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Article, Refereed Journal

Measuring Self-Help Home Improvements in Texas Colonias: A Ten Year Snapshot”.

Urban Studies, 51, 10, 2143-2159

This paper builds on an earlier (2004) Urban Studies paper that presented data from a major household survey in 2002 comprising a form of “natural experiment” on the impact of title regularization intervention among low-income homeowners in ten colonias in Starr County, Texas. In 2011 the research team returned to those same low-income households oversampling more than half of them in order to compare and analyze: the extent and nature of housing improvement; levels of overcrowding and access to home amenities; and the methods of financing for home improvement and extension. Significant improvements and investments are observed totaling an average of almost $9,000, mostly financed out of income and savings, although an increasing trend to seek loans from the formal market was observed. Correlation and case-study analysis explore the ways in which the self-help and self-managed dwelling environments are adapted to the family and household dynamics over the life course.