CitizensNet


CitizensNet Banner

July 21, 2021

Department of Neighborhoods Logo

SERVING NEIGHBORHOODS BULLETIN

TaKasha Francis Message

In this Issue: • Department of Neighborhoods Services • Police Transparency Hub • Summer Heat Safety • Prepare for a Hurricane • COVID-19 Website • COVID-19 Vaccine • COVID-19 Vaccine Town Hall in Acres Homes • COVID-19 Testing • COVID-19 Rental Assistance • Winter Storm Home Repair Program • Homebuyer Choice Program for Low-Income Residents • Community Support Services • Houston Library Summer Programs for Youth

DEPARTMENT OF NEIGHBORHOODS SERVICES

Mayor’s Office of Gang Prevention and Intervention

Mayor’s Office of Gang Prevention and Intervention

The Mayor’s Anti-Gang Office, a division of the Department of Neighborhoods, has been renamed Mayor’s Office of Gang Prevention and Intervention (MOGPI). Nationally recognized, the office was established in 1994 to respond to youth violence and juvenile delinquency through direct services, collaboration, education, and policy development. Services provided are case management, mentorship, after-school programs, and gang prevention and intervention counseling. MOGPI’s Gang Violence Reduction Team of intervention counselors employ strategies to reduce gang violence in the community with a focus on helping youth and families explore positive changes in behavior. The office also offers gang awareness and juvenile delinquency presentations in schools and community settings. For more information, visit Mayor’s Office of Gang Prevention and Intervention (houstontx.gov).

MOGPI’s manager is Victor M. Gonzalez, Jr., who recently assumed the post, upon the retirement of former manager Patricia Harrington. With more than 20 years’ experience working with the office in the role of counselor and supervisor, Gonzalez assumes this leadership with an extensive knowledge of the community and expertise on successful strategies and methods to prevent gang involvement through intervention.

For more information, visit www.houstontx.gov/mogpi.

Free Online Workshops on Legal Topics

A Month of Service

The Department of Neighborhoods invites residents to register for A Month of Service free online workshops covering a wide range of legal topics conducted by volunteer lawyers and subject experts. Workshop topics include: Evictions – Know Your Rights, Inheriting Property, Clearing Title and Probate Concerns, Holographic Wills, Foreclosure Prevention and For Sale by Owner, Immigration Concerns, and First Time Homebuyers. To register, go to www.nrcdc.org/site/getregistered and click on the date/session of interest or call 346-339-1088. Scheduled workshops are posted at the start of each month.  Registrants without internet can participate in the workshops by phone. All sessions are recorded and accessible at www.facebook.com/nrcdc.houston.

Free Preparation of Wills for Harris County Seniors

Registration Deadline – August 5

Will of Life

As part of A Month of Service workshop series, the Department of Neighborhoods will partner with the Houston Health Department and several community partners to offer “Will of Life,” a wills preparation  clinic, on August 12 and September 9 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at The Church at Bethel’s Family, 12660 Sandpipe Dr., Houston, TX 77035. Volunteer attorneys will prepare wills free of charge for Harris County residents 60 years of age or older. Registrants will need to attend the clinics on both days. The registration deadline is August 5, 2021. To register, call 832-393-4301.

Inspections & Public Service Call Center

Do you have questions about a hearing notice, lien, code violation notice, or citation issued by the Department of Neighborhoods? Our Inspections and Public Service Call Center staff can assist you!

IPS Call Center

Report Code Violations to 311!

Code Violation

The public is asked to report code violations to the 311 Call Center, which is the City’s protocol for receiving and processing service requests. Submitting your service request to 311 ensures that it will be promptly referred to the right department(s). Responding to requests may involve more than one department. City departments process service requests in the order received; however, priority may be given to urgent public safety situations.

New 311 Platform Announced by Mayor Turner

3-1-1 Desktop View

Mayor Sylvester Turner has announced the City’s launch of a new innovative 311 platform that makes interaction easier, quicker, and more convenient for customers to request information on city services and report non-emergency issues. There are now three ways in which to create a service request: by smart phone app (Apple and Google), web portal via the Virtual Agent, and through call taker in the 311-call center. For full information, click on the following link: Press Releases (houstontx.gov).

Join the City’s Civic Club Registry!

