CitizensNet Banner

October 26, 2021

Department of Neighborhoods Logo


TaKasha Francis Message

In this Issue:Mayor’s 2021 State of the City of HoustonDepartment of Neighborhoods Highlights: Neighborhood Matching Grants – Mayor’s Youth Council – National Code Compliance Month – Workshops on Legal Topics – Neighborhood Updates November 2 Elections Voter Information COVID-19 Recovery: Official Website - Vaccines – In-Home Vaccination – Additional Dose vs. Booster Shot – Booster Shots – Vaccines for Teens & Children Ages 12+ - Testing Sites - In-Home Testing - Information Sources • Free Legal Assistance Medicare Enrollment Counseling HPLHouston Public Library Fall Programs


Mayor Sylvester Turner delivered his sixth annual 2021 State of The City of Houston on Wednesday, October 13, 2021, reflecting on the year’s challenges and celebrating the City’s successes. For updates on City programs and services, the impact of the global pandemic, infrastructure improvement, technology, innovation, health, public-private partnerships and more, watch Mayor Turner’s full address at Mayor Turner's 2021 State of the City Address - YouTube.

Mayor Turner Delivering State of the City Address

“We have proven time and again that by working together,
Houston can turn obstacles into opportunities.”
-- Mayor Sylvester Turner


Nonprofits invited to apply by November 5, 2021 Deadline!

The FY 2022 Neighborhood Matching Grant Program application period is open! The program supports neighborhood improvement and beautification projects by providing dollar-for-dollar matching grant reimbursements ranging from $500 to $5,000. The application deadline is November 5, 2021, 5 p.m.  Neighborhood-based organizations and civic clubs with State of Texas 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) non-profit certification are eligible to apply. Organizations without official nonprofit status may apply in partnership with an eligible nonprofit organization as co-applicant. Grant projects must represent a specific geographic area located within Houston city limits. For application guidelines, go to and click on “Neighborhood Matching Grants.”


Seventeen high school students took the Mayor’s Youth Council (MYC) oath of office administered by Mayor Sylvester Turner at an inauguration ceremony held at City Hall on October 12 attended by City officials and students’ family members. The new members’ term of office runs from October 2021 to May 2022. The members were selected from a pool of nearly 100 applicants consisting of students ages 14-18 who live and attend high school in Houston.  Established in 1998 and modeled after the elected City Council, the MYC provides youth an opportunity to learn about city government, share their concerns with City officials, and gain civic leadership skills through community service activities. The program is administered by the Department of Neighborhoods (DON).

Mayor's Youth Council Group Photo'

Newly named 2021-2022 Mayor's Youth Council members pose with
Mayor Sylvester Turner, DON Director TaKasha L. Francis, and staff.
See a list of 2021-2022 MYC members

Mayor's Youth Council Second Photo'

Mayor Turner addresses the new members of the Mayor's Youth
Council and parents in City Hall chambers, October 12.

Mayor's Youth Council Third Photo'

DON staff Jesse Gutierrez speaks to MYC members and parents.
Gutierrez is MYC program manager and advisor

“We value the opportunity to serve as mentors and advisors for our young leaders as they learn about city government and gain civic affairs experience. Over their tenure, they will acquire invaluable skills as they participate in a wide range of leadership development activities, including the UNICEF Child Friendly Cities Initiative, youth town halls at area high schools, and monthly community service projects.”

-- TaKasha L. Francis, DON Director

For more information about the MYC, visit

A salute city code inspectors!

Mayor Sylvester Turner joined leaders from the City and across the country in this month’s observance of National Code Compliance Month. The annual observance raises public awareness of the important role code enforcement officers play in keeping our communities safe. City code enforcement officers can be found in several City departments, including the Department of Neighborhoods, Houston Public Works, and Houston Fire Department. Their responsibility is to inspect residential and commercial properties as well as streets and sidewalks to identify and enforce the removal of hazards, unhealthy conditions, and other code violations to keep Houston clean and safe.

For more, click on link: Mayor Turner Recognizes October as National Code Compliance Month (

Code Compliance Photo 1 Code Compliance Photo 2

“Department of Neighborhoods code enforcement officers are frontline workers in the battle against blight. They face innumerable dangers daily as they work in our communities to combat dangerous vacant buildings, trash, tall grass and weeds, graffiti, and junk motor vehicles. Their hard work and responsiveness enhance our quality of life and make our communities cleaner, healthier, and safer. The professionalism of our code enforcement officers is second to none, and we salute them for their outstanding work!” -- TaKasha Francis, DON Director

Help us enforce City codes!
The City relies on the community to help identify potential code violations. We encourage residents to report code violations by phone at 3-1-1, via email to, or online at

The Department of Neighborhoods invites residents to take advantage of A Month of Service online workshops on legal topics. The monthly workshops focus on basic legalities and procedures pertaining to estate planning, wills, inheriting property, probate, property tax protests, and foreclosure prevention. The series also includes workshops on tenant rights and immigrant concerns during the pandemic as well as first-time homebuyer education and “Coffee and Conversation” with City staff focused on neighborhood concerns. To register, go to and click on the date/session of interest or call 346-339-1088. Workshop offerings are posted at the start of each month. Registrants without internet can participate in the workshops by phone.

Stay informed by phone!

Would you like to receive brief voice or text messages in English or Spanish informing you about essential city services and community resources? If so, we invite you to subscribe to Neighborhood Updates.  This service is especially convenient for seniors and others who may not have easy access to the internet. To subscribe to Neighborhood Updates, call 3-1-1. You will have the option of receiving messages via voice or text and in English or Spanish. [English Flyer]  [Spanish Flyer]

Cast your vote!

