We wish to thank Rebecca Lightsey and the Community Resource Group for permission to publish from the report. The authors alone are responsible for any opinions or errors in this article.
El Título en la Mano: The Impact of Titling Programs on Low-Income Housing in Texas Colonias
Version of Record online: 21 FEB 2011
© 2011 American Bar Foundation.
Law & Social Inquiry
Volume 36, Issue 1, pages 1–82, Winter 2011
How to Cite
Ward, P. M., de Souza, F., Giusti, C. and Larson, J. E. (2011), El Título en la Mano: The Impact of Titling Programs on Low-Income Housing in Texas Colonias. Law & Social Inquiry, 36: 1–82. doi: 10.1111/j.1747-4469.2010.01223.x
- Issue online: 21 FEB 2011
- Version of Record online: 21 FEB 2011
This article analyzes the impact of The Community Resources Group Receivership Program undertaken from 1998 to 2002 that provided clean property titles to residents in several informal housing colonias (subdivisions) in South Texas. Survey data were gathered from 260 low-income households comprising two populations: those who had secure title from the outset, and those who were beneficiaries of the land titling program. Focus group interviews were conducted to explore how the beneficiaries construct the meaning of ownership before and after title “regularization.” Formal titling consolidates understandings of absolute property relations in comparison with de facto rights born of use (legal or not), which strengthens people's sense of self-esteem and potential for political involvement. We found that, contrary to conventional wisdom, title provision per se appears to have little direct impact either upon home improvement or upon residents' receiving enhanced access to credit and financial services. We also found evidence that informality and illegality is likely to reemerge as owners die intestate, and as they revert to informal land market property transfers.