Civic Club Registry Graphics

If you participate in a civic club, make sure we have your club’s current information so we can refer neighbors to your meetings and share information about major projects in your neighborhood.  To add your civic club to the registry or update your current information, go to http://bit.ly/HouCivicClubs. For questions, call 832-393-0955. For information about Super Neighborhoods, the Super Neighborhood Alliance, civic groups and the work they do, go to https://www.houstontx.gov/ourneighborhoods/. The civic club registry is an initiative of the Mayor’s Assistance Office, a division of the Department of Neighborhoods.

SUBSCRIBE TO “NEIGHBORHOOD UPDATES”

Subscribe to Neighborhood Updates

Subscribe to Neighborhood Updates to receive brief messages about essential city services and resources via phone voice or texts in English or 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. [English Flyer]  [Spanish Flyer]

CITY OF HOUSTON POLICE TRANSPARENCY HUB
Online site allows the public to file complaints

Police Transparency Hub

The City of Houston Police Transparency Hub, launched by Mayor Sylvester Turner on June 1, 2021, is designed to make it easier for the public to file a complaint against a police officer and search information about the Houston Police Department’s encounters and demographics.  The online hub includes five dashboards that allow community members to access data, policies and other information related to Cite and Release, Use of Force, Traffic Stops, HPD Disciplinary Actions, and HPD Employee Diversity.  Members of the public can upload photos, videos, and other information about encounters with a police officer. The complaint form is available in English, Chinese, Vietnamese, Spanish, French and Arabic. Complaints may be filed anonymously. To access the hub, go to: https://policetransparency-mycity.hub.arcgis.com/.

The Police Transparency Hub is an initiative responsive to recommendations submitted by the Mayor’s Task Force on Policing Reform. The City is working on other task force recommendations, including initiatives addressing crisis intervention and a new policy on the release of body-worn camera video.

People can file a complaint online individually or with community organizations. Complaints can also be submitted in person to the Deputy Office of Inspector General, Office of Policing Reform and Accountability, 900 Bagby St., 4th Floor 77002 or by mail, addressed to City of Houston, Office of Policing Reform and Accountability, P.O. Box 368, Houston, TX 77001-0368.  The office may be reached at 832-393-6772 or by email at COH_Policing_Reform@houstontx.gov.

SUMMER HEAT SAFETY

Protect Yourself During Extreme Heat

Look Before You Lock

Take safety measures when outdoors to avoid heat-related medical emergencies.  Make sure caregivers "Look Before They Lock" for children left in vehicles. Remember that pets should never be left in a vehicle on a warm or hot day. The city encourages people to go to local libraries to stay cool. For extreme heat safety tips, visit https://www.houstonoem.org/extreme-heat/. To be notified when emergency cooling centers open, register for AlertHouston notifications at www.AlertHouston.org. To inquire about cooling centers, you may also call 3-1-1.

Reliant’s Beat the Heat Program

Beat the Heat Graphic

Reliant's Beat the Heat air conditioner program helps eligible seniors, disabled individuals & families without means to cool their homes. For more information, call the Harris County Agency on Aging at 832-393-4301.

BE PREPARED FOR A HURRICANE

Have a Plan and Stay Informed

Alert Houston

Be ready for a hurricane emergency. Have a plan and an emergency kit. See the Houston Office of Emergency Management for more information.

Subscribe for emergency alerts at www.AlertHouston.org

Get current weather conditions from the National Weather Service Houston-Galveston.

Learn about hurricanes from the National Hurricane Center.

Evacuation Assistance for Eligible Residents

STEAR Graphic

Do you or anyone you know need some form of assistance during times of an emergency/disaster event? The State of Texas Emergency Assistance Registry (STEAR) is a free registry that provides local emergency planners and responders with additional information on the needs in their community. People who anticipate they would need evacuation assistance can register with STEAR online at State of Texas Emergency Assistance Registry or by calling 2-1-1.

Hurricane Preparedness Tips for Blind and Visually Impaired Community

Sight Into Sound

The Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management (HCOHSEM), in collaboration with the Houston Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities and Sight Into Sound, have developed emergency preparedness tips for individuals who are blind or visually impaired. To access the messages in English or Spanish, go to sightintosound.org.

