Faculty Profile: Heather K Way
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Heather K. Way directs the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic, which delivers transactional legal assistance to small businesses, nonprofit organizations, and community groups in Texas. Way has more than 20 years of experience working on the creation of equitable and inclusive communities, with a focus on affordable housing, gentrification and displacement, problem properties (including code enforcement), land title issues, informal housing, seller financing, and housing preservation. In addition, Way is the founder and steering committee member of the UT Opportunity Forum, an interdisciplinary collaborative of faculty at the University of Texas at Austin working on fostering equitable communities.
Way was previously a Skadden Fellow at Legal Aid of Central Texas, where she founded Texas Community Building with Attorney Resources, a statewide program that has delivered millions of dollars in pro bono legal assistance to CDCs and other nonprofit organizations. After graduating from UT Law, Way clerked for the Honorable William Wayne Justice of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.
She is the co-host of the Uprooted Website, which features resources for addressing displacement in gentrifying neighborhoods, and the co-author of several recent reports: Texas Anti-Displacement Toolkit, Uprooted: Residential Displacement in Gentrifying Neighborhoods and What Can Be Done About It, and Out of Order: Housing's Dangerous Apartment Epidemic. Additional recent writings include Real Property for the Real World, a book of hands-on case studies for property law courses based on real cases and Protecting Homebuyers in Low-Income Communities: Evaluating the Success of Texas Legislative Reforms in the Texas Informal Homeownership Market, which examines contract for deed regulations.
Way is a recipient of the Faculty Excellence in Public Interest Award from Texas Law Fellowships and the Outstanding "Houser" Award from the Texas Low Income Housing Information Service, and was recognized as an Austin Affordable Housing Hero by Interfaith Action of Central Texas. Way was also recognized as the Outstanding Young Lawyer of Texas by the State Bar of Texas Young Lawyers Association, and one of the Top 40 Lawyers Under 40 by the Texas Lawyer.
February 1, 2021
December 27, 2020
September 1, 2020
Lead author, "Public Facility Corporations and the Section 303.042(f) Tax Break for Apartment Developments"
This report examines the 100% property tax exemption available for apartment developments through a special type of public facility corporation structure under Section 303.042(f) of the Texas Local Government Code. While the exemption received little notice when it was adopted by the Texas Legislature in 2015, the use of this exemption is rapidly growing and delivering annual property tax breaks to apartment developers of close to $1 million per property on average.
July 15, 2020
New Cities Virtual Conference: New Housing Solutions Live
May 14, 2020
April 7, 2020
February 24, 2020
Guest on hour-long radio program discussing the UT Law Entrepreneurship and Community Clinic's report on San Antonio's vanishing mobile home parks
February 14, 2020
Panelist at ABA Mid-Year Meeting, for Panel on "Legally Stolen Lands: Impacts and Remedies for Historically Disadvantaged People"
December 9, 2019
Houston Public Media
October 14, 2019
Paper co-authored with UT colleagues Elizabeth Mueller, Jake Wegmann, and Deidre Zoll presented at the International Forum on Housing and Community Development
September 4, 2019
Presenter, Community Benefits Agreements: What's All the Buzz About?
Poverty Law Conference — State Bar of Texas
May 23, 2019
Panelist, "Residential Preference Policies and the Fair Housing Act"
American Bar Association Affordable Housing and Community Development Forum Annual Conference
May 17, 2019
Presenter, "How to advocate for more equitable uses of tax increment financing and other tax subsidies to support community development and fair housing goals."
May 9, 2019
Presenter: Gentrification and Displacement Mitigation Tools
City of Dallas Housing Policy Taskforce, Neighborhood Quality of Life Committee
May 8, 2019
Presentation on Community Land Trusts
The Real Estate Council, Dallas, Texas
March 5, 2019
Texas Association of Community Development Corporations, 2019 Annual Conference
June 15, 2018
Presenter at the conference: Heirs Property in the South: Fostering Stable Ownership to Prevent Land Loss and Abandonment
Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
Presentation on "From Cities to Colonias: Strategies to Stop the Regeneration of Heirs' Property"
April 10, 2018
"A House You Can Buy, But Never Own: African Americans in the same neighborhoods decimated by subprime lending are now being targeted with new predatory loan offerings, a lawsuit argues," by Alana Semuels
February 6, 2018
"Update: UT Report Cricizes How City of Houston Conducts Apartment Inspections"
February 6, 2018
"Houston's apartment safety measures 'severely inadequate' UT study finds"
September 2, 2017
"How Clouded Titles Affect Victims of Natural Disasters"
April 14, 2017
Presenter on "Strategies to Combat Substandard Rental Housing"
State Bar of Texas 2017 Poverty Law Conference
April 3, 2017
Presenter on "Fair Housing and Issues in Community Development"
Texas Association of Community Development Corporations Annual Conference
February 21, 2017
"Putting numbers on Houstn's demand for affordable housing," by Lydia DePhillis
February 20, 2017
Houston and Harris County Housing Conversation Summit
August 15, 2016
June 1, 2016
"Here's why low-income households may gamble with homeownership"
May 23, 2016
Presentation on "Healthy, Sustainable and Quality Communities" at Texas Access to Justice Foundation Meeting
May 10, 2016
"Contract for Deed Lending Gets Federal Scrutiny," by Matthew Goldstein and Alexandar Stevenson.
