put we’ve been very very deliberate about using a very
collaborative process to make sure we’ve heard the voices of the residents of the
City and County of Denver in our work every step of the way to the extent we
can and obviously Canada 600,000 people in a room clamoring for something with
nothing will get done but but in a very measured logical way we’ve used this
process and we think that we’ve gotten a lot of a lot of good a lot of good
feedback from organizations in the community about our work so thank you
for asking that it’s very very important it’s a major thing that were thinking of
what we’re very concerned about it too definitely in to follow up on that we’ve
also been working with local unions as well and we’ve brought together the
district attorney’s office but then also some different city agencies to talk
more about it and really shine a light on it because if someone is withholding
your paycheck or intimidating you or stringing you along we need folks to
come forward and to not be afraid and even if you are someone who is
undocumented we need to know that information and within the City and
County of Denver we’re not concerned about your immigration status at all we
just want to make sure that our residents are supported and that they’re
not being victimized in construction careers or different industries and so
we just want to make sure that we’re shining a light on it and that if
somebody you know is trying to get a job via Facebook or Craigslist beware and
and so where we can help within the city as well to just let people know that it
exists out there as well mr. Murray well I want to bring up two peas and I’d
like to hear from the folks that spoke to us to address it preventative and
punitive in all the areas that you covered in regard to preventative and a
number of these things such as will example for in wage theft or an elder
financial abuse what we have found is that education is probably the number
one solution to helping to stem some of the problems that are being caused out
there by I call them bad actors and the bad actors could be a family member in
the cases of elder financial abuse because almost 75% of elder financial
abuse is unfortunately perpetrated by a family member or caretaker or a close
close friend Cary and in the case of wage theft prevention can take the play
take the take the form of for example somebody had mentioned apprenticeship
programs and apprenticeship programs what the city is pushing for now is we
are pushing that in city projects that where city dollars are being spent
fifteen percent of the workers that are being priced on these projects have to
go through an apprenticeship program and part of that apprenticeship program that
we’d like to see as we’d like to see for example education on what on some basic
business education of so that they understand what a real independent
contractor is what a real 1099 worker is so that they understand what the impact
of being classified that is so it’s it’s education like that that we believe will
really help to prevent these issues also and this kind of goes to both of the
second one punitive you know I love punitive
and in in regard to putative the Consumer Financial Protection Division
in this ordinance we’ll be asking for enforcement powers and the reason we’re
asking for this is because you can have all the laws you want but if you don’t
have anything to enforce those laws it’s not going to do anything we have haven’t
we have had a petty theft bought the city County of Denver that has very
rarely been used it’s not truly enforced by the police department and what we’re
trying to do with the Consumer Financial Protection Law that we have this you
that we want to put in place is we are putting part of it as putting
infrastructure in place with our partners such as excise and licensing
the District Attorney’s Office the City Attorney’s Office that’s in charge of
code enforcement building an infrastructure in place without have a
complaint comes in that there is vis it can not only be a civil a civil penalty
involved in ways that but a criminal penalty involved in wage theft without
having that stick we don’t think that we’re good at it the law is going to
have the proper effect we want to prevent them from doing something bad if
they know they can get in trouble not only civilly but criminally it’s going
to be a deterrence we understand that and by the way I want to make sure I’m
very clear about this this isn’t about punishing businesses
this is about punishing bad actors who compete unfairly with all the other
businesses that are doing the right way when you are bidding contracts knowing
that you’re not going to pay insurance you’re not going to pay the other half
of the FICA you have you have labor costs that are almost 30 percent less
than the competitors the people the contractors who are doing it the right
way and we want to level the playing field not only for the residents but for
all of our businesses that are doing it the right way this is on a personal issue I’m a
homeowner and I’ve been fortunate enough to have my home paid but what I fear are
predators out there that can get into our records and say take loans out on my
home do various things that I’m not aware of and what what’s out there from
the financial protection perspective in your what you’ve told us to help protect
homeowners from that whether you paid your mouth off or not and still it’s
still an issue well as far as that that kind of crime like I can honestly say
we’re not specifically addressing it but argh you know I’ll use the example once
again of elder financial abuse and how of how the acts like that you’re talking
about can come into play the first offense is always keeping in control of
your own financial records and what is going on with your different accounts
that means being aware and taking the time everybody myself included and
taking the time to actually be in control of your of your bank account be
in control of your investment account understanding what your position is and
being able to detect those slight differences and changes that happen so
this is this is something that I have told people for all the years all the
decades that I that I did this as a financial advisor always having a true
understanding of exactly where did you stand yeah when you have that true
