December 21, 2020
SERVING NEIGHBORHOODS BULLETIN
DEPARTMENT OF NEIGHBORHOODS SERVICES
LEGAL ISSUES IN THE PANDEMIC – FREE ONLINE INFORMATIONAL SESSIONS
The Department of Neighborhoods and community partners invite residents to sign up for “A Month of Service,” a monthly series of free online classes focusing on a wide range of legal topics of urgent interest to many residents during the pandemic. The topics include Eviction and Tenant Rights, Workers’ Rights, Child Custody and Divorce, Consumer Concerns & Bankruptcy, Wills & Estate Planning, Inherited Property, Foreclosure Prevention and Property Tax Protest Hearings. The series also include First-time Homebuyer Education Classes.
A monthly calendar of scheduled sessions is posted on the NRCDC website at the beginning of each month. To register, go to www.nrcdc.org/site/getregistered and click on the date/session of interest If you don’t have access to the internet, you can register by phone at 346-339-1088. You will be able to participate in the sessions by phone. The sessions are recorded, with links posted online at www.facebook.com/nrcdc.houston.
We extend our gratitude to the following community partners and presenters for their contribution to this community service initiative: Neighborhood Recovery Community Development Corporation (NRCDC), Harris County Appraisal District, Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector’s Office, Houston Volunteer Lawyers, TSU Earl Carl Institute, Lone Star Legal Aid and Houston Bar Association.
NEIGHBORHOOD UPDATES - STAY INFORMED BY PHONE!
Sign up for Neighborhood Updatesto stay informed about COVID-19 recovery resources and essential city services via phone voice or text messages 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.
LIMIT HOLIDAY GATHERINGS DURING THE PANDEMIC
Mayor Sylvester Turner encourages everyone to limit in-person holiday gatherings to household members to slow the spread of COVID-19. People who attend holiday gatherings with others who are not members of their households should consider avoiding non-household members for 14-days before and after the event.
Make smart choices to stay safe!
- The Houston Health Department urges the public to continue to social distance, mask up, wash hands and get tested. The department offers the following holiday season health safety advice.
- Consider video calls to interact with family and friends to eliminate the risk associated with in-person gatherings.
- Opt for outdoor gatherings, which are safer than indoor events, and continue to wear a mask and social distance when interacting with people who are not members of your household.
- If you must gather, your group should plan ahead and commit to restricting contact with anyone outside your group for 14 days before and after the gathering.
- Shoppers should avoid crowded stores and consider online shopping, curbside pick-up, and home delivery options.
- Plan your shopping for times when stores are less crowded and always wear a mask, social distance and use hand sanitizer.
- People who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or were exposed to someone who tested positive must not spend any time with others nor leave their homes unless it is for the purpose of getting medical care. COVID-19 symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches, new loss of taste or smell and diarrhea.
For COVID-19 updates, testing sites and recovery resources, visit www.houstonemergency.org/covid19.
COVID-19 NEWS & UPDATES
For official City of Houston COVID-19 updates, testing sites and recovery resources, including multilingual information, go to HoustonEmergency.org/covid19.
COVID-19 VACCINE UPDATES
As vaccine availability increases in 2021, people will be able to get vaccinated at doctor’s offices, pharmacies, hospitals and other “usual” sites, likely starting in the second quarter of 2021. For City of Houston vaccine updates, including information in multiple languages, go to www.houstonemergency.org/covid-19-vaccines.
COVID-19 testing is free, fast, safe and available to everyone at testing sites operated by the Houston Health Department and agency partners. You will not be asked for proof of residency, insurance or citizenship.
- For a weekly schedule of testing sites, click on link: COVID-19 Testing Sites Weekly.
Note: Some weekly testing sites will close on certain days in observance of year’s end holidays.
- For assistance by phone, call the COVID-19 Call Center at 832-393-4220, Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
PANDEMIC RECOVERY RESOURCES
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/ or text FOOD to 855-308-2282 to find the nearest food pantry in your area. For other sources of food assistance, visit https://houstonrecovers.org/covid19food/.
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.
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 to 8 p.m. Licensed volunteer attorneys provide simple legal advice, answers to legal questions, and referrals to helpful resources. The next virtual Consejos Legales will be offered on January 7. 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 – Información en español:
COPING WITH COVID:
Program Teaches Parents How to Help Their Children
The Coping with COVID program, a collaboration between Baylor College of Medicine and Harris Health System, provides free parent-led cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for children in Texas who are experiencing stress and anxiety related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program offers 6 weekly 60-minute therapy sessions delivered by therapists via Zoom. No in-person visits are required.
CBT teaches children how to identify, challenge, and overcome anxiety-related habits and thought patterns. In parent-led therapy, parents learn skills to cope with stress and anxiety, which they can then teach to their child. The child does not need to directly speak with the therapist.
Parents will learn cognitive behavioral techniques to teach their child, such as identifying emotions, improving emotion regulation, and developing adaptive coping thoughts and behaviors. In each session, therapists will provide homework assignments and handouts, videos, and resources on CBT. Therapists will guide parents to practice these learned cognitive behavioral techniques with their child outside of the parent-therapist sessions.
You and your child may be eligible to participate in the program if:
- Your child is experiencing stress or anxiety related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Your child is 5 to 13 years old.
- You live in the state of Texas and can be in Texas during treatment sessions.
- You are willing and able to participate fully in treatment and assessments.
- Your child can communicate verbally.
If you are interested in participating in Coping with COVID, call 832-206-4034 or email email@example.com now or by March 2021. You will be pre-screened by Coping with COVID staff over the phone to determine if the services offered through the program may be a good fit for you and your child.
All sessions will be provided via Zoom, a HIPAA-compliant and secure video-conferencing platform. Referrals to community resources will be provided as needed.
FREE 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.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE DURING COVID-19 – HELP FOR SURVIVORS
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. To 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
COVID-19 IMPACT ON EDUCATION PROGRAMS FOR CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES
Take our survey
The Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities is collecting information on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected education programs for children with disabilities. Please help us better understand the technological and access needs of students enrolled in Special Education programs by filling out our survey at https://bit.ly/SpecialEducationEng.
GET YOUR FLU SHOT
Flu vaccination saves lives, so roll your #SleeveUp and get your flu shot today. People can visit their doctor or neighborhood pharmacy to get a flu shot. The Houston Health Department offers flu shots at its health centers to uninsured and underinsured people on a sliding scale that ranges from free to $15. To find the nearest health center and make an appointment to get vaccinated, call 832-393-5427 or the City of Houston 311 Help and Info line.
FREE WIFI IN HOUSTON CITY PARKS?
Take our Survey by December 23!
Should #FreeWiFi be provided in some city parks? Let us hear from you! Take the survey at http://bit.ly/houstonwifi by December 23, 2020. The survey is a partnership between the City of Houston Mayor's Office, Houston Parks and Recreation Department, Houston Information and Technology Services, other city departments and organizations who are working together to improve #DigitalConnectivity inside city parks as part of #Houston's Resilience Plan and 50/50 Parks Partners Initiative.
From the Department of Neighborhoods