April 22, 2016
LBJ School of Public Affairs, University of Texas
February 20, 2016
"Market for Fixer-Uppers Traps Low-Income Buyers," by Matthew Goldstein and Alexandra Stevenson
February 19, 2016
"Poor tenants vs. development: Case microcosm of changing East Austin," by Shonda Novak
Fall 2015 to Spring 2016
As one of the most segregated cities in the U.S., Austin has a long history of inequity that has left deep divisions across many sectors of our community. How has the city reached this point, and what can be done to address these persistent divides? This Opportunity Forum series explored a number of issues related to Austin's racial and ethnic inequalities, including wealth divides, educational divides, and health disparities.
October 15, 2015
Roundtable Leader on "The Multiple Meanings of Blight: from injustice and social disorder to reclamation of vacant properties and urban regeneration"
Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning Annual Conference
July 27, 2015
"Report: Austin program to track, improve unsafe housing isn't enforced," by James Barragan and Lilly Rockwell
July 27, 2015
"Report Calls for Action on 'Repeat Offender' Properties"
Co-Author of “An Analysis of Austin’s Repeat Offender Program and Efforts to Address Dangerous Rental Properties.” The report expands on the Clinic’s prior work in this area and outlines a number of policy recommendations to improve Austin’s programs for addressing dangerous properties. The report follows a series of tragedies involving hazardous conditions at local rental properties, which have led to the displacement of dozens of low-income tenants, as well as deaths.
May 8, 2015
Presenter and Panelist, "Low-Income Homeowners and the Problem of Tangled Titles: Innovative Strategies to Secure Homeownership Assets," at the ABA/NLADA Equal Justice Conference
Speaker on "Legal Hot Topics in Community Development"
Texas Association of Community Development Corporations Annual Conference in Houston
Op-Ed Author, "Texas must do more to create inclusive affordable housing," published in the Austin American-Statesman and San Antonio Express News.
August 13, 2013
Addressing Problem Properties: Legal and Policy Tools for a Safer Rundberg and Safer Austin
Report and Executive Summary: www.utexas.edu/law/clinics/community/workhighlights.php
October 26, 2012
Opportunity Forum Gentrification Series: Protecting Tenants Displaced from Redevelopment Projects
LBJ School of Public Affairs
October 21, 2012
Informal contracts still put many Texas homeowners at risk, UT study shows
September 12, 2012
Breakdown of Austin's 2012 Tax and Fee Increases
August 31, 2012
Tenant Displacement in Austin
A Policy Report Analyzing the City of Austin's Tenant Relocation Policy at Shoreline Apartments with Recommendations for a City-Wide Policy Approach
August 31, 2012
The Contract for Deed Prevalence Project
A Final Report to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA)
March 22, 2012
Expanding Fair Housing Opportunities for Low-Income Minority Families
UT School of Law
February 2, 2012
Next Generation of Smart Growth: The Mueller Community
New Partners for Smart Growth Conference
October 1, 2011
LBJ School of Public Affairs and William Wayne Justice Center Collaborate on a ‘Contract for Deed’ Study in Texas Colonias
April 30, 2011
Fair Housing Legal Toolkit for Permanent Supportive Housing Providers: Addressing Local Opposition to PSH Developments
Prepared by the Community Development Clinic
January 31, 2011
Linking Transportation and Affordable Housing
Presentation for the City of Austin's Affordable Housing Forum
August 31, 2010
Furthering Fair Housing Choices for Voucher Tenants: A Report for HousingWorks
A report written by the Community Development Clinic.
November 30, 2009
Texas Problem Properties Toolkit: A Resource to Help Texas Communities Address Problems Created by Abandoned and Vacant Properties, 2010 Edition
A toolkit created by the Community Development Clinic.
September 16, 2009
Expanding the San Antonio Toolkit to Create Sustainable & Affordable Housing Opportunities: Models from Austin and Beyond
San Antonio Community Development Summit
May 20, 2009
The Texas Two-Step: Local Resources and Regulations that Increase Affordable Housing
American Bar Association, Forum on Housing and Community Development Law, 18th Annual Conference:
November 30, 2007
Building Hope: Tools for Transforming Abandoned and Blighted Properties into Community Assets: A Report on Dallas, Texas
A report prepared for Builders of Hope by the Community Development Clinic.
March 31, 2007
Preserving Austin's Multifamily Rental Housing: A Toolkit
A toolkit prepared for HousingWorks Austin by the Community Development Clinic.