understanding where you stand balancing your checkbook even I have
problems doing that but the fact is if you know how much is supposed to be in
your accounts and you know where well the generally speaking for example the
fluctuations of the stock market okay let’s say this you’ve got you’ve got
investments through mutual funds that are invested in your IRA or an old plan
that you have as your company but it’s still actively invested understand the
impact of things that happen whether it’s be interest rates or whether it be
the overall economy so that you understand they wait a minute
total bail this shouldn’t be down that much I mean yeah I interest weights you
know one up and so the value of my might Mike my bond mutual funds should have
gone down a little bit but the markets been stable why is my investment account
down by seven percent so if we pay attention to these things in our lives
okay number one we control what can happen to them now if we if we pay
attention every month on a regular basis we can see these fluctuations and maybe
detect something but even more important is it we also defend ourselves against
being victims of predators who are closer to us that we really want to
think about it yeah just a little bit of context there’s a couple of
organizations out there that provide a service if you will to protect your your
credit your assets and your credit history so on and so forth I don’t want
to give the names right now but you know after this you can come and talk to to
me and I can give you a couple names of organizations that provide such a
product what these products do if anybody uses your social security number
if they apply for a credit card or if they apply for a loan you actually are
contacted directly email or by phone or text that somebody is trying to access
you’re like take out a loan on your house or take out a credit card in your
name and social security number it’s a small fee but it’s a it’s basically an
insurance right and insurance to give you a little bit of peace of mind that
not anybody can go out there steal your information
and take out loans or credit cards or anything like that and your name and
using your information so you know after this presentation I’d
be happy to share a couple of those the resources for you
pearl also has some information and I’ll pass the mic to her thank you for
bringing up that question I know that there has been a lot of fraud around
reverse mortgages and that’s been a real big concern with AARP and so elder watch
with AARP has been taking some calls on that and how to prevent you know ask
questions before you actually go through with it and I also brought this brochure
that’s on the table it’s from Colorado housing connects in
it if you someone’s approaching you about a reverse mortgage and you’re kind
of thinking about it there’s a counselor that works with older adults that will
talk talk you through it before you actually sign on a dotted line so there
are some services out there there’s some in that resource guide that I gave you
but elder watch is a really good one brothers redevelopment has a senior unit
that helps with those types of questions as well so you know give them a call if
you feel like something’s a little Shady and then finally if you want to get on
the list from our attorney our are what’s-her-name the DA our da thank you
so she sends out a newsletter every month on what schemes are going on that
month so for example there’s been a lot like right now for Hale so people come
knock on your door and say oh you have hail damage and want to fix something
for you or you know during the holidays there’s scams going on so there’s
there’s the one about you know the IRS calling IRS will never ever ever ever
ever call you so there’s there’s you know you’ll get this monthly newsletter
and it really does tell you about some of the things that you think would be so
normal but are not okay so thank you thank you and and I just wanted to you
know it makes me think back to when we had the deputy district attorney Jane
Walsh here as well that you know if somebody calls you and starts asking for
your personal information get their information and do not give
them any personal information it doesn’t matter don’t give them that information
on that initial phone call take down their information and then you can
always call us in the council office we will funnel that information over to the
DA’s office there’s plenty of folks who have given us documentation we take a
picture of it we send it over and we start doing that homework and we just
want folks to feel comfortable because if you do think that you got scammed we
don’t want you to be so embarrassed or so heartbroken over it that then you
wait too long for us to then get the the police involved or the district attorney
involved because but the chances are that that criminal has then moved on and
they victimized a whole bunch of other people and so we just want to encourage
you to make sure that you’re letting us know what’s going on and so are were
there any other questions that we had from folks yes Gary I don’t have a
question and I’m not on the panel but I just found this out a couple days ago by
being with a friend did they charge something to her credit card and then
their phone gave them an alert and I said how did that happen and they said
that their credit card company had this embedded
security thing in it and that most cards do so I’m now trying to call my credit
cards so if someone’s using your card and alert you right away and you could
at least say I didn’t do that and you know when you find out so I I
just thought I’d say that well and you know we might have some of those
workshops that maybe Perla is out here with her Denver connect mobile van and
we all get onto the Wi-Fi and say okay this is how you do this and walk you
through it so that it makes it easy I just wanted to say take this opportunity
while we here to talk about your van coming out to the community
my name is Ann whitey and I’m the chair of montbello 2020 the registered
neighborhood organization and we’re going to be hosting a health fair August
the 17th and we would love to have you come out and bring the van and the other
two gentlemen to to come out and give information we are going to this year
have what we call a seniors seniors alone where all the resources for
