April 13, 2021
SERVING NEIGHBORHOODS BULLETIN
DEPARTMENT OF NEIGHBORHOODS ANNOUNCEMENTS
Winter Storm Recovery - Call for Volunteers!
Many neighbors are still recovering from the severe winter freeze. The Department of Neighborhoods Volunteer Initiatives Program is recruiting volunteers to help with recovery activities such as the clean-up of homes damaged in the storm. Let’s lend a helping hand! Sign up at bit.ly/TXWinterStorm.
Multilingual COVID-19 Resources Guide for Immigrants and Refugees
The COVID-19 Guide to City of Houston Resources for Immigrants and Refugees is available in Spanish, Vietnamese, Mandarin, Arabic, French, and English. Produced by the Department of Neighborhoods’ Office of New Americans and Immigrant Communities, the guide provides responses to questions and concerns specific to immigrants and refugees rendered in the city’s most spoken languages to better reach residents who may prefer information in their first language. To access the guide, go to www.houstonemergency.org/covid19translated/.
Free Online Webinars on Legal Topics
The Department of Neighborhoods offers “A Month of Service” free online webinars covering a wide range of legal topics of importance to many residents, especially 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. Conducted by volunteer attorneys and subject experts, the webinars are for informational purposes and are not forums for legal advice.
- Evictions During COVID-19: Know Your Rights, Apr. 15, 1-3 p.m.
- How to Handle Inherited Property, including Clearing Title & Probate, Apr. 20, 13 p.m.
- What’s Next? Transitioning to College, Apr. 21, 1-3 p.m.
- Create Your Own Estate Plan, Apr. 22, 1-3 p.m.
- Taxpayer Rights, Income & Responsibility, Apr. 27, 1-3 p.m.
- Coffee & Conversation with Breakout Rooms (Neighborhood Concerns), Apr. 28, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
- Foreclosure Prevention & Mortgage Protection, Apr. 29, 1-3 p.m.
To register, go to www.nrcdc.org/site/getregistered and click on the date/session of interest or call 346-339-1088. Registrants without internet can participate in the webinars by phone. Workshop schedules are posted at the beginning of each month. All sessions are recorded and posted online at www.facebook.com/nrcdc.houston.
Subscribe to “Neighborhood Updates” - Stay informed by phone!
Neighborhood Updates is a phone messaging service designed to keep Houstonians informed about COVID-19, disaster recovery resources, and essential city services via voice calls or text messages in English or Spanish. We invite all Houstonians to subscribe, especially 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.
WINTER STORM RECOVERY RESOURCESCity-County Fund Offers Winter Storm Recovery Assistance
The Houston Harris County Winter Storm Relief Fund supports vulnerable neighbors recovering from the winter storm by offering financial and home repair assistance through several nonprofit partners. Residents of Houston and Harris County who were affected by the storm and have an income of less than 80 percent of the area median income are eligible to apply. Those applying for home repair assistance must demonstrate that a member of their household owns the home or is on a clear path to owning the home.
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.
To be connected to a nonprofit partner providing financial and unmet needs assistance in your area, call the 2-1-1 Texas/United Way Helpline.
FEMA Winter Storm Emergency Aid for Eligible Texas Residents
FEMA federal aid is available to eligible Texas residents and businesses affected by the severe winter storm. Assistance includes grants for temporary housing and home repairs and low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses. To apply for assistance, register at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or call 1-800-621-3362 or 1-800-462-7585 TTY.
Winter Storm High Water Bill Adjustments
The City of Houston is adjusting water bills for residents who are experiencing higher than usual bills due to burst pipes resulting from the recent severe freeze. Please pay what you paid on your last bill until automatic adjustments can be applied. Payments can be made online through the automated phone system at 713-371-1265 or with a customer service representative at 713-371-1400.
Harris County Appraisal District Property Tax Exemption
Homeowners can receive a temporary exemption of a portion of their property taxes if at least 15% of their property was damaged by the winter storm. The temporary tax exemption application deadline is May 28, 2021. To access the application form, click on the following link: https://hcad.org/assets/uploads/pdf/forms/2021/50-312-Disaster_Exemption_App.pdf. For more information, contact the Harris County Appraisal District at 713-957-7800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Winter Storm Recovery Resources
For updates on the City's ongoing response to the winter storm and a list of recovery resources, visit www.HoustonEmergency.org.
Report Damage from the Winter Storm
Houstonians are encouraged to report winter weather damage to help the City of Houston provide an accurate summary of affected structures, which is required for the City and State to qualify for federal recovery assistance. Submit damages to www.bit.ly/DamageReportEn (English) or www.bit.ly/DamageReportES (Spanish).
COVID-19 INFORMATION SOURCES
For the latest COVID-19 updates on vaccinations, testing sites, contact tracing, and recovery resources, 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
All Texas Adults Are Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccination
All Texas adults are eligible for COVID-19 vaccination. Getting vaccinated for COVID-19 is FREE and does not require proof of residency, citizenship status or insurance.
