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”

Projects

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

Justice Center research initiatives have included:

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.

Expunction and Non-Disclosure Project:The Justice Center studied how criminal records are maintained, disseminated, and utilized in background checks in Texas. The project examined best practices from other states and culminated in a report offering recommendations to improve second chance opportunity in Texas. The Justice Center has continued its work in this area, creating community expunction and non-disclosure legal clinics and providing significant research support to the Austin/Travis County Reentry Roundtable.

Parent’s Guide Project:  The Justice Center, in partnership with the Texas Supreme Court Children’s Commission and practitioners from around the state, has co-authored a guide for parents involved with Texas Child Protective Services. In an effort to better inform and engage parents in the CPS process, the guide explains agency and court processes, offers specific guidance on how parents can advocate most effectively for their children and family, and connects parents to statewide resources. The Guide fills a significant gap for parents who may not have access to legal representation in early, critical stages of the CPS process.

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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