Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs - Building Homes and Strengthening Communities
January 17, 2013
Media Contact:
Gordon Anderson (512) 475-4743

State awards $1 million to improve housing, lives for colonia residents in Cameron and Willacy counties

(AUSTIN) — The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) today announced that it has awarded a $1 million contract to Cameron County to continue funding operations of the region’s Colonia Self-Help Center, which promotes homeownership and self-sufficiency for residents living in five colonias in Cameron and Willacy counties.

The contract will provide a wide range of technical and consumer assistance to an estimated 14,556 residents living in the following colonias: Laguna Heights, Cameron Park, La Paloma, Sunny Skies, and La Sara.

The Cameron/Willacy Colonia Self-Help Center, one of seven along the Texas-Mexico border, supports the efforts of local colonia residents to improve their own living standards while making the most of limited housing funds, according to Tim Irvine, TDHCA Executive Director.  

“Too many generations of colonia households have been raised in poor housing conditions, and we have all been living with the consequences,” Irvine said. “Our Self-Help Centers provide residents the tools to improve the quality of their home which often leads to other benefits, such as higher health standards and increased economic opportunities, ultimately reducing the need for future assistance from the state.”  

Cameron County officials will subcontract with a regional nonprofit organization to operate the center. The contract is expected to help reconstruct 22 existing homes, substantially rehabilitate another nine homes, and construct four new homes.

The remaining funds will be used to provide a series of 22 homebuyer education classes, as well as to operate the center’s tool lending library which assists residents in both counties wishing to add to or improve the quality of their homes.

The Colonia Self-Help Center Program is funded through the federal Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG). The funds are administered through a Memorandum of Understanding between the Texas Department of Agriculture, which receives the state’s CDBG allocation from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and TDHCA to implement the program.

For more information regarding this program, please contact Cameron County staff directly at (956) 544-0828.

About the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs
The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs is committed to expanding fair housing choice and opportunities for Texans through the administration and funding of affordable housing and homeownership opportunities, weatherization, and community-based services with the help of for-profits, nonprofits, and local governments. For more information about fair housing, funding opportunities, or services in your area, please visit www.tdhca.state.tx.us or the Learn about Fair Housing in Texas page. 

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