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February 26, 2021

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SERVING NEIGHBORHOODS BULLETIN

TaKasha Francis Message

DEPARTMENT OF NEIGHBORHOODS ANNOUNCEMENTS

HEAVY TRASH CODE ENFORCEMENT SUSPENDED FEBRUARY 23 TO MARCH 12 IN AFTERMATH OF WINTER STORM
Due to widespread damage to many homes during last week’s winter storm, the Department of Neighborhoods (DON) Inspections and Public Service (IPS) division will suspend heavy trash code enforcement, effective immediately through Friday, March 12, 2021 to allow residents adequate time to clear debris from their properties. No citations will be issued during this time. The department will resume heavy trash code enforcement on March 15, 2021.

For information about heavy trash codes and guidelines, visit www.houstonsolidwaste.org and https://www.houstontx.gov/ips/avoid_common_violations.html. For questions about notices and citations issued by DON, call the IPS Call Center at 832-394-0600.

COVID-19 RESOURCES GUIDE FOR IMMIGRANTS AND REFUGEES
The City of Houston Department of Neighborhoods announces the publication of COVID-19 Guide to City of Houston Resources for Immigrants and Refugees, available in Spanish, Vietnamese, Mandarin, Arabic, French, and English.

Produced by the department’s Office of New Americans and Immigrant Communities (ONAIC) to provide basic COVID-19 prevention and recovery information for hard to reach residents at high risk for contracting the virus.

The guide features FAQs about COVID-19 symptoms, testing, contact tracing, and vaccines. It also directs residents to agencies that offer recovery resources such as food and PPE supplies, rental assistance, legal guidance, help with immigration matters, services for people with disabilities, and social service referrals.

To access this resource, go to www.houstonemergency.org/covid19translated/.

Covid Guide Cover Graphic

“A MONTH OF SERVICE” ONLINE WORKSHOPS
Series covers legal topics of importance to residents during the pandemic
The Department of Neighborhoods invites the public to register for “A Month of Service” free online workshops covering a wide range of legal topics of importance during the pandemic. The monthly series is sponsored by the department in partnership with Neighborhood Recovery Community Development Corporation, Harris County Appraisal District, Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector’s Office, Houston Volunteer Lawyers, TSU Earl Carl Institute, Lone Star Legal Aid, and the Houston Bar Association.

The workshops are intended for informational purposes only and are not forums for legal advice.

March Workshops

  • Property Tax Value Protest Hearings, Exemptions & Payment Options – 3/2/21, 1-3 p.m.
  • Money, Health & Wealth: Budgeting & Getting Control of Living Beyond Your Paycheck – 3/3/21, 4-6 p.m.
  • Legal Advanced Planning & Why You Need It – 3/4/21, 1-3 p.m.
  • Holographic Wills During COVID-19 – 3/9/21, 1-3 p.m.
  • Evictions During COVID-19: Know Your Rights – 3/11/21, 1-3 p.m.
  • Homebuyer Education Part 1:  Orientation – 3/11/21, 6-8 p.m.
  • Homebuyer Education Part 2: Workshop – 3/13/21, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • How to Handle Inherited Property (Clearing Title & Probate Concerns) – 3/16/21, 1-3 p.m.
  • Taxpayer Rights: Income and Responsibility – 3/18/21, 1-3 p.m.
  • Create Your Own Estate Plan in a Time of COVID-19 – 3/23/21, 1-3 p.m.
  • Coffee & Conversation - Neighborhood Concerns {Breakout Rooms) - 3/24/21, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
  • Foreclosure Prevention & Mortgage Protection – 3/25/21, 1-3 p.m.
  • Amateur Arts – Performances & Presentations by Residents - 3/25/21, starting at 6 p.m.

Workshop schedules are posted at the beginning of each month. All sessions are recorded and links are posted online at www.facebook.com/nrcdc.houston.

Register today!
To register, go to www.bit.ly/AMOSworkshops and click on the date/session of interest or call 346-339-1088. Registrants without access to the internet will be able to participate in the workshops by phone.

SUBSCRIBE TO “NEIGHBORHOOD UPDATES”
Stay informed by phone!
Subscribe to Neighborhood Updates to stay informed about COVID-19 recovery resources and essential city services via phone voice or text messages in English of Spanish. We especially invite seniors and others who may not have easy access to the internet, persons with disabilities who require communications by voice or text, and residents who prefer information in Spanish.   To subscribe to Neighborhood Updates, call 3-1-1. You will have the option of receiving voice messages or texts in English or Spanish.

Phone Messenging Service

DEPARTMENT OF NEIGHBORHOODS
Improving Quality of Life in Many Ways!
What exactly does the Department of Neighborhoods do? Hear from director TaKasha Francis about our department’s holistic approach to enhancing quality of life for Houstonians through a wide range of services offered by our four divisions.

