Ren Larson

Data Reporter

Ren Larson is a data journalist with the ProPublica-Texas Tribune Investigative Initiative. Ren uses statistical methods, geospatial analysis and database development to investigate stories and hold officials accountable. She previously worked for the Arizona Republic where she reported on elections, immigration, environmental contamination and wildfires. Larson's 2019 project "Ahead of the Fire," which analyzed nearly 5,000 Western communities for wildfire hazard and human vulnerabilities, won the MIT Knight Science Journalism's Victor K. McElheny award, a 2019 EPPY award for innovation and was a finalist for the Philip Meyer Award.

She holds a masters of public policy and an M.A. in international and area studies from the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to becoming a journalist, she was an urban planner, a case manager and a data analyst.

La empresa prestamista que demandó a miles de latinos de bajos ingresos durante la pandemia

Una investigación de meses reveló que Oportun, Inc., empresa fundada para ayudar a los inmigrantes latinos a establecer un historial de crédito, utiliza demandas judiciales rutinariamente, con el fin de intimidar a esta población vulnerable para que se mantengan al día con los pagos de sus préstamos de alto interés, incluso durante COVID-19.

Cómo determinamos cuántas demandas de cobranza de adeudos presentó Oportun Inc. durante la pandemia

Los juzgados de paz, donde se presenta la mayoría de las reclamaciones de adeudos en Texas, no tienen el requisito de documentar información a nivel de caso. Aquí presentamos cómo las reporteras de ProPublica y The Texas Tribune lograron revelar una de las tácticas más agresivas de la empresa.

How We Found Out How Many Debt Collection Lawsuits Oportun Inc. Filed During the Pandemic

Justice of the peace courts, where a majority of debt claims are filed in Texas, aren’t required to report case-level information. Here’s how ProPublica and Texas Tribune reporters got around it to reveal one company’s aggressive tactics.

The Loan Company That Sued Thousands of Low-Income Latinos During the Pandemic

A monthslong investigation revealed that Oportun Inc., which was founded to help Latino immigrants build credit, routinely uses lawsuits to intimidate a vulnerable population into keeping up with high-interest loan payments — even amid COVID-19.

Demandaron a miles de prestatarios durante la pandemia, hasta que comenzamos a hacer preguntas

A meses de haber comenzado la pandemia, un prestamista que se comercializa entre los inmigrantes latinos siguió demandando a sus prestatarios, a pesar de que estos perdieron sus empleos y se retrasaron con sus pagos. No obstante, la compañía dio marcha atrás cuando nosotros comenzamos a hacer preguntas.

They Sued Thousands of Borrowers During the Pandemic — Until We Started Asking Questions

Months into the pandemic, a lender that markets to Latino immigrants continued to sue borrowers after they lost jobs and missed payments. But they reversed course when we started asking questions.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Is Cracking Down on Cities’ Enforcement of COVID-19 Orders, but Many Already Took a Lax Approach

Texas cities and counties have dramatically different interpretations of the state’s COVID-19 emergency orders. Complaint data from a dozen cities shows disparate approaches to enforcement, particularly among businesses, have been incredibly common.

Coronavirus Put Her Out of Work, Then Debt Collectors Froze Her Savings Account

Kim Boatswain’s tax refund could have helped her get through the coronavirus slowdown. But debt collectors seized it. There are few options for Texans like Boatswain whose money was taken just before the state temporarily banned such garnishments.

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