LEGAL TITLES: Local officials and human rights groups are working to give legal title to tens of thousands of people in Rio de Janeiro's shanty towns. That increases residents' wealth and gives them greater access to credit.

PROBLEM WIDESPREAD: A third of the people in Rio state, nearly 5 million people, don't have title to their homes.

PATH TO SECURITY: Formalizing land tenure can give a secure hold on what is often a family's most valuable asset. Homeowners' land can be used as collateral for loans and titled property fetches a higher price in the formal real estate market.