The University of Texas at Austin   School of Law

William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law

“That they may truly and impartially administer justice”


Grant Support

Justice Center research projects have received funding from:

  • Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs
  • Contract for Deed Prevalence Study
  • Supportive Housing Project
  • Texas General Land Office
  • Texas Title Project
  • UT Institute for Urban Policy Research & Analysis
  • Expunction and Non-Disclosure Project
Judge Hathaway with UT Law students Athena Ponce and Susannah Volpe

Law students and Lucy Wood (far right), surveying residents in the Texas Rio Grande Valley for the Contract for Deed Prevalence Study

The Justice Center’s recent research initiatives include:

Contract for Deed Prevalence Study: The Justice Center and the LBJ School of Public Affairs completed a major study for the Texas Legislature on the use of contracts for deed in Texas colonias.  The study estimated the number of outstanding contracts for deed and examined title irregularities associated with informal land sales and intestate inheritance.  Faculty and students conducted more than 1300 in-person interviews with colonias residents in seven border counties and three counties in Central Texas.

Education Reform Project: Working through the Travis County Model Court, the Justice Center helped to develop a multi-stakeholder pilot education reform project focused on youth who are enrolled in the Austin Independent School District at the time they first come into contact with the dependency court.  The project will provide these youth with additional educational advocacy resources.

Expunction and Non-Disclosure Project: The Justice Center is studying how criminal records are maintained, disseminated, and utilized in background checks in Texas. The project is examining best practices from other states, and will incorporate county-specific data from Texas’ six largest population centers.

Supportive Housing Project:The Justice Center, together with the UT Center for Disability Studies, worked with the Texas state housing finance and Medicaid agencies to develop innovative ways to support persons with disabilities in integrated housing opportunities through a new federal rental subsidy program. The initiative focuses on persons with disabilities residing in Texas institutions who have extremely low incomes.

Texas Title Project: The Justice Center completed an innovative two-year title-clearing project designed to provide low-income disaster survivors with the chance to move to higher opportunity neighborhoods, with a grant from the Texas General Land Office to assist survivors of Hurricanes Dolly and Ike. The project was part of a larger coordinated hurricane recovery program that included the participation of communities affected by the disasters, advocates for low-income survivors, and local, state, and federal agencies. (more)

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