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May 20, 2021

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SERVING NEIGHBORHOODS BULLETIN

TaKasha Francis Message

DEPARTMENT OF NEIGHBORHOODS SERVICES

How does our department serve Houstonians?

The Department of Neighborhoods is “The People’s Department,” dedicated to improving neighborhoods through S.U.P.E.R. standards of Service, Unity, Professionalism, Excellence and Responsiveness!  We take a holistic approach to enhancing residents’ quality of life through a wide range of services offered by our four divisions and signature initiatives.

Residential Code Enforcement
The department’s Inspections and Public Service division reduces blight in neighborhoods through the enforcement of city codes pertaining to single-family residential property. Our inspectors enforce codes addressing overgrown lots, dangerous vacant buildings, junk accumulation, junk motor vehicle and other nuisances. We also enforce codes that prohibit “bandit” signs on city property and right-of-way and codes that pertain to the proper placement and storage of trash collection bins.

Assistance for Residents
Our Mayor’s Assistance Office community liaisons assigned to specific areas of the city work with the Super Neighborhood Alliance, Super Neighborhoods, civic groups, and nonprofits to resolve concerns and connect residents to appropriate city and community services.

Citizenship Education, Language Access & Diversity Initiatives
Our Office of New Americans and Immigrant Communities partners with community organizations to monitor and address the concerns of immigrants and refugees, ensure language access to essential city services and information, provide assistance with citizenship applications, celebrate cultural diversity, and promote Houston as a welcoming city.

Youth and Family Services
Our Mayor’s Anti-Gang Office offers programs in area schools for at-risk youth and their families, providing counseling, mentoring, leadership and skill-building activities designed to steer youth away from gang involvement, encourage school attendance, and guide them on a path to a bright future.

Special Initiatives

  • The Volunteer Initiatives Program offers opportunities for service to neighbors and communities in need.
  • A Month of Service free webinars focus on legal topics, estate planning topics, and first-time homebuyer education.
  • Wills Clinics offer free legal services for the preparation of wills and other estate documents.
  • Citizenship Forums assist eligible residents with the completion of U.S. citizenship applications.
  • Neighborhood Updates phone voice and text messages in English and Spanish inform residents about city services.
  • Serving Neighborhoods Bulletin highlights essential city services and is available to CitizensNet “Neighborhoods” subscribers.
  • The Mayor’s Youth Council promotes civic leadership by engaging youth in city government and community service.

We invite you to learn about our programs and services and connect to our social media by visiting www.houstontx.gov/neighborhoods!

Access Our Services!

Citizenship Forum

Citizenship Forum, May 22

A Drive-Thru Citizenship Forum will offer one-on-one U.S. citizenship application assistance to eligible residents, on Saturday, May 22, at Baker Ripley – Ripley House Campus, 4410 Navigation Blvd. 77011.  Registration starts at 9 a.m.  Event capacity is limited to 75 participants. Services will be provided to 75 registrants on a first come-first served basis.

Health safety protocols will be followed. Forum registrants will be asked to remain in their cars during the screening process. Forum participants will be assisted in the gymnasium and will be asked to wear a mask.  People are asked to come prepared by completing the worksheet contained in the flyers below. They should also bring their Lawful Permanent Resident Card and, if applicable, any arrest records.

The Citizenship Forums are sponsored by the Department of Neighborhoods’ Office of New Americans and Immigrant Communities in partnership with BakerRipley and Justice for Our Neighbors. The next forum is planned for July and will be announced at later date.

Citizenship Forum Flyers:
English: https://www.houstontx.gov/na/Citizenship-Forum-May-22-English.pdf
Español: https://www.houstontx.gov/na/Citizenship-Forum-May-22-Spanish.pdf

Webinars on Legal Topics in the Pandemic

A Month of Service

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 sessions are conducted by volunteer attorneys and subject experts, the sessions are for informational purposes and are not forums for legal advice.  For a calendar of upcoming workshops, click on the following link:  [.pdf Flyer]

To register, go to www.bit.ly/AMOSworkshops and click on the date/session of interest or call 346-339-1088. Registrants without internet can participate in the workshops 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.

“A Month of Service” 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.

Multilingual COVID-19 Resources Guide

Covid Guide Cover Graphic

The COVID-19 Guide to City of Houston Resources for Immigrants and Refugees is available to the public in Spanish, Vietnamese, Mandarin, Arabic, French, and English. The guide was produced by the Department of Neighborhoods’ Office of New Americans and Immigrant Communities to facilitate access to essential COVID-19 information by the city’s multilingual population. To access this resource, go to www.houstonemergency.org/covid19translated/.