To view the video, click on link: https://youtu.be/8ho170fmR6o.

WINTER STORM RECOVERY

FEMA EMERGENCY AID AVAILABLE TO TEXAS RESIDENTS AFFECTED BY WINTER STORM
FEMA federal aid is available to the state of Texas to supplement state, tribal and local recovery efforts in areas affected by the recent severe winter storm, beginning on February 11, 2021 and continuing. Assistance include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated area can begin applying for assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362 or 1-800-462-7585 TTY.

Federal funding is also available to state, tribal, eligible local governments, and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, statewide. Federal funding is available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.

Houston residents should visit www.HoustonEmergency.org for updates on the City's ongoing response to the winter storm. Recovery resource information is also available on the website.

HOUSTON RESIDENTS URGED TO REPORT DAMAGES FROM SEVERE WINTER STORM
The City of Houston continues to focus on recovery efforts and urges residents to report residential damage caused by last week's severe winter weather. This will help the City provide an accurate summary of damage to homes and other structures, which is required for the City and State to qualify for federal recovery assistance. Additionally, it will allow City staff to understand the type of help the community needs as staff coordinates local resources with area partners.

Houstonians may report damages via the following "Personal Property Damage Reporting" forms:

Please do not use the forms to request direct assistance or disaster relief.

Report Broken Pipes and Water Mains!
Residents are also asked to report broken pipes and water mains to 311 so that Houston Public Works can isolate and repair the leak. To keep call wait times low, report service requests to 311 online at https://houstontx.gov/311 or via the Houston 311 app.

Storm Recovery Resources
For winter storm recovery updates and resources, visit www.HoustonEmergency.org.

HELP NEIGHBORS RECOVER FROM THE WINTER STORM
A Call for Volunteers!

The Department of Neighborhoods Volunteer Initiatives Program is recruiting volunteers to help our neighbors recover from the recent winter storm!  Sign up to be contacted about future volunteer opportunities such as helping at water and food distribution sites and assisting with the clean-up of homes damaged in the storm.  Sign up at bit.ly/TXWinterStorm.

Department of Neighborhoods Staff Members

Department of Neighborhoods staff members invite you to sign up to volunteer!

COVID-19 NEWS & UPDATES

Mask Up

Official Website
For the latest COVID-19 updates on vaccinations, testing sites, contact tracing and recovery resources, go to www.HoustonEmergency.org/covid19.

Multilingual Information
The website includes a guide to COVID-19 resources for immigrants and refugees, available in Spanish, Vietnamese, Mandarin, Arabic, French, and English. To access the guide, click on the link here -- COVID-19 Multilingual Information.

አማርኛ  | Español | عربى | 中文 | دری | فارسی | Français | ဗမာ | پښتو | Kiswahili | ትግርኛ | Tiếng Việt

Take Your Best Shot

COVID-19 VACCINATIONS

VACCINATIONS AT NRG PARK MEGA SITE

Houston, Harris County & FEMA Partnership
The Houston Health Department (HHD) and Harris County Public Health (HCPH) are collaborating to ensure the FEMA-supported COVID-19 mass vaccination site at NRG Park prioritizes the area’s most vulnerable populations and underserved communities. The site will fully-vaccinate approximately 126,000 people by serving 6,000 per day seven days per week for three weeks before transitioning to second doses for three weeks. The City and County will use their waitlists to schedule appointments for the drive-thru site.

Houston Health Department - NRG Park Waitlist
HHD’s waitlist for vaccinations at NRG Park remains open for people age 65 and older and age 60 and older with chronic health conditions. Those who qualify may call the HHD’s Houston Harris County Area Agency on Aging at 832-393-4301 to leave a voicemail with their name and phone number. Calls will be returned for screening and scheduling. People who meet the criteria can also register for the waitlist online at HoustonEmergency.org/covid19.

HHD Vaccinations at Other Health Department Sites Continue
In addition, HHD continues to schedule vaccinations for people who meet the state’s Phase 1A and 1B criteria. HHD vaccination sites include Bayou City Event Center, Delmar Stadium, City health centers and multi service centers, and partner federally qualified health centers and pharmacies. To receive notices of new appointment opportunities via email, text message, voice call, or mobile app push notification, register for the “HoustonRecovers” subscription of AlertHouston at AlertHouston.org.

People with Disabilities – Vaccine Scheduling Assistance
People with Disabilities may contact the Aging and Disability Resource Center at 832-393-5500 for assistance getting scheduled for vaccination at Houston Health Department vaccination sites.

