Colonia Outreach Program

Colonia Outreach Program 2018-03-30T12:56:24+00:00

Colonia Outreach

 woman and baby outdoors

A program that focuses on providing application assistance to families who may qualify for public benefits programs.

The Colonia Outreach Program provides outreach, information, eligibility pre-screening, and enrollment assistance for public programs to the colonias of Hidalgo and Starr counties, Texas. Colonias are typically rural, and made up of predominantly Hispanic and Latino populations. Texas colonias are home to an estimated 500,000 people. Often, these communities lack necessities such as potable water, safe housing, or electricity. Forty two percent of residents living within Texas colonias are below the poverty line, and another 19 percent are close to it.

The Colonia Outreach Program uses Community Health Workers to conduct door-to-door outreach inside the colonias, an invaluable tool in helping residents access healthcare and social services. In many circumstances, access to these services is difficult for colonias residents. Transportation options for residents of the colonias are limited, and many are unaware of what public assistance programs they eligible for. Even if a resident is aware of their eligibility for an assistance program, they may face linguistic and cultural barriers that make it challenging to begin the application process. Door-to-door outreach conducted by Community Health Workers (CHWs) provides a proven approach that helps residents overcome these barriers.

A large group of smiling boys and girls pose.

MHP Salud’s Colonia Outreach program provides application assistance to the families who live in the colonias of the Rio Grande Valley. 

During their visits to residents, CHWs provide assistance with filling out applications for benefits programs such as TANF or SNAP. Community Health Workers follow up with individuals to determine whether their applications were successful or not. In the case an application was not successful, the residents may be referred to another organization or local service for additional assistance.

CHWs also connect with the community at local health fairs and community centers. In the case that a resident does have available transportation, our Community Health Workers offer services by walk-in or appointment at a nearby local health center.

The Colonia Outreach Program began in 2011 and will conclude in August 2018. It is made possible through the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

Back to Programs

For more information on this program, please email