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September 11, 2020

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Serving Neighborhoods Bulletin

TaKasha Francis Message


Virtual Classes - Focus on Legal Issues in the Pandemic
The Department of Neighborhoods and community partners continue to serve Houstonians while adhering to social distancing by offering “A Month of Service” free classes online.

The classes cover legal issues surrounding a range of topics, explored in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The topics include estate planning, taxes, employment, evictions and child custody and divorce.

“Month of Service” partners and presenters include NRCDC Houston, Harris County Appraisal District, Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector’s Office, Houston Volunteer Lawyers, TSU Earl Carl Institute and Lone Star Legal Aid.

September’s series of classes continue, as follows:

  • How to Handle Inherited Property and Clearing Title, September 15, 1-3 p.m.
  • Working During COVID-19, Know your Rights, September 17, 1-3 p.m.
  • Create Your Own Estate Plan in a Time of COVID-19, September 22, 1-3 p.m.
  • Child Custody and Divorce During COVID-19, September 24, 1-3 p.m.
  • For class details, click link: [Flyer]

To register, go to If you don’t have access to the internet, call NRCDC at 346-339-1088 to register. You will be able to listen to the presentations by phone.

All classes are recorded and links to the recorded sessions are posted online at

Neighborhood Matching Grant Program - Call for Applications
Nonprofit groups invited to submit neighborhood improvement grant proposals!

Application Deadline - November 6, 2020

Tell Your Neighbors

The 2020 application period for the Neighborhood Matching Grant Program is open! The program supports neighborhood beautification and improvement projects by providing dollar-for-dollar matching grant reimbursements ranging from $500 to $5,000. The application deadline is November 6, 2020.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Neighborhood-based organizations and civic clubs with State of Texas 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) non-profit certification are eligible to apply.
  • Neighborhood-based organizations without official nonprofit status may apply in partnership with a 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) organization as co-applicant.
  • Grant projects must represent a specific geographic area located within the Houston city limits.

The Neighborhood Matching Grant Program is administered by the Department of Neighborhoods in partnership with participating Houston City Council offices.

The program is designed to encourage civic activity among neighbors, promote volunteerism, and support projects that contribute towards building stronger communities.

For the application form and guidelines, go to

Subscribe to Neighborhood Updates – a New Phone Messaging Service!

Phone Messenging Service

There’s a new way to stay informed of COVID-19 recovery resources, essential city services!  Subscribe to Neighborhood Updates to receive seasonal advisories via telephone voice or text messages 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.

Información en español:


COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program
UPDATE:  Landlord Enrollments & Tenant Applications Still Being Accepted!
The BakerRipley COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program, funded by Harris County and the City of Houston, is providing rental assistance to residential tenants who live within the City of Houston and/or Harris County and are experiencing an economic hardship as a result of COVID-19.

The program will continue to accept tenant applications and landlord enrollments until all funds have been awarded.

Landlord Enrollment
Landlords can sign up as Participating Landlord once they agree to the terms and conditions of the program. Landlords will be paid directly by BakerRipley on behalf of eligible Tenants. Landlord enrollment is intended for residential rental properties located within Harris County and/or the City of Houston.

Tenant Applications
Tenants whose landlords are enrolled in the program as Participating Landlords may apply for rental assistance for past due rent.  If a tenant is approved for assistance, the landlord will be paid directly by BakerRipley.

For eligibility details and to apply, go to

Food Assistance
The Houston Food Bank is transitioning away from their large-scale Neighborhood Super Site distributions but continues to support its many partners across the region.

The food bank supports food and produce distributions, senior boxes, meal sites and more! For a map of food distribution locations, go to

For a list of organizations offering food assistance, go to

Food Assistance

Help with Electricity Bills
Do you need help with your energy bill? The Community Assistance from Reliant Energy (CARE) program helps qualifying Reliant customers with their electricity bill.  For find out if you qualify for assistance, call 2-1-1.

Financial Empowerment Centers – Free Counseling

Financial Empowerment Centers

The Financial Empowerment Centers (FECs) provide one-to-one, professional financial counseling to Houstonians at no cost.  The service is an initiative of the Mayor’s Office of Complete Communities supported by Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund and Regions Bank.

