Helene E. Weinstein photo
Making a Difference in Brooklyn and Albany
Winter 2011-2012

A Report to the Residents of the 41st Assembly District

I strongly believe that one of my most important responsibilities is to listen carefully, answer questions and help solve your problems. Along with my experienced community office staff, I can assist you with a variety of important services and help to resolve community problems.



Social Security Benefits Increase
Mrs. G, a 64-year-old widow, reached out to Assemblywoman Weinstein after she lost her job and was living on $301 a week in unemployment benefits. She had been told by Social Security that she would be entitled to benefits when she turned 65, but would be receiving only $600 a month. In discussions with the local Social Security office, Assemblywoman Weinstein successfully asserted that, as a widow, she was entitled to her deceased husband’s benefits totaling $2,000 a month regardless of her employment status.

Faulty Court Judgment Resolved
Mr. C came to see Assemblywoman Weinstein with a marshal’s seizure notice based upon a default judgment, claiming that he owed $8,000 to a credit card company from six years ago. Mr. C who did not believe he owed the money, almost all of which was based upon late fees and interest charges, had never received the court notice, and the judgment was entered against him before he had a chance in court to defend himself. After being referred to the Brooklyn Bar Association volunteer lawyers, Mr. C was able to go to court and have the judgment vacated and marshal’s notice rescinded and a new date set for a hearing on the merits. When he returned to court for the new hearing the debt collection agency failed to show proof of what he owed the credit card company and their lawsuit was thrown out.

Protecting Consumers
Mr. C thanks Assemblywoman Weinstein for her assistance and shows off the court papers dismissing the action against him.

Mr. C’s case is not an isolated incident - that is why Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein is trying to change New York State’s law to curb the abusive debt collection lawsuits that have become an epidemic in New York State. Assemblywoman Weinstein’s Consumer Credit Fairness Act (A633) which has wide support, would ensure that debt collection actions are fair to consumers.

Weinstein’s bill would stop companies from buying debts for pennies on the dollar and then engaging in abusive collection practices, filing lawsuits with flimsy or little information and obtaining default judgments often utilizing improper “sewer service.”

Highlights include:

When a consumer discovers a lawsuit in time to defend it, they almost always win.

Community Meeting
At the Kings Bay Houses Co-op annual meeting Assemblywoman Weinstein spoke to residents, announcing various programs and services available at her community office.
Youth Happen’n
A longtime supporter of Community Board 17's annual Youth Happen'n Day, Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein congratulated Terry Hinds, Board Chairperson, on this year’s successful program.

Accessibility Problem
Ms. B applied for a transfer of her Section 8 benefit to a new apartment in a wheelchair accessible building. The prospective apartment was inspected in January, yet, in March she was still awaiting approval to move. Assemblywoman Weinstein arranged for the New York City Housing Authority to conduct a new inspection, and within the month Ms. B was allowed to move into her new wheelchair accessible apartment.

Workers’ Compensation
Mrs. G came to the Assemblywoman for help when she did not receive her late husband’s workers’ compensation benefit which she relied upon. The Assemblywoman investigated, determining that the account had been acquired by a different insurance company. The new insurance company was contacted and within a week Mrs. G had her check.

Misdirected Tax Refund
Mr. and Mrs. G came to the Assemblywoman for help in tracking down the NYC-210 tax refund that the Assemblywoman’s office had assisted them in applying for, which had never arrived. By contacting the NYS Taxation Department it was discovered that the refund check was mistakenly cashed a long time ago, by a different person with the same last name, living in a different apartment in their apartment building. Our office contacted the individual, pointed out the error and the money was gladly returned to the rightful owners.

Mattress Mess Resolved
While purchasing a new mattress Mr. R, a senior, was talked into purchasing additional items totaling over $410 that he neither needed nor wanted. Shortly after, emergency medical costs caused great financial hardship, and he sought help from Assemblywoman Weinstein in canceling those extra items. After Assemblywoman Weinstein’s office discussed the situation with the store, the salesman agreed to accept returns on the unwanted items and credited Mr. R $410.

Immigration Assistance
After a frustrating two years of waiting to no avail for status updates for his wife and small children’s VISA applications, Mr. S visited Assemblywoman Weinstein’s Office for assistance. Through coordination with the Immigration Affairs Unit of Senator Gillibrand’s Office, within two weeks the VISA applications were reviewed by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and Mr. S was advised that the applications required updated information in order to be put back on track for the final stages of review.

Hurricane Irene Victim Assistance
Addressing community concerns following the devastation of Hurricane Irene, Assemblywoman Weinstein and Councilman Lew Fidler spoke with a senior official from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at a meeting they convened at the Kings Bay Y.

Civilian Patrol Launch

At the press conference announcing the creation of a civilian patrol for Community Board 17, Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein stated, “As a strong supporter of community civilian patrols, I am proud to be here as we launch a civilian observation patrol for East Flatbush - allowing residents to have an active role in improving the safety of their own neighborhood.”

Joining Community Board 17 members for the launch were Borough President Marty Markowitz, Assemblyman Nick Perry, Councilman Jumaane Williams, NYPD Brooklyn Patrol South Chief Thomas Chan, and Flatbush Shomrim Safety Patrol President Chaim Deutsch. The patrol is headed by Terrence Joseph, Chair of CB 17's Safety Committee.

Shomrim Safety Patrol
Building upon the success of Flatbush Shomrim, Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein arranged for Flatbush Shomrim President Chaim Deutsch to meet with members of Community Board 17’s Public Safety Committee to provide advice for their new Civilian Patrol serving the East Flatbush area. Following the meeting, on behalf of Flatbush Shomrim, Mr. Deutsch generously donated fifteen radios for the new East Flatbush patrol.