Cast Your Vote

Early Voting
Harris County Early voting started October 18 and continues through October 29, as listed below. Voters may cast their ballots at any designated Early Voting polling location.

  • October 25-27, 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.
  • October 28, 7 a.m. - 10 p.m.
  • October 29 (24 hour voting at select locations)
  • October 29, 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Vote by Mail Ballot

  • A completed mail ballot must be returned to the Harris County Election Administrator’s Office in the Official Carrier Envelope provided by the Election Administrator’s Office.
  • Ballots mailed via United States Postal Services must be postmarked by 7 p.m. on Election Day and must be received by 5 p.m. on the first mail delivery day after Election Day.
  • Voters can also drop off the ballot at the Election Administrator’s Office in person, with the presentation of an acceptable photo ID, on Election Day only from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Voters can also send the ballot to the Election Administrator’s Office via a contract courier (such as FedEx or UPS). The ballot must be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day. If the carrier provides receipt mark of a time before 7 p.m. Election Day, it may be received by 5 p.m. on the first delivery day after Election Day.
  • Track your mail ballot at

Vote on Election Day
Cast your ballot on Election Day, November 2.  The polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Polling Locations & More
For Early Voting and Election Day polling locations and detailed voter information, including sample ballots, voter photo ID requirements for people voting in person, vote by mail application requirements, and curbside voting accommodations available for people who are physically unable to enter the polling site building without personal assistance, go to

Voter Guide
For a personalized nonpartisan voter guide, visit

Neighboring Counties Voter Information

Brazoria County:

Fort Bend County

Galveston County:

Montgomery County


For the latest COVID-19 information, visit The website provides links to the following:

  • List of Vaccination Sites
  • List of Testing Sites
  • Recovery Services & Community Resources
  • COVID-19 Multilingual Information
  • Educational Resources
  • Speaker/Information Request Form
  • COVID-19 Official Information Sources
  • Guidance for Healthcare Providers
  • SARS-CoV2 Wastewater Monitoring Dashboard

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 protect yourself and your family from COVID-19. Vaccination is FREE and does not require proof of residency, citizenship, or insurance. The Houston Health Department and affiliates offer free vaccinations by appointment and walk-ins are welcome. For vaccination sites, go to For more information, call the department’s COVID-19 Call Center at 832-393-4220.

The Houston Health Department offers free in-home COVID-19 vaccination to qualifying older adults, people with disabilities, and veterans. To see if you qualify for this service and to make an appointment, call 832-393-4301.

The CDC recommends that people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised should receive an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine after the initial two doses. An additional dose intended to improve immunocompromised people’s response to their initial vaccine series is not the same as a booster dose. The booster dose is given to people when the immune response to a primary vaccine series is likely to have waned over time.

The CDC recommends a booster shot of Pfizer or Moderna for the following populations who completed the initial series at least six months ago:

Adults who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are recommended for a booster shot at least two months after the initial dose. 
If the vaccine a person originally received is not available, any of the three can be “mixed and matched” as a booster shot.

For more information about vaccine booster shots, go to COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shot | CDC.

CDC recommends that everyone 12 years and older should get a COVID-19 vaccine. Children 12 years and older can get the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. For more information, click on link: COVID-19 Vaccines for Children and Teens | CDC.

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

The Houston Harris County Area Agency on Aging offers COVID-19 in-home testing to eligible older adults, people with disabilities, and veterans who reside in Harris County. To inquire about this service, call 832-393-4301.

Access the latest updates from the following official sources:
Houston Health Department
Harris County Public Health
Texas Department of State Health Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
World Health Organization


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 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. and 1:00-3:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday.


Medicare enrollment is open now through December 7. During this period, Medicare beneficiaries can compare health insurance and prescription drug coverage options and make changes for next year. New coverage begins January 1, 2022. The Harris County Area Agency on Aging offers free counseling to eligible Medicare beneficiaries or their legal representatives. Counselors are offering face-to-face meetings this year as well as appointments via Zoom and Microsoft Teams, and by telephone. To request services, call 832-393-4301.  Beneficiaries can preview Medicare plans at

Music, movies, exhibits & more!

Check out the Houston Public Library’s (HPL) fall schedule of movies, music and more at its Central Library and Barbara Bush Literacy Plaza. The lineup includes two new Wednesday lunch programs. Wednesdays on the Plaza feature outdoor performances showcasing Houston’s cultural diversity. Houston in Harmony indoor programs showcase music performances celebrating an array of musical styles.

HPL’s family-friendly Story to Screen returns this fall, featuring film adaptations, modern retellings of classics, and cinematic true stories. The screenings take place every third Thursday of the month from 6 to 8 p.m., shown on the brand new digital screen located on the Barbara Bush Literacy Plaza. Upcoming screenings include Cool Runnings, November 18, and Scrooged, December 18.

HPL also presents free exhibits to the Houston community. Major exhibits can be viewed at the Julia Ideson Building and the African American Library at the Gregory School. Community showcases are on display at the Central Library and neighborhood libraries throughout the city. Below are two exhibits currently on view.

Library Photo 1

African American Artists in Texas: Selections from the John L. Nau, III Collection of Texas Art on view through March 12, 2022 at The African American Library at the Gregory School.

Library Photo 1

Houston Photographic Society: Images on view through January 6, 2022 at Central Library | 1st Floor Art Gallery.

Learn about Department of Neighborhoods services.
Join us online!

Department of Neighborhoods Logo

Facebook   I   Twitter   I   Instagram   I   Website