The Houston Health Department (HHD) is offering the vaccine at designated City health clinics, multi-service centers and community centers and at various vaccine clinics operated by partner agencies.
How to Find Vaccine Appointment Opportunities
- Contact your health care provider or pharmacy to inquire about vaccine appointment availability.
- Register for the “Houston Recovers” subscription of AlertHouston at www.AlertHouston.org to receive notifications of HHD vaccine opportunities by email, text message, voice call, or mobile app push notification.
- Check the weekly list of vaccine appointment portals open for first doses at COVID-19 Vaccines – City of Houston Emergency Operations Center.
- People age 60 and older who need assistance to make appointments may call the Area Agency on Aging at 832-393-4301.
- People with disabilities who need help with the scheduling of appointments may call the Aging & Disability Resource Center at 832-393-5500.
- Join the Harris County Public Health waitlist for vaccinations at NRG Park at www.ReadyHarris.org or call 832-927-8787.
Appointments are based on vaccine availability, and current appointments may be adjusted based on the department’s allotment. For more information, view the vaccine clinic frequently asked questions page.
About HHD Second Doses
The Houston Health Department reaches out by text message and email 24-48 hours before the recommended second dose due date with a link to self-register for an appointment. People who are overdue for their second dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from the Houston Health Department can email HHDCOVID19.CRT@houstontx.gov or call 832-393-5190 Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to schedule their second dose appointment.
For responses to frequently asked questions, click on link: Vaccine Clinic Frequently Asked Questions – City of Houston Emergency Operations Center
COVID-19 TESTING -- FREE, FAST, SAFE
Testing Sites – Weekly Schedule
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.
In-Home COVID-19 Testing for Harris County Residents
The Houston Health Department is offering COVID-19 in-home health 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.
METRO Offers Free Rides to Vaccination Sites
METRO is now providing free rides to anyone traveling to or from a COVID-19 vaccination site within the METRO service area. Customers need to be prepared to present proof of their appointment or a vaccination card upon boarding. This free transportation includes local bus, METRORail, Park & Ride, METRORapid and METROLift services.
Rental Assistance for Families at Risk of Eviction Due to COVID-19
The City of Houston and Harris County are working together to provide rent and utilities assistance to families who are at risk of losing their homes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds are being 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.
- 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.
- 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 because of the COVID-19 pandemic due to reduced work hours, unemployment, business closure or significant new costs.
How to Apply
To find out if you are eligible and to apply, go to www.HoustonHarrisHelp.org or call 832-402-7568.
Your landlord is not enrolled?
When you apply, you will be asked to search for your landlord from a list of enrolled landlords. If your landlord is not enrolled, encourage him or her to register at houstonharrishelp.org/landlords. You will be able to apply even if your landlord chooses not to participate.
Houston Food Bank
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/.
Parks Department Curbside Meal Programs
The Houston Parks and Recreation Department’s Curbside Meal Program provides dinner and a snack to young people ages 1 to 18. The program runs Monday-Friday from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. at select parks department sites. The meals are placed in the program participants’ vehicles for hands-free distribution. Young people must be in the vehicles to receive the meals. Participants can also walk up to the distribution sites to receive meals, maintaining six-feet social distancing. For Curbside Meal Program sites, click on the following link: https://www.houstontx.gov/parks/pdfs/HPARDCurbsideMealProgramSite.pdf.
Houston Bar Association – Help with Evictions
WI-FI HOT SPOTS AT SELECT CITY FACILITIES
The City of Houston and Comcast are partnering to offer Lift-Zone Wi-Fi Hotspots at designated Houston Health Department Multi-Service Centers and select Houston Parks and Recreation Department Community Centers.
Wi-Fi Hotspots at Multi-Service Centers
The Lift Zone Wi-Fi Hotspots are accessible indoors and outdoors during office hours at the multi-service centers listed below. Appointments are currently required for indoor usage. To book an appointment call the multi-service center.
- Acres Homes Multi-Service Center, 6719 W. Montgomery Rd. 77091, Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.-5 p.m., 832-393-4145
- Denver Harbor Multi-Service Center, 6402 Market St. 77020, Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.-5 p.m., 832-395-0895
- Fifth Ward Multi-Service Center, 4014 Market St. 77020, Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.-5 p.m., 832-393-3800
- Hiram Clark Multi-Service Center, 3810 W. Fuqua St. 77045, Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.-5 p.m., 832-393-4240
- Kashmere Multi-Service Center, 4802 Lockwood Dr. 77026, Mon.-Fri., 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m., 832-393-5503
- Magnolia Multi-Service Center, 7037 Capitol St. 77011, Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.-5 p.m., 832-395-3380
- Northeast Multi-Service Center, 9720 Spaulding St. 77016, Mon.-Fri., 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m., 832-395-0472
- Southwest Multi-Service Center, 6400 High Star Dr. 77074. Mon.-Fri., 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m., 832-395-9900
- Third Ward Multi-Service Center, 3611 Ennis St. 77004, Mon.-Fri., 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m., 832-393-4051
- West End Multi-Service Center, 170 Heights Blvd. 77007, Mon.-Fri., 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m., 832-393-5950
Wi-Fi Hotspots at Houston Parks Community Centers
Residents can access Lift Zone Wi-Fi Hotspots outdoors at Houston Parks Community Center locations listed below during regular park hours, which run from dawn to dusk unless otherwise posted.
