You can get your equity if you sell. But most people don't want to sell their residence, and rent. You can "tap your equity" by borrowing with a second mortgage. This doesn't leave you owing less, even if you pay off credit card debt, but you might be paying lower interest rate on a mortgage than on a credit card. But your temptation will be to charge more on the credit card until you can't make the payments on the first mortgage, second mortgage, and the credit cards.