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Headshot of Madison Barney

Madi Barney

  • Hosted by Disability Rights Texas
  • Sponsored by Anonymous
  • Service location Austin, Texas
  • Law school Baylor Law School
  • Issue area Disability Rights, Housing/Homelessness
  • Fellowship class year 2024
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Madi’s (she/her/hers) project will create a new pipeline of law students and lawyers to prevent housing instability and homelessness for low-income people with disabilities. Madi will establish a Fair Housing Workshop and Clerkship Program in collaboration with Texas law schools, provide direct representation, and conduct trainings for Central Texas and county staff.

According to the CDC, 28% of adults in Texas have a disability. People with disabilities experience poverty and housing issues at a higher rate than people without disabilities. The deficit of affordable and accessible housing in Texas leaves people with disabilities at an increased risk of facing homelessness, chronic health conditions, and institutionalization. However, even a relatively small change in policy or procedure makes a difference between a person having a place to live and homelessness. Housing remains a persistently overlooked sector of disability rights law, even though stable housing gives people with disabilities a foundation for autonomy and integration in their communities.

Madi believes housing is a human right that serves as the foundation for all other civil rights. Madi is motivated by the belief that everyone deserves autonomy and has a passion for advocating for others so they can focus on taking care of themselves.

Fellowship Plans

During her Fellowship, Madi will establish a Fair Housing Workshop and Clerkship Program, where law students will gain hands-on experience assisting with housing matters casework for underserved clients with disabilities throughout Texas. Matters will prioritize cases involving discrimination, modifications, and reasonable accommodation situations that will likely escalate to eviction if not addressed. Madi will also address the need for expanded Fair Housing Act education by developing and providing trainings to city or county staff in Central Texas and conducting Fair Housing CLEs for two rural Bar Associations.

Disability is incredibly wide-reaching and impacts most people at some point in their lives. While each person’s experience with disability is different, I recognize common threads of myself, my brother, and those I love in each client I help.

Madi Barney /
2024 Equal Justice Works Fellow

Meet Other Fellows Like Madi

View All

Amber Harding

Host: The Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless

Sponsor: Steptoe & Johnson LLP

Kelli Dunn

Host: Texas Rural Legal Aid, Inc.

Sponsor: Vinson & Elkins L.L.P.

Diana Chen

Host: Arizona Center For Disability Law

Sponsor: Lewis & Roca LLP

Sara Pezeshkpour

Host: Housing Rights Center

Sponsor: Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP