“When Hurricane Harvey hit Texas in 2017, we were all scrambling — that’s always the way it is when disasters hit.

In 2018, I was an Equal Justice Works fellow at Lone Star Legal Aid’s Houston office (where I still work now), working with people impacted by the disaster and at risk of losing their homes.

I worked on one of my first foreclosure cases around that time. My client was an elderly, disabled, homebound Harvey survivor who had fallen behind on her property taxes. She was at risk of losing her house because it was scheduled to be sold at a tax foreclosure sale. She didn’t know that Texas law allows elderly or disabled homeowners to defer or put off their taxes, preventing foreclosure.

But even if she had known she had this right, she faced many other barriers to keeping her home, including a lack of financial resources, limited transportation, and more. She needed someone who could help her holistically — who could be deeply involved, from start to finish, in assisting her through preparing legal documents, printing paperwork, filling out forms, and deciphering the ‘fine print’ in the documents she had to manage.

When she came to Lone Star Legal Aid for help, I was able to put her mind at ease and solve her problem. I compassionately interviewed her and told her about her rights. Then, with the help of colleagues, I prepared paperwork for her and visited her at her home. I proved that she qualified for a tax deferral, and spoke to the attorney in charge of the foreclosure sale. He agreed to cancel the sale. The client would get to keep her home.

She was so relieved when it was all over. I think that for many clients, navigating these kinds of legal processes is comparable to trying to solve a complicated math problem — where do you even start? What is the correct formula? She appreciated that someone was there to help.

There are so many ways someone can lose their home — so many threats across so many areas, many of them in the consumer law space. I hope people understand how important and worthwhile this work is.”