HOUSTON (FOX 26) - In the early 90's, Sherry Lopez was the typical Houston mom.
“I worked, I came home, cooked, made sure my kids went to school, did their homework,” Lopez said.
Lopez and her husband owned a telemarketing company. At the time, Houston was a hotbed for telemarketing fraud.
“The salespeople were calling people up and they were telling them basically 'send this money in, you win a car,'” said Lopez.
When federal prosecutors threatened to take her kids away, Lopez says she pled guilty to fraud and served 57 months in prison.
Finding it hard to feed her kids while on federal parole, Lopez says she committed another crime involving fraud and went back to prison.
She’s owned up to her mistakes and wants to put the past behind her. But now, she needs to find a new place to live, and she says no one will rent to her because of her decades old convictions.
Most apartment complexes won’t rent to convicted felons, even if the crime is non-violent or non-sexual like Lopez’s.
“I live just like everybody else, but when you do a background check on me, then all of a sudden I’m something totally different. I’m not the nice lady next door anymore, now I’m a criminal, and I feel like I’ve paid already,” Lopez said
“For the last four months, she was on the verge of being homeless. She had applied at like 15 different places and being denied because of her criminal background,” said Lopez’s son Antonio Brown.
Since Lopez served time, state law prohibits her from having her record expunged.
She and her son Antonio Brown are now on a mission to change that.
“I’ve been working very close with the mayor’s office, Mayor Sylvester Turner, they understand this need and he’s doing everything in his power to try to assist my mother into getting into a house,” Brown said. “He realizes this is a problem."
Antonio, among others, are using the hashtags #JusticeForMyMom and #NewLegislationForOurLives in their campaign for change.