COVID-19 WEBSITE

Official Website

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

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

COVID-19 VACCINE

Get Vaccinated

Houston Health Department Vaccination Sites

The Houston Health Department (HHD) and partner agencies offer the vaccine free of charge at select community centers and other locations throughout the city.  Appointments are available and walk-ins are welcome.  For vaccination sites and hours of operation, visit www.houstonemergency.org/covid19. To schedule an appointment, call the COVID-19 Call Center at 832-393-4220.

Vaccine Scheduling Assistance for Seniors and Disabled Residents

For assistance with vaccine scheduling appointments, seniors can call the Area Agency on Aging at 832-393-4301, and people with disabilities can call the Aging & Disability Resource Center at 832-393-5500.

Pfizer Vaccine Appointments for Adults & Children Age 12+

People can make an appointment with Harris County Public Health (HCPH) for the Pfizer vaccine at NRG Park online at vacstrac.hctx.net or by calling the HCPH Vaccine Center at 832-927-8787. People without appointments are welcome from 12 noon to 9 p.m.

In-Home COVID-19 Vaccination

Free in-home COVID-19 vaccination is available to qualifying older adults, people with disabilities, and veterans who live in Harris County and meet one of the following requirements:  60 years of age or older, homebound, bedbound, require ambulatory transport, have a disability, under 60 years of age with a medical condition, and military veterans. To find out if you, a friend, or family member qualify, call the Houston Harris County Area on Aging at 832-393-4301.

Free METRO Rides to Vaccination Sites

METRO offers free rides to anyone traveling to or from a COVID-19 vaccination site within the METRO service area. Customers must present proof of their appointment or a vaccination card upon boarding. This free service includes, local buses, METRORail, Park & Ride, METRORapid and METROLift.

COVID-19 VACCINE TOWN HALL IN ACRES HOMES
Tuesday, July 27, 6:30 p.m.

Mayor Sylvester Turner and the Houston Health Department invite the Acres Homes community to participate in Take Your Best Shot:  COVID-19 Vaccine Community Conversation, a town hall scheduled for July 27, 2021, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the Acres Homes Multi-Service Center, 6719 W. Montgomery Road.  Virtual participation is available at bit.ly/vaxacreshomes.

Health experts will provide information about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines, answer questions and concerns, and provide information about nearby free vaccination sites. Participants can win one of five $50 restaurant gift cards. The town hall is the second in a series the health department is hosting throughout Houston.

COVID-19 TESTING

Testing Sites Weekly Schedule

Free COVID-19 testing is free, fast, safe, and 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.

In-Home COVID-19 Testing

The Houston Health Department is offering free in-home COVID-19 testing. To qualify for this service, you must be a resident of Harris County. To find out how you, a family member or friend can receive this in-home service, call the Houston Harris County Area Agency on Aging at 832-393-4914 or 832-393-4528.

COVID-19 RENTAL ASSISTANCE

The Houston-Harris County Rental Assistance Program offers assistance to renters in Harris County or the City of Houston who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, are experiencing housing instability, and whose household income is at or below 80% of Area Median Family Income.  Funds under the program are being distributed by BakerRipley and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

To apply for tenant rental assistance and for landlord enrollment in the program, go to www.HoustonHarrisHelp.org.  Any rental property within the City of Houston or Harris County may participate. Landlords interested in registering their property will need to enroll and agree to the terms of the program. For questions, call 832-402-7568, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

WINTER STORM HOME REPAIR ASSISTANCE

The Connective’s 2021 Winter Storm Home Repair Program helps Houston and Harris County residents impacted by the February storm and whose income is less than 80 percent of the Area Median Income. The program is funded by the Houston-Harris County Winter Storm Relief Fund and Fort Bend Recovers. To apply for home repair assistance, complete the Connective Home Repair Application at www.connectivetx.org/winterstorm/home-repair. Residents who do not have access to technology to fill out the application may contact The Alliance at 346-396-6903 for assistance.

Residents in need of financial assistance may call the 211 Texas/United Way HELPLINE for referrals to appropriate nonprofit agencies. To reach the HELPLINE, call 2-1-1 or 713-957-4357.