Harris County Public Health - NRG Park Waitlist
Harris County Public Health (HCPH) is providing initial vaccinations to those most at risk of exposure to COVID-19 that meet the State’s 1A and 1B criteria. People who meet the criteria will be randomly selected from the following age groups: 75+, 65-74, 55-64, 45-54, 35-44, 25-34, 25-34, and 16-24 (16+ due to Pfizer guidelines). HCPH will be prioritize areas where there have been COVID health disparities, using the CDC’s social vulnerability index and where data shows increased COVID cases, deaths, and/or undertesting. In addition, HCPH will continue to provide Moderna vaccinations to the community.

To be added to the HCPH waitlist, go to https://vacstrac.hctx.net/landing or call 832-927-8787 [Note: If registering online, do not use Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge.]  For more information, visit: www.hcphtx.org/covidvaccine.

COVID-19 TESTING -- FREE, FAST, SAFE

Weekly Schedule Available
Free COVID-19 testing is available to everyone, regardless of symptoms, at numerous sites throughout the city. You will not be asked for citizenship status or proof of insurance.  For a weekly schedule of Houston Health Department and agency partners testing locations, go to: www.houstonemergency.org/covid-19-testing.

PANDEMIC RECOVERY RESOURCES

EMERGENCY RENTAL ASSISTANCE FOR FAMILIES AT RISK OF EVICTION
The City of Houston and Harris County are working together to provide $159 million in rent and utilities assistance to families who are at risk of losing their homes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds will be distributed by BakerRipley and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.
Applications are being accepted from renters, and landlords are invited to enroll in the program. Assistance will not be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, but will instead be distributed randomly.

Assistance Overview

  • Help for past due rent dating back to April 2020 and up to two months of future rent for a maximum of 12 months
  • Utility assistance for past due electricity and water bills
  • Rent assistance through payments made directly to participating landlords
  • Direct assistance may be available to applicants whose landlords are not enrolled in the program.

Renter Eligibility

  • Household income below 80% of the HUD Area Median Family Income ($63,050 for a family of four in Houston)
  • At risk of homelessness or eviction due to past due rent or utilities
  • Facing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic due to reduced work hours, unemployment, business closure or significant new costs.

To find out if you are eligible and to apply, go to www.HoustonHarrisHelp.org or call 832-402-7568.

Rental Assistance Information

FOOD ASSISTANCE
The Houston Food Bank provides food assistance through its many affiliated agencies and pantries across the region. For a map of food distribution locations, go to www.houstonfoodbank.org/find-help/agency-locator/. For other sources of food assistance, visit https://houstonrecovers.org/covid19food/.

LEGAL ASSISTANCE
Houston Bar Association – Help with Evictions
Go to www.hba.org/evictions for information on free legal assistance and resources. The site includes a self-representation kit and referrals to mediation resources and lawyers. Anyone who has received an eviction notice should act as soon as possible. For other resources, also visit www.makejusticehappen.org.

HBA LegalLine
The Houston Bar Association’s free LegalLine provides basic legal advice and helpful resources on the first and third Wednesday of every month from 5 to 8 p.m. To sign up for a time slot, go to www.hba.org/legalline or call 713-759-1133. You must register 24 hours in advance.

Consejos Legales – Virtual Legal Advice in Spanish
The Mexican American Bar Association of Houston and the Hispanic Bar Association of Houston, in association with the Houston Bar Association, offer free legal advice to the Spanish-speaking community through Consejos Legales. Consejos Legales takes place the first Thursday of each month from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Volunteer attorneys provide simple legal advice, answers to legal questions, and referrals to helpful resources. Callers may register online for a 20-minute appointment no later than a day in advance at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/904084ba9ad23aafc1-consejos.
Información en español: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/904084ba9ad23aafc1-consejos.

FINANCIAL COUNSELING
The city’s Financial Empowerment Centers offer free one-to-one financial counseling to Houston residents. The services are provided by the Mayor’s Office of Complete Communities. Get guidance on to how to manage your money, pay down debt, increase savings, establish credit and more. To make an appointment, go to www.houstontx.gov/fec.

FEC English   FEC Spanish

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CRISIS COUNSELING SERVICES

Houston Area Women’s Center Domestic Violence Hotline
The Houston Area Women’s Center 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline offers free confidential assistance to survivors of domestic violence.  The reach the hotline, call 713-528-2121 or TTY-713-528-3625.  For more information, click on link:  https://www.domesticshelters.org/help/tx/houston/77019/houston-area-women-s-center.

Alliance Wellness Clinic - Multilingual Assistance
The Alliance Wellness Clinic offers counseling for survivors of domestic violence and abusive partners. The clinic’s 24/7 Mental Health Helpline is staffed with multilingual counselors. To reach the helpline, call 855-699-8800. For more information, visit wellness@thealliancetx.org.

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