seniors will be in one area where they can come and get information that they
need so invite you to come out and be a part of that wonderful wonderful
that’s honey also you’re talking about the scams and like I don’t know if you
all are aware of all of the ones that are popping up but one of the most
recent ones that’s happening out here is Excel it it’s not Excel but the people
are calling and saying their Excel and they’re saying well actually the person
is calling and saying that they’re someone that’s been told from the
company to come and shut off yes services if you don’t pay within 30
minutes you need to call this number or we’re going to show up and we’re going
to shut off your services and you need to call within 30 minutes and but the
number they are giving you the call is not Excel but a lot of seniors may not
know that a lot of other people just not not just seniors but a lot of people
they’re not just calling individuals they’re calling businesses that you know
and so that’s a that’s pretty I saw a little snippet of it on the news so that
kind of helped me to be aware of it but I don’t know like everyone that I’ve
talked to no one knew that they did not know about that and you know
word-of-mouth your community share that information I got a call from Amazon
saying that I owed money and I was just like I don’t think I ordered anything
but they contacted me they left me a message they sent me a tax and it was a
fraud fraud call so you know you just have to be very careful you as
councilman Gilmore said get their number but also look up the correct number and
you know and tell it your friends who you think might be vulnerable like make
sure they have the information that you have when you’re having coffee just
share with them because that’s how it gets out and that’s how we help people
because a lot of people don’t read the paper or get on the internet or watch
the news and so we have to take care of each other and well the other one that I
wanted to bring up is is another type of way they’re doing the third thing is now
they’re calling because you know if we don’t know who the agency is we’re not
gonna take the call but they’ll call and they’ll say can you hear me okay because
they want to get that yes from you and a lot of people will say yes not really
you know they didn’t they’re thinking in their head this could be a fraud but
they’re not realizing that first yes that they’re getting is the thing that’s
gonna put them in jeopardy so when you’re talking about the fraud stuff can
you is that something you can make sure where somebody says to you can you hear
me okay that they asked well what is it you need
or what do you want or who do you want to talk to don’t just say yes so one of
the features that we want to build into our website is tell your story and it’ll
be an opportunity so if you want to sign on to our website once it’s up fully up
and running and share your stories as they’re happening you know others can
sign on to the website and they’ll be like I got this call I wonder if it was
a scam and so you can go research it and see if someone else had reported it but
we’re also going to be looking at them stories to find patterns right to see if
there’s a pattern kind of like you said different people certain area you know
getting these phone calls prompting them to say yes or in Excel acting like their
Excel asking you to call a different number we’re also going to be looking
for those patterns and taking action as well but we kind of like Perla said it’s
the voice of the community right the the more we can get people to access that
website and tell their story as it’s happening you can go on there
periodically and see what the latest scam is going on so that you can educate
yourself and because knowledge is power and once you know that and you’re
sharing it with your family and your friends and your colleagues when they
get that call they’re gonna be like yeah that’s a scam hang up and so you know
we’ll let you know when we roll that that piece out but it’ll be a hub to
share those stories so that we can get it out to the greater community yeah and
one more additional piece on that is part of part of what we’re doing in
regard to the Consumer Financial Protection Division is we actually
creating working relationships with these different offices like the
District Attorney’s Office the attorney general’s office the office on Aging
specifically to share data in regard to these kinds of trends so that there is
there’s less of a confusion in messaging so that when one agency knows of a
particular scam they’re gonna communicate it to us through the
community cave to the other partners within their group who can get a get us
get a consistent messaging out so because it I mean it happens in large
organizations large cut government organizations where they send
one message out and they’re not getting out to get it out to everybody so we’re
working hard to making sure we coordinate the efforts of both city and
state agencies did we have any other questions from folks all right well
thank you and and thank you for sharing that story because it’s really
interesting you know being with the government and working within the city
and Xcel Energy does an amazing amazing job but there has never in our time in
office been anything that we had to do in a half an hour immediately and so
just so folks are thinking about it you know when you call our office and tell
us that there’s a light a streetlight that’s out you know how long sometimes
unfortunately that can take and so just where folks I know a lot of times we try
to follow the rules and not get in trouble but I’m giving you permission to
break the rules and don’t give people your personal information on the phone
don’t feel like you have to answer their questions if they don’t want to give you
their name what organization they’re with who they work for what this is in
regards to hang-up and and then we’ll handle it in another way but where you
can share your stories more and let us know and I’ve learned things tonight
from you as well and so we’ll look forward to the next event but want to
again thank Perla Alvin and Ron for being here and more to come and we’ll
make sure that Perla gets her 750 folks by her goal and so thank you for being
here

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