This major study reports on a survey and evaluation of the Community Resources Group regularization program in several ¬colonias outside of Rio Grande City, Starr County, Texas. The regularization the cleaning of land titles — was mandated to the CRG by the Texas State Legislature and was undertaken 1996-2003. It is one of the few examples of a land regularization program in the USA (unlike Latin American where it is very common). The evaluation was undertaken by several researchers from three universities, and was led by Professor Peter M. Ward at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin, and was completed in 2002.
This study was undertaken by researchers at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and the Law School Community Development Clinic (CDC) at University of Texas at Austin. It arose in response to a request from the community leaders and residents of two large low- income and largely Hispanic informal homestead subdivisions — Rancho Vista and Redwood in Guadalupe County, located some 7 miles south east of San Marcos, central Texas. In order to help with the preparation of grant and other assistance proposals, the CDC proposed the creation of a detailed baseline profile of housing conditions in these two settlements. To that end, and working with local community leaders, the LBJ School designed and implemented a (two-wave) mail and in-person household survey. Out of some 630 mails interviews that were sent out, a total of 93 households returned the self-addressed, pre-paid envelopes containing completed questionnaires, and a further 40 households participated in randomly selected face-to-face interviews giving 133 completed surveys in all. This report documents the development history of the two areas; presents the detailed survey findings, and suggestions for future policy directions for home improvement, self-help, and new housing initiatives.
This study arises from a Spring 2010 one semester graduate class — Urban Sustainability and Renewable Energy Applications for Low Income Colonia Housing in the Southern US. Directed by Dr. Peter M. Ward, the seminar sought to provide a set of recommendations for sustainable housing rehabilitation in low-income and self-help settlements in Latin American and in the USA. Specifically, we wanted to expand our understanding of sustainable housing applications by considering not just the field of energy efficiency and renewable energy, but also the broader arenas of social, juridical and fiscal sustainability that may contribute to the adoption of policies related to green housing and self help both the for the USA as well as for the Latin American Housing Network (LAHN).