Wednesday, November 21, 2012
A group of low-income homeowners took to the streets Nov. 14, protesting the deed restrictions that keep them from accessing their home equity.
The residents of Rancho San Vicente, a Soledad housing subdivision, face deed restrictions that make it difficult to do things like taking out second mortgages.
“I’m concerned that in the future I will not be able to provide anything to my daughters,” says Rojelio Tinajero, a 42-year-old farmworker who’d like to leverage his home’s value to pay for his children’s tuition.
The restrictions were put in place by the municipal Soledad Redevelopment Agency, which wanted to ensure taxpayer dollars – which partly funded the homes’ construction – would not be taken advantage of, explains Alfred Diaz-Infante, executive director of the Community Housing Improvement Systems and Planning Association, which developed the property.
State laws ensured homeowners wouldn’t use then-skyrocketing home values to flip the properties. The result is a 45-year restriction blocking Rancho San Vicente families from accessing their home equities.
Complicating the picture is the statewide shuttering of redevelopment agencies, which were originally created to fix up neglected areas. Without the Soledad Redevelopment Agency, San Vicente families don’t know where to turn for relief from the deed restrictions.
They hope the rally will catch the attention of public officials. Nearly 10 years after the subdivision was built, residents need to address repairs and other issues, says Juan Uranga, executive director of the Center for Community Advocacy.
“They’re finding themselves in a bind,” says Uranga, who is married to California Secretary of State and Consumer Services Anna Caballero.