HOMEBUYER CHOICE PROGRAM FOR LOW-INCOME RESIDENTS

Houston Community Land Trust

The City of Houston has allocated $52 million to Houston Community Land Trust’s Homebuyer Choice Program to increase homeownership. Qualified low-income homebuyers choose a home, and the program provides grants of up to $150,000 or $100,000 to lower the cost of buying a home that meets the program criteria.

Homebuyer Choice Program 
You Shop for a Home, We Help You Buy!
Choose your neighborhood, choose your home, and Houston Community Land Trust will help make your purchase affordable by placing the land "in trust".

New Home Development Program
New Homes Available in Acres Homes!
The City of Houston and the Houston Land Bank have partnered with us to make these new construction homes available to qualified Community Land Trust buyers, with reduced prices beginning at approximately $74,615 for a three-bedroom home.

Do you qualify?

To qualify for the program, you must:

  • Have a gross annual household income of less than 80% Area Median Income (AMI).
  • Attend an 8-hour HUD certified homebuyer education course and one CLT Orientation class.
  • Be able to obtain a fixed-rate, 30-year mortgage from one of our approved lenders.
  • Have limited debt that is below Houston CLT's debt-to-income ratio limits.
  • Be able to contribute at least $3,000-$5,000 out-of-pocket toward closing costs (at least $350 must be in personal or IDA matched funds; other funds may be from gifts).
  • Maintain at least $1,000 of personal funds in reserve after closing.
  • Be willing and able to submit all required documentation to verify your eligibility.

To learn how the program works and apply, visit www.houstonclt.org.

COMMUNITY SUPPORT SERVICES

See to Succeed

Free Vision Care for Houston Area School Age Children

The See to Succeed program provides free vision exams and quality corrective eyewear to Houston area school children ages 6-18 with unresolved vision needs. The program is a public-private partnership initiative created to solve a health issue for children in the Greater Houston and surrounding areas. Since the program's pilot in 2011, over 71,000 children have been seen and over 65,000 pairs of glasses delivered.

The program is made possible by generous contributions and support of both public and private organizations that have joined forces with the Houston Health Department, including the San Jacinto College Eye Technology program, the& University of Houston College of Optometry, the Berkeley Eye Center, the Essilor Vision Foundation, Prevent Blindness Texas, and the Eye Care for Kids Foundation. Major corporate sponsors of the initiative include Walmart, the Essilor Corporation, and Alcon.

To enroll in See to Succeed, call 832-362-2338 or send an email to Cathy.Parker@houstontx.gov. Please note that you are not confirmed for your clinic date until your signed consent forms are received by program staff.

“Lift Zones” - Wi-Fi Hotspots at Community Centers

Comcast’s “Lift Zones” program provides free Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity in community centers nationwide, including in Houston. Lift Zones are available at numerous facilities across the Houston area, including 18 City of Houston multi-service and community centers. The Wi-Fi hotspots provide connectivity for access to educational and digital skills content to help families and site coordinators navigate online learning. Lift Zones complement Comcast’s Internet Essentials program, which, since 2011, has helped connect more than 8 million low-income people to the Internet at home to help students get online, participate in distance learning, and do their homework.  For a list of Houston area Lift Zones, go to https://houston.comcast.com/lift-zones.

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

The Houston Bar Association’s LegalLine provides free 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 offers free consultations in Spanish on the first Thursday of each month from 6 to 8 p.m. Volunteer attorneys provide basic legal advice 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.  Consejos Legales is a service of the Mexican American Bar Association of Houston and the Hispanic Bar Association of Houston in partnership with the Houston Bar Association.

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. Seek 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.

Domestic Violence Helplines

Help Graphic

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

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.

HOUSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY - SUMMER PROGRAMS FOR YOUTH

Tales and Tails

TThe Houston Public Library’s (HPL) free summer programs continue, offering free fun activities for children, tweens and teens continue, including virtual and in-person options.  Summer offerings include a reading program, virtual live performances and author events, teen clubs, boxed activities, book boxes, and materials for creating puzzles, sandpaper art, pop art bracelets and more. For details, visit houstonlibrary.org or call 832-393-1313.

Learn about Department of Neighborhoods services.
Join us online!

Department of Neighborhoods Logo

Facebook   I   Twitter   I   Instagram   I   Website
@neighborhou