El Ttulo en la Mano: The Impact of Titling Programs on LowIncome Housing in Texas Colonias Academic Article uri icon


  • 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 lowincome 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 selfesteem 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.

published proceedings

  • Law & Social Inquiry

author list (cited authors)

  • Ward, P. M., de Souza, F., Giusti, C., & Larson, J. E.

citation count

  • 17

complete list of authors

  • Ward, Peter M||de Souza, Flavio||Giusti, Cecilia||Larson, Jane E

publication date

  • December 2011