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August 27, 2021

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TaKasha Francis Message

In this Issue: • Department of Neighborhoods Services: Complete Communities University - 9/11 Day of Service & Remembrance - Good Neighbor Program - Workshops on Legal Topics During the Pandemic - Neighborhood Updates Phone Notifications • Pandemic Recovery Resources:  Vaccination Gift Cards - Super Saturday Vaccination Day - Official Website - Vaccination Sites – In-Home Vaccination –– Vaccine Booster Shots – Testing Sites – In-Home Testing – How to Get Help • New Website Tracks City’s Use of COVID-19 Federal Funds • Houston-Harris County Emergency Rental Assistance Program • Harris County Recovery Assistance Program • Lone Star Legal Aid – Free Legal Services & Help with Evictions • Fair Housing Workshop for Landlords & Property Managers


First Quarterly Online Course for Emerging Community Leaders Starts October 6

Complete Communities University

Application Deadline – September 22, 2021
Make a Difference in your community!
A message from DON Director TaKasha Francis
Click on link:

The Department of Neighborhoods (DON) is proud to announce the relaunch of Complete Communities University (CCU), which will offer a quarterly 8-session online training course for emerging leaders committed to making a positive impact in their communities. The CCU program was introduced in 2018 by the Planning and Development Department as part of Mayor Sylvester Turner's Complete Communities initiative. The program has been revamped by DON, incorporating past topics, adding new leadership training content, and opening participation to residents from all Houston communities.

The first course will run October 6 - December 1, 2021, with a break the week of Thanksgiving. The sessions will be held on Wednesdays from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. via Microsoft Teams. Interested Houston residents are invited to apply online for enrollment in the course. The application deadline is Wednesday, September 22, 2021. To apply, go to and click on Complete Communities University.

The objectives of CCU are to coach emerging leaders on methods they can use to develop their civic engagement techniques, cultivate a positive relationship between community leaders and the City of Houston, and promote the participation of residents in civic activities to vitalize neighborhoods.

The course will focus on the following topics: leadership development through civic engagement, volunteerism, and voter education; how city and county governments function and relate to neighborhoods; and how to effectively navigate City services and local resources. The sessions will be presented by department staff with extensive experience in civic engagement and knowledge of Houston communities and will also feature presentations by subject experts with other City departments and partner organizations.

Enrollees will be selected through a competitive review process conducted by department staff.  At least 30 individuals will be enrolled in the course each quarter. Selection criteria includes commitment to civic involvement in the City of Houston, leadership potential, skills, and experience. Diversity and representation from all City Council districts will also be considered in the selection process. For more information, call 832-393-1061.


9-11 Day of Service

The Department of Neighborhoods’ Volunteer Initiatives Program will engage 200 local youth in volunteer community service in observance of 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance, a national campaign led by Youth Service America (YSA) and supported by a grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and AmeriCorps.

On September 11, 2021, Mayor’s Youth Council members along with middle and high school students from Energized for STEM Academy will gather at the Houston National Cemetery, 10410 Veterans Memorial Drive, to clean the gravesites of military veterans. In the days leading up to 9/11, members of the academy’s ROTC program will assemble care packages for veterans hospitalized at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center.

YSA is a global nonprofit organization that encourages young people ages 5-25 to find their voice, take action, and acquire civic leadership skills to help solve problems facing their communities. YSA’s annual campaigns include 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance, Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, and Global Youth Service Day. Youth-led projects promote Awareness, Service, Advocacy, and Philanthropy to create social change. Learn more about YSA at

For more information about 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance and other youth community service activities, call (832-393-1061) or go to


Lawn Maintenance Press Conference

Mayor Sylvester Turner and DON Director TaKasha Francis welcomed Good Neighbor Project volunteers at the residence of Ms. Warzell Upshaw (pictured on left) in Independence Heights, August 21, 2021.

Mayor Sylvester Turner joined Houston Department of Neighborhoods staff and members of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. in Independence Heights for the August 21st kickoff of the Good Neighbor Project. Administered by DON’s Volunteer Initiatives Program, the project will provide free lawn maintenance services to 20 pre-selected seniors in several neighborhoods during the months of August and September, sponsored in partnership with the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.

The inaugural lawn maintenance service call was carried out by a team of the fraternity’s Nu Phi Chapter volunteers at the home of longtime resident Ms. Warzell Upshaw. Houstonians are invited to sign up to help with the Good Neighbor Project and other community service volunteer activities at For more information, call 832-393-0832.

Omega Psi Phi will challenge other local fraternities and sororities to assist with the project. To volunteer to help with this effort and other community service activities, visit For more information, send an email to or call 832-393-1061.

Lawn Maintenance Press Conference with Lawn Mowers

Thank you, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity - Nu Phi Chapter volunteers, for the service you are providing for our seniors!


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.

September Workshops

  • 9/7/21, 1 to 3 p.m. - Property Tax Value Protest Hearings
  • 9/8/21, 4 to 6 p.m. - Living Benefits & Insurance
  • 9/14/21, 1 to 3 p.m. - My Loved One Passed – What to do Next?
  • 9/14/21, 6 to 8 p.m. - Disaster Preparedness & Home Repairs
  • 9/15/21 – 1 to 3 p.m. - Evictions – Know Your Rights
  • 9/16/21. 1 to 3 p.m. - Create Your Own Estate Plan
  • 9/16/21, 6 to 8 p.m. - First-time Home Buyer – Part 1
  • 9/18/21, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – First-time Home Buyer, Part 2
  • 9/21/21, 1 to 3 p.m. - Inherited Property, Clearing Title & Probate Concerns
  • 9/23/21, 1 to 3 p.m. - Foreclosures & Purchasing a Home
  • 9/28/21, 1 to 3 p.m. - COVID-19 in the Workplace
  • 9/29/21, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. – Coffee & Conversation with City Staff & Community Partners

To register, go to 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


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]



Take Your Best Shot

The Houston Health Department (HHD) will provide $100 gift cards to individuals who receive the first dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine at an eligible health department site as of August 26, 2021.  Gift cards valued at $50 will be awarded with second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine administered at eligible health department sites.