“Neighborhood Updates” Phone Notifications

Phone Messenging Service

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.
[.pdf English Flyer]   [.pdf Spanish Flyer]

PREPARE FOR HURRICANE SEASON!

The City of Houston Office of Emergency Management urges residents to prepare now for the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season, which runs from Monday, June 1, through Monday, Nov. 30, 2020.

Make a Plan

Develop and practice an emergency plan with your family. To view resources that will help you develop your emergency plan, go to www.houstonoem.org/hurricaneprepweek20/. Basic steps include the following:

  • Assemble disaster supplies
  • Check your home insurance policy & consider flood insurance
  • Strengthen your home
  • Help your neighbors

Sign Up for Emergency Alerts

Alert Houston

AlertHouston delivers critical information to Houston residents regarding current conditions, expected impacts, and protective actions. Most alerts are geo-targeted, and subscribers with loved ones around the city may register up to five physical addresses per contact record. To receive emergency alerts via email, text message, voice call or mobile app push notification, subscribe to AlertHouston at www.alerthouston.org.

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.

COVID-19 RECOVERY RESOURCES

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

CDC COVID-19 UPDATES

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued the following COVID-19 guidelines updates:

  • People who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can resume activities they did prior to the pandemic.
  • As of May 12, 2021, everyone ages 12 and older is eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for people age 18 and older. The Pfizer vaccine is authorized for people age 12 and older.
    For more information, click on the following link: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.

COVID-19 VACCINE

Take Your Best Shot

Houston Health Department Vaccination Sites
The Houston Health Department and partner agencies offer the Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccine 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. For assistance with 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.

Information for Parents:

  • Parents can pre-register their children to get the Pfizer vaccine by visiting www.ReadyHarris.org or by calling the HCPH Vaccine Center at 832-927-8787.
  • Parents can drive up without an appointment to the vaccination site at NRG Park any day of the week, from 12 noon to 9 p.m.
  • Parents who register their children through ReadyHarris.org can choose the NRG Park location when they enter their child’s date of birth.
  • Parents or guardians, who do not accompany their children must sign a Parental Consent to authorize their children get the vaccine.
  • If parents go to the vaccination site without an appointment, the Parental Consent Form for Pfizer Vaccination will be provided on site.

In-Home COVID-19 Vaccination for Eligible Residents

Take Your Best Shot - English and Spanish

Free in-home COVID-19 vaccination is available to qualifying older adults, people with disabilities, and veterans.  Harris County residents who meet one of the following requirements are eligible for this in-home service: 80 years of age or older, bedbound, require ambulatory transport, have a disability, age 79 or younger with a medical condition, 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 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.

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

Covid In-Home Testing

The Houston Health Department is offering COVID-19 in-home 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 ANTIBODY STUDY
Free Tests for Participants

The Texas CARES Project is conducting a study to understand the human antibody response to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.  As part of the study, Texas CARES will provide a series of up to three free COVID-19 antibody tests to Texans ages 5-80 who sign up to participate in the study, regardless of previous COVID-19 positivity and/or vaccination status. Testing is limited to up to two people per household. Learn your antibody status while helping scientists understand how Texans have been impacted by COVID-19 so they can develop strategies to protect our community. Learn more and sign up.

COVID-19 RENTAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

The Houston-Harris 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.

Tenant Applications & Landlord Enrollment
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 residents of Houston and Harris County who were impacted by the February storm and have an income of 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.

COMMUNITY SUPPORT SERVICES

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. 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 Counseling
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.

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 OPENINGS

Libraries Reopening

The Houston Public Library (HPL) neighborhood and regional libraries listed below are now open for Express Browsing at limited capacity.  Customers can use the library for up to one hour at a time to browse the collection, check out materials, and use library computers.

Appointments are not required for Express Browsing.  Safety protocols will be implemented to ensure the safety of customers and staff, with services limited to 50% capacity. Additional Express Browsing locations will be announced soon.

Express Browsing Locations:

Other Services by Appointment:

  • Special Collections Access
  • Technology Access at TECHLink
  • Interview Rooms (at select locations)
  • HPL TO GO Curbside Service (at select locations)
  • Computer Use

For more information visit: www.houstonlibrary.org/faq or call 832-393-1313.

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