A colonia, neighborhood, is an unincorporated subdivision along the US-Mexico border. Colonias are defined by what they lack in terms of infrastructure. This includes such services as electricity, potable water, sewage lines, paved streets, water pressure for fire hydrants. Furthermore, colonias generally lack support networks including county repair crews, public transportation and county health services. Habitat for Humanity sites an 80 percent poverty rate in the colonias in Hidalgo County where the unemployment rate hovers between 20-25 percent. The half-acre lots in the colonias are sold contract for deed at high interest rates and without equity. These lots are the prime source of low income housing in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. According to Habitat for Humanity, there are 2,000 colonias in Texas, 868 of which are in Hidalgo County. Another report by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs claims that 500,000 people live in 1,400 colonias in Texas. The size of a colonia varies from that of a city block, to four blocks, to a ten-mile stretch.

        
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Las Colonias:
Life on the Border



Paul Myers, El Andar