Posted on January 8, 2018 by Jana Schwartz

by Brenda Peña

The University of Texas at San Antonio Policy Studies Center will launch a new initiative entitled Project RHEP (Roadrunners Helping with Estate Planning),which will provide District 5 residents with real property title issues and estate planning in an effort to prevent and/or resolve homeownership issues.

The UTSA Policy Studies Center, in collaboration with District 5 Councilwoman Shirley Gonzalez, Mexican American Unity Council (MAUC), National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders (NALCAB) and LiftFund, will be launching a District 5 Housing Pilot in conjunction with Project RHEP. This pilot will focus on housing investment within the District 5 community, as well as address the needs of San Antonio's low and moderate income residents.

Latinos are more likely to be denied credit at higher rates and are less likely than other households to receive down payment assistance from family members due to a lack of intergenerational wealth transfers. Today there is a projected 26 percent gap between Latino homeownership and non-Latino homeownership rates. According to Roger Enriquez, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and Director of the Policy Studies Center, "Councilwoman Gonzalez is tackling housing issues with a laser focus and we want to help remove some of the barriers to homeownership in her district."

With this in mind, Project RHEP will pair UTSA students with a licensed attorney to receive simple estate planning information, such as information regarding Wills or so-called Deeds on Death. Participating students will become certified Notary Public in the state of Texas and will receive one-on-one training to help prepare simple estate planning documents. Project RHEP will also assist in identifying resources for residents who may have complex concerns, such as title clearing and rehab loans. UTSA will also provide a resource guide to help residents avoid the common pitfalls that create clouds on marketable title to real property.

The goal of Project RHEP is to initiate a housing revitalization strategy that addresses the needs of prospective and existing residents. This District 5 Housing Project is an effort to encourage equitable investment in housing and planning that allows long-time District 5 residents to stay put, while also attracting new residents to benefit from the revitalization of the housing project.

The UTSA Policy Studies Center a resource to any person or entity that shares the goal of enhancing the quality of life of historically underserved populations.

More information about the UTSA Policy Studies Center can be found at their webpage

Contact Information: Roger Enriquez, (210) 458-2691 or

— Jana Schwartz