Mayor's Office Press Release
Happy Labor Day from Mayor Sylvester Turner
September 3, 2021 -- Dear Houstonians,
This weekend, we will commemorate Labor Day and honor the contributions and achievements of American workers. I am happy to report that the City of Houston recently reached an agreement with HOPE, the municipal workers union to provide a 9 percent raise over three years. The agreement also increases the minimum wage for city employees from $13 to $14.25.
This is in addition to an 18 percent pay raise over three years for Houston firefighters.
We recognize that these past 18 months were tough for a lot of city employees. Despite the challenges, many of them still reported to work every day to support Houstonians and provide basic services that kept our city safe during the pandemic. My hope is that the agreement demonstrates to our employees that they are valued and appreciated.
The Houston Health Department is offering up to $150 in gift cards for getting vaccinated against #COVID19 at an eligible Houston Health Department site. We cannot give up the fight against the virus. The continued spread of the Delta variant is putting a strain on our hospitals and taking a toll on families.
As of August 29, approximately 59.5% of the eligible population age 12 and up is fully vaccinated, while 72.6% have received at least one shot. The CDC recently approved a third shot for the immunocompromised. Defeating this virus will only happen with the collaborative efforts of partners at every level - and it starts with you. Please visit this webpage to find the closest vaccination site to you and help stop the pandemic.
HURRICANE HARVEY: FOURTH YEAR ANNIVERSARY REPORT
As we watch the recent destruction caused by Hurricane Ida, we are reminded that four years ago Hurricane Harvey landed on the shores of Texas, dumping over 52 inches of rain upon our city and region. Hurricane Harvey was a defining moment for Houston.
We are building forward in the right way for a stronger and more resilient city that is prepared to withstand the challenges of the future. To do it right takes precision. To do it right takes partnership. To do it right takes thoughtfulness. And as we navigate the challenges that our region continues to face, from hurricanes to winter storms to health crises, we have not stood still.
Despite complicated and bureaucratic processes involving extensive reviews, procurement rules, acquisition delays, and environmental regulations, the City continues to move forward with our partners and own resources. Please watch my report below and read the full Hurricane Harvey four year anniversary report here.
"PAYING IT FORWARD" with LOVE from HOUSTON
The City of Houston is hosting “Paying it Forward” with Love from Houston relief supply drive to help our neighbors in Louisiana.
Please consider donating nonperishable food, diapers, hygiene kits, baby food, roofing supplies, cleaning supplies, water, and pet food to help those recovering from Hurricane Ida. The drive will be next to Houston City Hall in the 500 block of McKinney Street on Thursday, Sept. 9, from 7 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Thank you for your generosity and for helping us Pay it Forward with Love from Houston!
The Houston Police Department recently escorted a truck caravan to LaPlace, Louisiana. Gallery Furniture, Kroger, and generous Houstonians donated relief supplies to help neighborhoods rebuild from Hurricane Ida's destruction. The crews transferred the cargo to the Cajun Navy to distribute the supplies to those in need.
Also, the City recently held a donation drive for the people of Haiti who are recovering from a powerful earthquake that killed hundreds of men, women, and children. Municipal employees generously donated, and we partnered with the National Association of Christian Churches (NACC), Ismaili Council for the Southwestern US, and Haitians United to collect relief supplies and have them shipped to the Caribbean country.
EMERGENCY RENTAL ASSISTANCE
The Houston-Harris County Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) has gained national attention for being a positive example of how to help keep families and individuals in their homes and avoid eviction.
It is not too late for families struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic to apply for rental assistance. Two agencies with established experience in helping people in need: BakerRipley and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, are responsible for administering the program.
City of Houston Harvey Economic Development Program (HEDP) Small Business Grant Opportunity
Are you a microenterprise (5 employees or less) business owner that was impacted (physically or economically) by Hurricane Harvey? Please consider applying to the HEDP to receive a grant of up to $150,000!
