At last Tuesday’s Commissioners Court meeting, Hidalgo County agreed to devote at least $14 million of Hurricane Dolly Disaster Recovery funds to colonias.
The victory came as a result of the work of ARISE, LUPE, TOP, Proyecto Azteca and the rest of the Equal Voice Network’s housing and drainage team, who have organized with colonia residents whose homes were damaged by Hurricane Dolly.
Colonia residents’ demand that disaster recovery funds go to colonias was backed by Texas Low Income Housing and Texas Apple Seed, who insisted that funding colonias was an absolute requirement for use of the federal funds.
In contrast to their original proposal, which included only one colonia, the county shifted $6.8 million to provide drainage for at least 10,000 people inside 30 colonias in the Delta, north of Peñitas, and in and near Hidalgo Park. The shift also means, instead of bypassing colonias, the several million dollars of the regional projects will now benefit colonias.
The specific colonias to be served are:
- Delta area: Bernal, Bernal Heights, Bar #3, Olivarez #9, Olivarez #7, Olivarez 18,Tiejerina Estates, Chapa North, Chapa South, Mesquite Acres, Acre Tract, Puesta Del Sol, Olivarez #4, Olivarez #10, Sunrise Hill;
- North of Peñitas; Puerta Blanca, Daniel Ozuna, Reina, Ramona;
- South of Pharr: Hidalgo Park, Los Ranchitos 1-3, Las Milpas, Las Fuentes, Las Brisas del Sur, Beto’s Acres, Las Haciendas, Palo Verde, H & B, Villas del Valle, Southfork Estates.
Additionally, the next $4.5 million available to the county must be spent for colonias.
This victory rests upon all of us putting our unique skills together: LUPE, ARISE, and TOP creating a county-wide issue by meeting their individual commissioners and holding community meetings with county and Economic Development Association / Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council staff; LUPE’s regular presence at commissioners court; Texas RioGrande Legal Aid’s help with technical back up; John and Maddie’s insistence and support to fund colonias as an absolute requirement; and Proyecto Azteca’s intensely keeping up with all involved to move forward.