FEC counselors provide guidance to how to manage your money, pay down debt, increase saving, establish and build credit, and access safe and affordable mainstream banking products.

All services are free and available to all residents regardless of income.  Counseling assistance is available in both English and Spanish.

For more information and to make an appointment, go to

Free Legal Assistance

Evication Notice Graphic

Help to Fight Evictions
Local legal groups are working together to help Houston area residents fight evictions. Go to for information on free legal representation. The site includes a self-representation kit, mediation and lawyer referrals. Anyone who has received an eviction notice should act as soon as possible! Other sources of information include

Advice for Veterans

Advice for Veterans
Legal clinics offer free advice by phone to low-income U.S. military veterans every Friday, 2 to 5 p.m. Veterans may submit applications by phone at 713-228-0735 or online at The clinic is open to all low-income veterans and spouses of deceased veterans in the Houston area.

Mexican American Bar Association

Assistance in Spanish
Consejos Legales is a service of the Mexican American Bar Association and the Hispanic Bar Association that offers legal consultations by phone to residents of Houston and Harris County on the first Thursday of every month from 6 to 8 p.m. To confirm the date and time of the next Consejos Legales, check the website calendar or call the Houston Bar Association at 713-759-1133.

Consejos Legales es un programa de la Asociación Mexicana de Abogados y la Asociación Hispana de Abogados. El programa ofrece asesoría legal gratuita en español por teléfono para los residentes de Houston y el Condado de Harris el primer jueves de cada mes, entre las 6 y las 8 p.m. Para confirmar la fecha y hora de los siguientes Consejos Legales, consulte el calendario del sitio web o llame a la oficina de Houston Bar Association al (713) 759-1133.

Domestic Violence during COVID-19 – Help for Survivors 
If you are experiencing violence because you are forced to stay with an abusive partner, call the Houston Area Women’s Center 24-hour hotline for free and confidential assistance.

Houston Area Women's Center - Domestic Violence Hotline 
713-528-2121  TTY - 713-528-3625

No COVID Abuse


Mask Up

For official City of Houston COVID-19 updates, news, testing sites and recovery resources, including multilingual information, go to  

For a list of recovery services and resources offered by city departments, businesses and community groups, click on the following link:


Free COVID-19 testing is available to everyone at Houston Health Department testing sites and numerous sites operated by agency partners.  Anyone can get free testing regardless of symptoms.  Proof of citizenship or insurance is not required.

For a weekly schedule of testing sites, click on the following link:

To register for testing at a site operated by the Houston Health Department or inquire about a testing site nearest you, call the COVID-19 Call Center at 832-393-4220 between 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

COVID Call Center


Better Together

Let’s work Better Together by following COVID-19 prevention practices:



Plan and Prepare
Be ready for a hurricane emergency! Have a plan. Prepare a kit with supplies such as food, water, medications, a flashlight, batteries, masks and hand sanitizer. Inquire about emergency evacuation available to people with disabilities and special medical needs by calling 2-1-1 in advance.

Sign Up for Emergency Notifications
Sign up to receive AlertHouston notifications during emergencies regarding current conditions, expected impacts and protective actions.  You have the option of receiving alerts via email, text, voice call, or mobile app push notification.  To sign up for AlertHouston, go to

Alert Houston


Census Deadline - September 30, 2020

Census takers have begun going to homes in the Houston area to help residents complete the 2020 Census questionnaire. Census workers carry official U.S. Census identification badges and are trained to follow COVID-19 safety practices.

Why is it so important to be counted in the 2020 Census?  Because the population count is used to determine federal funding for many basic services and emergencies such as the pandemic recovery from disasters.

Make sure everyone in your household is counted. Respond to the census online at by mail, or by phone at 844-330-2020.

Say Yes to the Census


Voter Registration Deadline - October 5, 2020


Election officials are expecting a record turnout this year and, due to COVID-19 concerns, the early voting period will extend for an additional six days. Make sure you are registered to vote.  If possible, cast your ballot during early voting.

Deadline to Register to Vote:  Monday, October 5, 2020

Early Voting: Tuesday, October 13 – 30, 2020

Last Day to Apply for Ballot by Mail: Friday, October 23, 2020 (received, not postmarked)

General & Special Elections: Tuesday, November 3, 2020
For voter information, go to

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