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Know Your Rights
Source: Betsey Gotbaum
Subject: Strategic Policy Advocacy
Type: Media Coverage

Betsy in Brooklyn: Make the Road by Walking

This Saturday, Betsy Gotbaum attended Make the Road by Walking’s
Annual Memeber Assembly at Bushwick High school in Brooklyn. Make the
Road New York
fights on behalf of New York’s low-income and immigrant
communities. In 2008, Make the Road helped low-wage New Yorkers receive
over $6.5
million of dollars in unpaid benefits and wages. Read the Public
Advocate’s remarks below.

Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum said, "As a member of the Coalition forAsthma-Free Homes,
Make the Road has been an outstanding partner in our efforts to draft and pass
a bill I co-sponsored with Council Member Rosie Mendez in 2006 to fight toxic mold
and pests in NYC apartments. Make the Road has worked recently with my office on two
other important bills.

REAACT – which I co-sponsored with Council Members Gioia and
de Blasio, and has the support of 35 other Members – would allow non-profit
advocacy groups to set up help desks in New York’s public benefits offices. This
would bring needed assistance to members of low-income and immigrant
communities—like Irania Sanchez, now a member of Make the Road, who ran into
repeated obstacles while trying to get benefits for her sick daughters.

And LAPA, the Language Access in Pharmacies Act, which would
require local pharmacies to translate medical instructions into various
languages in neighborhoods with sizable immigrant populations. Without a local
pharmacist to translate instructions, New Yorkers with limited English
proficiency are often left to fend for themselves.

I also want to mention an important resource that will be
distributed here today: The Guide to Public Benefits for Immigrants. 

My office has put together a free guide to give low-income
working immigrants informationabout
federal, state, and city benefits and what immigration status they need to
qualify. We have already had thousands of requests for the guide from groups
around the city, and we are happy to share it with the members of Make the
. The guide is available in six languages – English, Spanish, Russian,
Korean, Chinese and Bengali – and in the coming months, I will be traveling
around the city to promote and distribute this guide in the communities that
need it most. (If there are not enough guides, please find them on my website,,
or call my office at 212-669-7250.)

During these tough economic times, low-income and immigrant
families need help accessing the city benefits they’re entitled to. That’s what
Make the Road has been doing, and that’s what I will continue to do in my final
year as Public Advocate.

Thank you, again, for inviting me here today. Enjoy the rest
of your celebration and keep up the great work."