Improving Street Safety

Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein often works with the NYC Department of Transportation on issues reported by constituents - to repair and improve dangerous and hazardous street conditions that negatively impact the quality of life and safety (of you and your neighbors). Some examples of the improvements made after intervention from the Assemblywoman are:

Types of conditions we can help with include:

You can report hazardous conditions by contacting Assemblywoman Weinstein’s community office.

Safer Streets
Assemblywoman Weinstein joined residents in demanding action to repair a dangerous sinkhole on Ford Street. The sinkhole was repaired and the entire street repaved.
Senior Center Visit
Assemblywoman Weinstein often visits Senior Centers in her district. Most recently, the Assemblywoman helped call out bingo numbers during Midwood Active Adults Health Fair.

Protecting Vulnerable Adults – Statewide Missing Adult Alert System

On October 25th, a new law sponsored by Assemblywoman Weinstein creating a missing vulnerable adults clearinghouse, similar to the “Amber Alert” system for missing children, went into effect. It is an important new system to locate missing cognitively-impaired senior citizens and return them to their homes. The Alzheimer's Association estimates that more than 60 percent of Alzheimer sufferers will wander and 50 percent are at risk of serious harm, or even death, if not located within 24 hours. Ninety-five percent of people who go missing because they suffer from a cognitive impairment are found within a quarter mile from their home or the place where they were last seen.

P.S. 119 Peace March
Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein joined students at Public School 119 as they marched to commemorate International Peace Day, created to promote peace and stop violence. The march held special significance for the school, which this past summer was the scene of the horrific murder of 15 year old Dequan Mercurius.
Lev Bais Yaakov Dinner
At Lev Bais Yaakov’s 14th Annual Awards Dinner, Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein spoke to attendees and presented the Yeshiva and the evening’s honorees with congratulatory New York State Assembly Proclamations.

Young Hero Honored
At the East 52nd Street Block Association’s Annual Block Party, Assemblywoman Weinstein joined residents in recognizing the heroic actions of a young girl who called 911 to report a fire in her house.
Read Aloud
Munro Leaf’s “The Story of Ferdinand,” was the official selection of this year’s National Read Aloud literacy program. Assemblywoman Weinstein read the classic children’s tale to attentive students at PS 52.

Assemblywoman Weinstein Can Help You Get a Free Cell Phone

Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein’s Community Office helps income eligible constituents apply for and obtain a wireless cell phone, (one per household) through the Mobile Assurance Wireless program. Assurance Wireless is a Lifeline Assistance program which provides 250 minutes of local and long distance wireless services to customers each month. To date, Assemblywoman Weinstein has assisted 141 area residents with fixed incomes obtain a free cell phone. Contact the Community Office to see if you are eligible.


Free Flu Shots
This year’s annual flu shot program, in partnership with Beth Israel Hospital, had a record turnout both in the Assemblywoman’s community office and at Philip Howard Houses.

Help with Heating Bills

To date, Assemblywoman Weinstein secured over $64,564 in grants for 330 area residents with fixed incomes to help them stay warm in the winter. Weinstein’s office is designated as a local Neighborhood Heating Fund application site for the HeartShare Program. Grants of up to $200 are available to National Grid customers who can not afford to pay their winter residential heating bills. Contact the Community Office to see if you are eligible.

Food Distribution at Kings Bay Y
Assemblywoman Weinstein assisted The Jewish Community Council of Kings Bay and Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty in distributing food before the holidays.

MTA’s Half-Fare
MetroCard Program

Helene Weinstein Brings the Half-Fare MetroCard Bus to the Community Office on the third Thursday of every month.

January 19th, 2012
February 16th, 2012
March 15th, 2012

10:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon
at the Community Office
3520 Nostrand Avenue (Corner of Avenue V)

Apply for the Senior Half-Fare MetroCard and Receive One on the Spot

Proper age (65 years and older) and photo I.D. required

• Save the cost of photos and notary fees
• Add money to your Half-Fare MetroCard

Half-Fare MetroCard
Assemblywoman Weinstein explains the process of obtaining, using and refilling the half-fare MetroCard to constituents during the MTA’s monthly visit to her office.

Community Meeting
Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein discusses quality of life and safety concerns in the East 30’s with local activist and advocate, Chaskel Bennett, at a town hall meeting co-sponsored by the Assemblywoman and Councilman Lew Fidler.
Shredding Success
Regularly shredding confidential documents containing personal information is one of the best defenses against identity theft. During the recent free shredding program she sponsored, Assemblywoman Weinstein greeted the participants explaining the process which resulted in over 4,000 pounds of papers and documents being shredded.

New York State is Holding Unclaimed Money!

Some of it could be yours and Assemblywoman Weinstein can help you find it.

Assemblywoman Weinstein can help you find lost, abandoned or unclaimed funds for free through the NYS Office of Comptroller’s UNCLAIMED FUNDS Database. For more information, call Weinstein’s Community Office.

Fraser Civic Welcomes NYPD
Recently appointed Assistant Chief of Patrol Borough Brooklyn South, Thomas Chan was welcomed to our community by Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein, Councilman Lew Fidler, NYPD 63rd Precinct Commanding Officer Captain Michael Deddo, Fraser Civic Association President Tomas Hernandez, and Clergy Liaison for the NYPD 63rd Precinct Raphael Treitel at a Fraser Civic meeting.

Helene Weinstein’s Community Office
3520 Nostrand Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11229 • (718) 648-4700
Monday–Thursday: 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. • Friday: 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Please call or stop in if you have a problem or a question!
We speak English, Creole, Russian and Yiddish.