Find out more! Eligibility, application requirements, etc. at: https://recovery.houstontx.gov/hedp/ (Make sure you scroll down to get all of the information and helpful resources for applying).
Am I eligible? Take the quiz: https://prodhhcdep4.imagesoftcloud.com/AppNet/UnityForm.aspx?key=UFKey
PERMITLESS CARRY in TEXAS
House Bill 1927 is now law in Texas, allowing anyone who legally owns a gun to carry it in public without a permit or the training previously required for a permit. As Mayor of Houston, I am very concerned that the State of Texas loosened gun laws, especially during a time of increased gun violence. Many Texans prize their Second Amendment rights, but the Second Amendment does not provide for the right of reckless endangerment. Please read the rest of my statement here: https://www.houstontx.gov/mayor/press/2021/statement-permitless-carry.html.
SNEAK PEEK: On Wednesday, Sept. 8, the Houston Public Library will open the Barbara Bush Literacy Plaza.
Barbara Bush dedicated her life to public service and for nearly three decades focused on the cause of literacy.
Representatives from the Bush family, the Houston Public Library Foundation, and the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation will celebrate Mrs. Bush's legacy and unveil a beautiful gathering space for our community.
Last month, I announced the official launch of the Bethune Empowerment Center in Acres Home and its first tenant, Communities for Better Health. This 8-acre tract of land previously served as the Bethune Academy Elementary School and will now be repurposed as a business incubator and vocational entity for the Acres Home neighborhood. The Bethune Empowerment Center will provide Houstonians with access to quality services and amenities, including job training, apprenticeships, skill-building services, small business resources, co-working spaces, and business incubators.The concept for the Bethune Empowerment Center originated from the Acres Home Complete Community Action Plan (.pdf), where the Acres Home community strongly indicated the need to repurpose and revitalize the Bethune Academy. Read more on the Bethune Empowerment Center Revitalization Project.
CITY of HOUSTON ARPA SURVEY
The City of Houston recently submitted its American Rescue Plan Act recovery plan performance report, to the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The coronavirus pandemic caused personal and fiscal hardships for many of us. Fortunately, the City of Houston will avoid a massive budget shortfall thanks to more than $600 million in State & Local Fiscal Recovery Funds from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
You can participate in this survey that seeks your input regarding the City’s plan to prioritize and spend $607.8 million in American Rescue Plan funds, half of which the City received in May, and the balance of which the City will receive in May 2022. You can help Houston prioritize ARPA dollars by sharing your opinions and comments in our ARPA survey. What programs under policing, solid waste and housing do you believe the City of Houston should allocate ARPA funds? Take the survey by clicking here ... Encuesta en Español.
Love Our Parks Complete Communities Initiative
Houston has many great signature parks, but it is the neighborhood parks that help define our city. Houstonians all across this city should have access to parks and green spaces that they can point to with pride. Under-resourced neighborhoods and their residents deserve more, and I want to continue to lead the effort to make that happen.
We recently gathered at Malone Park to launch the "Love Our Parks" Complete Communities initiative, a collaborative effort I created to improve and upgrade neighborhood parks in under-resourced Houston communities. The first phase focuses on five neighborhood parks – Malone Park and Our Park in Third Ward, Catherine Delce Park in Kashmere Gardens, Earl Henderson Park in Near North Houston, and Woodruff Park in the Magnolia-Manchester community.
The next park festival will be Sept. 18 at Our Park, located at 2604 Alabama St.
In case you missed it: On August 6, 2021, Mayor Sylvester Turner accepted on behalf of the City of Houston a statue dedicated to America’s 36th President Lyndon Baines Johnson and an additional Memorial to the astronauts who perished in testing the Apollo I module in 1967.
The mayor was joined at the statue unveiling by LBJ’s daughters Lynda Bird Robb and Luci Baines Johnson, attorney Charles Foster, and members of the Lyndon B. Johnson Advisory Board. Vice President Kamala Harris sent a video message honoring the legacy of President Johnson.