- Emancipation Park Community Center - 3018 Emancipation Ave. 77004
- Hartman Park Community Center - 9311 E. Ave. P 77012
- DeZavala Park Community Center - 907 76th St. 77012
- Melrose Park Community Center - 1001 Canino Rd. 77076
NOTE: Parks community center facilities remain closed at this time, except for After-School Enrichment Programming.
How to Sign up for Lift Zone Wi-Fi
To sign into the “Comcast Experience” Lift Zone Hotspots, visit an activated site and follow the steps below. Once you complete these steps, you will be connected to the internet.
- Go to Wi-Fi Network Settings
- Locate and select the LiftZone network
- Accept Lift Zone Terms and Conditions
A password is not required to use the Lift Zone Hotspots; however, content security filtering is activated. Lift Zones are supported by Comcast 24/7 year-round. For troubleshooting assistance, call 833-LFT-ZONE (833-538-9663).
HOUSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY SERVICES
Computer Access by Appointment
The Houston Public Library (HPL) offers computer access and the use of printers by appointment at select library branch locations. Appointments may be made up to 7 days in advance. Sessions are limited to one 45-minute appointment per day. COVID-19 protocols are followed to ensure the safety of customers and staff. For more information, visit www.houstonlibrary.org or call 832-393-1313.
TECHLink Access Digital Creative Space
HPL’s TECHLink is a digital creative space that offers access to state-of-the-art technology for music, video and print production, coding and gaming development, graphic design, digital animation creation, and interactive learning for kids. TECHLINK services are available by appointment only at the TECHLink Dixon Powered by Aramco (8002 Hirsch Road) and the Scenic Woods Neighborhood Library (10677 Homestead Road). To make an appointment, visit www.houstonlibrary.org or call 832-393-1313.
Rooms for Virtual Interviews
HPL offers rooms for virtual interviews at the Henington Alief Regional Library, Smith Neighborhood Library, and Stimley-Blue Ridge Neighborhood Library. To reserve a room, go to https://houstonlibrary.libnet.info/reserve or call the HPL location.
HPL To Go – Curbside Service
HPL to Go is a contactless curbside service. Simply place items on hold for pick-up at your preferred location online or by phone. You will be able to schedule your pickup time once you receive notification that items on hold are available. You will need to inform the library location of your arrival and have your MY Link card number and PIN ready. For questions regarding pickup appointments, contact Circulation Administration at 832-393-2222. To get started, click here. Also check out the HPL TO GO FAQs page.
HPL service hours for all locations are as follows: Monday, 12-7pm; Tuesday, 12–4 p.m., Wednesday, 9 a.m.–4 p.m., Thursday, 12–4 p.m., Friday, 9 a.m.–4 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. COVID-19 protocols are followed at all library facilities to ensure the safety of customers and staff. For more information about HPL services, visit www.houstonlibrary.org or call 832-393-1313.
SUMMER JOBS FOR HOUSTON YOUTH
Application Deadline - April 16, 2021
The Hire Houston Youth Program job board is open to Houston residents ages 16 to 24 who are looking for a job. Positions are available in the government, private and nonprofit sectors. The City of Houston will hire up to 500 youth this summer, offering $10 an hour, 32-hours a week, for up to 8 weeks. Employers can sign up and youth can apply for jobs at www.hirehoustonyouth.org. he application deadline is April 16, 2021. For more information, visit the website or email the Hire Houston Youth team at email@example.com.
Turnaround Houston Readiness Fair
Virtual Job Fair Runs April 29 – May 2, 2021
The City of Houston invites job seekers to the Turnaround Houston Readiness Fair, which will be held virtually on Thursday, April 29 through Sunday, May 2. Job seekers can chat live with hiring employers and resource organizations from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Thursday. More than 700 job openings from dozens of employers will be available at this event. There will be positions available for all skill levels, and job seekers can also connect with hiring managers and company representatives as well as find information about job readiness tools, training, and continued education. Those who have criminal histories are welcome to attend. To register, click here and choose Turnaround Houston from the drop-down menu. For more information, go to www.houstontx.gov/turnaround. Turnaround Houston, which combines the elements of a job fair and a resource center, is a community-based initiative created by Mayor Sylvester Turner in 2016.