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.