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K-Sue Park

2015, Equal Justice Works Fellowships, K-Sue Park

K-Sue Park

Name of Host Organization: Texas RioGrande Legal Aid
City, State: El Paso, Texas
Issue area: Consumer Rights, Immigrant Populations
Sponsors: Anonymous

The Project

K-Sue will fight predatory property tax lending on the Texas border by providing legal representation and organizing an educational media campaign in collaboration with local governments and community organizations.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project
The property tax lending industry is a predatory genre ripe for reform in Texas, where a unique statutory loophole allows taxing authorities to transfer liens on homes to private companies that give homeowners a loan to pay their taxes. These companies, who charge exorbitant fees and interest, make a 100% risk-free investment, because their lien takes priority over mortgages and state and local government liens at foreclosure. Mortgage companies often come in to buy the liens to gain priority status at foreclosure, benefiting from this system. The property tax lending industry has fed off of the foreclosure crisis at the expense of vulnerable homeowners, and has grown by more than 600% since 2005.
The Right Person For This Project
K-Sue is the right person for the project because:
• She assisted numerous victims of predatory lending and debt collection practices at Greater Boston Legal Services and through the Predatory Lending and Consumer Protection clinic in law school
• She has worked in collaboration with legal advocates and community organizations in the Boston Housing Movement to help organize systemic responses to patterns of predatory activity that puts homeowners at risk of displacement
• She is committed to fighting for economic justice as social justice not only not only through her work with consumers and tenants in Boston but also through her advocacy for immigrant communities and low-income communities of color in Texas
Plans For First Six Months of Fellowship
In the first six months, K-Sue will:
• Identify individual and organizational clients for direct representation
• Work with local tax authorities to gain access to lien transfer records
• Attend local community organization meetings, work with community leaders and create hotline for victims of predatory property tax lending
• Represent victims of property tax lenders