October 29, 2015
In August the Honduran Government handed out 2,495 property titles to residents of 31 neighborhoods in Tegucigalpa that AJS has advocated on behalf of throughout the years-long titling process. Just weeks later, 3,000 more titles were issued to families in San Pedro Sula, Honduras’ second-largest city.
AJS Land Rights lawyer Gilda Espinal says some of the titles had been ready for the issue since March, but the government had been withholding them until it could amass a large number of titles to hand out at once in a big ceremony to attract media attention. Gilda says the Land Rights team helped keep the government from dragging its feet even longer.
730 titles went to families from Altos del Paraíso, a neighborhood perched high on Tegucigalpa’s northeastern rim. The titles open up a plethora of new possibilities for the residents, including access to loans for home-improvement and for starting small businesses.
Juana Trejo, president of Altos del Paraíso’s neighborhood association, said “landlords” claiming to own the entire area had threatened residents for the last 18 years. But now, title in hand, Juana is no longer afraid. “For me, the land title is security that my family has a secure place to live. No one is going to come by and kick us out all of the sudden,” she says.