Dannnye K. Holley, Dean and Professor of Law


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Opal Mitchell Lee Property Preservation Project
and Foreclosure Defense

Opal Mitchell LeeThe project was named after Ms. Opal Mitchell Lee, whose family acquired more than 100 acres of mineral land in East Texas after the death of her great grandfather.  Over the years many of her relatives died intestate, leaving title to the land fractured among numerous heirs.  As a result of being unable to locate all heirs to share in payment of tax liens, the property was lost in a tax foreclosure sale.  The legal issues surrounding Ms. Lee’s loss are widespread within disadvantaged communities and it is our goal to reduce property loss of this nature and more. 

The Earl Carl Institute for Legal & Social Policy, Inc. started the Opal Lee Property Preservation Project (OM:PPP) in the Fall of 2007, through a grant from the Texas Access to Justice Foundation, to provide legal services to low income Texans who are facing potential land loss.  The project’s focus is to help economically disadvantaged communities retain and grow wealth through prevention of land loss as a result of failure to plan estates, foreclosures, clouds on title to property/land, and general inheritance issues. 

The Project’s staff attorneys, assisted by Thurgood Marshall School of Law student attorneys, provide free legal counsel to income qualified clients.  The Project also provides advocacy and educational services.
Our areas of practice include:

  • Partition suits
  • Reviewing real estate documents
  • Removing Clouds on title
  • Foreclosures Prevention (mortgage, property owners association, & tax)
  • Adverse Possession
  • Probate
  • Credit card defense
  • Nonprofit Formation
  • And other matters regarding land loss prevention
  • Bankruptcy

This program has income qualifications of 125% of poverty or 200% for foreclosure defense. Our service area is the general Harris County community and its contiguous counties (Brazoria, Galveston, Chambers, Liberty, Montgomery, Fort Bend and Waller). To determine your eligibility and apply for services, please call our intake specialist Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. at 713.313.1159 or 713.313.1139.

Facts and Statistics about Wealth in America

  • The wealthiest 1% of American families own roughly 34.3%  of the nation's net worth, and the top 10% of American families own over 71%.
  • By 2013, the average wealth of white families was over $500,000 higher than the average wealth of African American families at $95,000, and of Hispanic families at $112,000.
  • 73% of Whites own a home compared to 45%  of  African American and 47% for Latinos
    The median white homeowner’s house is worth $85,800 compared to $50,000 for black homeowners and $48,000 for Latino homeowners.
  • As of October 9, 2015; there were approximately 2,251 properties in Houston, Texas that were in some stage of foreclosure— default, auction, or bank owned. Foreclosure filings in Houston, Texas were up to 70% between years-end 2013 and 2014.




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