To qualify for the second dose incentive, people must have received their first dose on or after August 2, 2021 at an eligible health department site and complete the series within 42 days. Participants must sign a sworn declaration affirming they are eligible for the program. Additional doses and booster shots do not qualify for the program.

The new incentive program is funded by $3.125 million from the American Rescue Plan Act and will provide $150 worth of Mastercard gift cards to the first 20,000 people who get fully vaccinated. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funding of approximately $50,000 budgeted for the health department’s original $25 incentive program provides an additional 1,900 retail gift cards for second doses.  Vaccination at HHD-affiliated COVID-19 sites are available with or without appointments.

For eligible locations, go to or call 832-393-4220.


Super Saturday Vaccination Day

Mayor Sylvester Turner invites students and families to get vaccinated for COVID-19 to save lives and overcome the pandemic. Free Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations for people 12 and older. Parental consent is required for minors. No appointment needed. The last of a series of August clinics will take place on Saturday, August 28 at the schools listed below.

Super Saturday Vaccination Day – August 28 Schedule

  • AAMA Sanchez Charter School, 6001 Gulf Freeway, 77023, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
  • Berry Center of Northwest Houston, 8877 Barker Cypress Freeway, 77433, 8 a.m.-12 p.m.
  • Chambers Elementary, 10700 Carvel Ln., 77072, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Clifton Middle School, 6001 Golden Forest Dr, Houston, TX 77092, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
  • Deady Middle School, 2500 Broadway St., 77012, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • Dogan Elementary School, 4202 Liberty Rd, 77026, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
  • Edison Middle School, 6901 Avenue I, 77011, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Kashmere High School, 6900 Wileyvale Rd., 77028, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

To see if other locations have been added, go to

For the latest COVID-19 updates on vaccinations, testing sites, contact tracing and recovery services, go to

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


Get Vaccinated

Take your best shot to end the pandemic by getting vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible. Getting vaccinated is FREE and does not require ID, proof of residency, citizenship, or insurance.  For vaccination sites, go to

Free in-home COVID-19 vaccination is available to qualifying older adults, people with disabilities, and veterans.  To see if you qualify for this in-home service, call 832-393-4301.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced a plan to begin offering COVID-19 vaccine booster shots this fall, with further information to be issued as the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices continues to assess data on the evolution of the pandemic and the use of COVID-19 vaccines. For updates, visit

The Houston Health Department and partner agencies offer free COVID-19 testing sites across the city.  For testing sites, go to or call 832-393-4220.

The Harris County Area Agency on Aging offers COVID-19 in-home testing. To qualify, you must reside in Harris County. Call 832-393-4301 or 800-213-8471 for more information. Download our flyer.

To access information about recovery services and resources, visit  The site provides information about assistance offered by community groups, businesses, and City departments, including food assistance, economic relief and recovery, education and childcare, pets, call centers, assistance for people with disabilities, face covering distribution, and legal advice for small businesses.


The City of Houston has launched a new website for the public to track how $600 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds are being spent. Most funds will support the salaries of first responders who are critical in our fight against COVID-19. To learn how the funds are benefiting Houstonians, visit


The Houston-Harris County Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) helps renters facing housing instability due to financial losses caused by the pandemic and whose income is below 80% of the Area Median Family Income. As of Thursday, August 26, ERAP has pledged and paid $181,310,499 and helped 47,597 families. The funds are being distributed by BakerRipley and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. Houston and Harris County tenants may apply and landlords may enroll in the program at For questions, call 832-402-7568.

One-time $1500 Payments

New Application Period to be Announced Soon

Harris County continues to partner with Catholic Charities as the administrator for $30 million in financial assistance to help Harris County families and individuals who need help recovering from financial distress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program provides a one-time $1,500 payment to households located in Harris County that meet eligibility requirements. The funds must be used for emergency expenses such as healthcare, rent or mortgage, utilities, food, internet, transportation, and childcare. Households must demonstrate economic hardship incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, have at least one member enrolled in a public assistance program or total household income at or below 60% of the HUD Area Median Family Income, among other requirements. For eligibility requirements and new application period announcements, visit

Help with Evictions & Other Resources

Covic-19 Resources

Lone Star Legal Aid is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit law firm that offers resources for Texas individuals and families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. For information about free legal services and links to resources available through trusted organizations, click on link: COVID-19 Eviction and Other Resources – Lone Star Legal Aid. If you need immediate legal assistance, you can apply for services by phone at 1-800-733-8394 or online here. To reach their Houston office, call 713-652-0077. Intake hours are 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.|1:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m., Monday – Thursday.


Fair Housing Workshop

The Housing and Community Development Department invites interested persons to a free Fair Housing for Landlords & Property Managers Workshop on housing providers’ responsibilities under local and federal fair housing law.

The workshop will cover the following:

  • Best practices for advertising, screening tenants, and property rules and policies
  • Discussion nondiscriminatory behavior, fair housing complaints, and landlord rights and responsibilities
  • Explanation of assistance animals and reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities
  • Updates on the current eviction moratorium
  • Overview of national origin discrimination and questions/documents allowed around immigration status

There are two opportunities to attend the workshop: Wednesday, September 15, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. & Tuesday, September 28, 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.

To sign up, click on links:
September 15th Registration           
September 28th Registration 

For more information, visit

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