Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs - Building Homes and Strengthening Communities

TDHCA Press Room

Office of Colonia Initiatives: Long-term Commitment to Texas Colonias

Colonias are substandard neighborhoods most of which are located within 150 miles of the Texas-Mexico border.  They are home to individuals and families primarily who have a very low income, live in substandard and hazardous housing conditions, and often without even basic utilities or infrastructure. 

TDHCA's Office of Colonia Initiatives ("OCI") serves as one of the state's long-standing resources to colonia residents who seek to improve their own quality of life by being engaged in the process of building or repairing their homes and getting technical guidance and training to solve community problems.

OCI administers the Department's Texas Bootstrap Loan Program, a self-help housing program that promotes homeownership through "sweat equity." Participants – known as "Owner-Builders" – provide at least 65 percent of the labor to construct or rehabilitate their own and their neighbors' homes. 

TDHCA, in turn, provides the construction costs and land financing. The Bootstrap Program is administered locally by Nonprofit Owner-Building Housing Providers certified to operate a self-help housing program. 

OCI also cooperates with units of local government to run seven Colonia Self-Help Centers ("CSHCs") in Cameron/Willacy, El Paso, Hidalgo, Maverick, Starr, Val Verde, and Webb counties.

CSHCs provide intensive on-site technical assistance to colonia residents for housing repair and infrastructure improvement, in addition to providing classes on homeownership, construction techniques, financial literacy and the use of technology.   CSHCs also offer construction funding to repair existing homes or build new affordable homes in designated colonias.

For more than 20 years, OCI has administered Border Field Offices in El Paso, Laredo, and Pharr which serve as liaisons between state and local organizations and provide support to other community-based organizations along the Texas-Mexico border.

TDHCA, through the OCI, supports colonia residents as they work to build a better future.

News Releases

News releases are developed by the Communications and Marketing section of the Division of Policy and Public Affairs to publicize TDHCA program activities. These include application funding cycles, program grant awards, special events, board activities, and other relevant information.

Date Headline
02/27/2015 State housing agency to contribute to ambitious makeover of 1,590 units of El Paso public housing
01/21/2015 State housing agency’s $6.7 million financing package to expand affordable rental market in Rio Hondo
10/15/2014 State housing agency expands affordable rental market in Copperas Cove with award
07/31/2014 State housing agency allocates $60.1 million in tax credits; financing tool to create 5,400 units of affordable housing
07/31/2014 State housing agency funds new service providers to fight poverty in Aransas, Refugio counties
07/31/2014 State housing agency funds new service providers to fight poverty in Bee, Kenedy and Kleberg counties
07/31/2014 State housing agency funds new service provider to fight poverty in Live Oak, McMullen counties
06/26/2014 State housing agency’s $1 million contract to help county improve living standards in five colonias (El Paso County)
06/26/2014 State housing agency’s $600,000 contract to help county improve living standards in five colonias (Val Verde County)
06/06/2014 State housing agency joins Governor Perry in saluting, promoting affordable homeownership
05/08/2014 State housing agency commits $5.7 million for major upgrades to Big Spring rental property
05/08/2014 State housing agency commits $5.1 million for major upgrades to Marshall rental property
05/08/2014 State housing agency commits $2.3 million loan toward major upgrades to Victoria rental property
04/10/2014 State housing agency moves to restore key energy assistance program to nine southwest Texas counties
01/27/2014 State housing agency’s $37 million funding package to expand Fort Worth’s affordable rental market
01/27/2014 State housing agency’s $969,000 in housing tax credits to increase affordable rental options in Brownsville