The City of Houston is hosting the Neighborhoods, USA (NUSA) conference from May 20 – 23, 2015 in Houston, Texas. NUSA is a non-profit group focused on building stronger communities by providing learning, information sharing and networking opportunities for its members.
Meaningful and entertaining neighborhood tours are one of the key components of a successful NUSA conference. The neighborhood tours provide an opportunity for local organizations and neighborhood groups to showcase their neighborhood based programs and places to a national audience. Conference participants have an opportunity to interact with local community members and learn from programs occurring in the unique places that make Houston the vibrant city that it is.
The NUSA 2015 Neighborhood Tour Committee is seeking proposals from Houston community members to host a neighborhood tour showcasing Houston’s dynamic and diverse places, people and neighborhoods. Proposals are due by Monday, December 1, 2014, 5:00 pm. Proposals must include both neighborhood tour and contact information. Preference is given to proposals that address the conference theme, Passion into Action.
Please contact us at 713-837-7836 or NUSA2015@houstontx.gov for further information or to discuss possible neighborhood tours that your organization or neighborhood group could host. Thank you for your support and we look forward to seeing you at the NUSA 2015 Conference.
The City of Houston’s Housing and Community Development Department (HCDD) is developing plans to spend a projected $200 million in federal grants by carrying out community development, quality of life, and affordable housing projects over the next five year.
Help us understand your neighborhood by completing the Community Needs Survey. In 3 easy ways:
1. Complete the Community Needs Survey online at:
2. Download and print paper copies of the Community Needs Survey in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Chinese at http://www.houstonhousing.org/. Mail completed surveys to 601 Sawyer, 4th Floor, Houston, TX 77007, Attn: Andrea Jones
3. Invite a Housing and Community Development Department (HCDD) staff person to facilitate a Community Needs Survey meeting with your group by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The City’s five year plan will be detailed in the 2015-2019 Consolidated Plan (Con Plan) that will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in May of 2015.
Public input is an essential part of the City’s planning process and crucial to our ability to address the unique needs of Houston’s many communities. Complete the survey by December 15, 2014 so your voice is heard.
The Only Thing We Have to Fear . . .
President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in the midst of the Great Depression, encouraged a worried nation with these hope-filled words: “. . . let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself-nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” Those words seem to still ring true.
During the past few weeks, Houstonians have watched the developments of the Ebola victims in Dallas with deepening concern. For those of us who live in District J – Houston’s most extensive international community – these developments are quite personal. Many of us have friends, colleagues, and business associates who hail from, or who do business with, West African countries. For us, the fight against the Ebola virus on the African continent has also been a fight for our own community.
This week, City Council was briefed on Houston’s state of preparedness to combat the Ebola virus. Dr. David Persse, the Houston Emergency Medical Services Director, explained that while no cases have occurred in Houston yet, the city’s vast medical community is prepared if such an event occurs. He then provided a detailed explanation of plans and procedures in case an infection was to occur. You can see their detailed video report here as well as general Ebola update information, an Ebola Fact Sheet, and a ”What you need to know about Ebola“ sheet.
Answering questions from Mayor Parker and the Council, Dr. Persse explained initial symptoms of Ebola can resemble those of other common diseases, including the flu. If you are medically able, join me in getting your flu shot in order to eliminate that source of worry.
Let’s do all we can to inoculate ourselves against an ”unreasoning fear” of the Ebola virus. Let’s educate ourselves about the disease in all its facets. As always, please be diligent in maintaining standard sanitary and hygienic practices to ensure that our friends, neighbors and family members remain healthy.
-Mike Laster, Council Member – District J
The Neighborhood Matching Grant Program (NMGP) helps neighborhoods fund various beautification and improvement projects by providing matching grant (reimbursements) ranging from $500 to $5,000.
Materials relating to the Neighborhood Matching Grant Program are now available on the Department of Neighborhood’s website: http://www.houstontx.gov/neighborhoods/matchinggrants.html
The material include the grant application, FAQs, and past grant recipients (which outlines that respective grant project).
For more information, contact Conya Barreras at the Department of Neighborhoods at 832-394-0654 or email@example.com.
Don’t Miss this Year’s National Night Out. . .
Every first Tuesday in October, our community comes together to support our local police officers at annual National Night Out (NNO) events around the City. This evening allows neighbors the chance to get to know each other and their local police officers, all while supporting the common goal of fighting crime, making neighborhoods safer and improving our quality of life.
Please check with your local civic association or HPD storefront to find out what events are happening near you. Various events will take place on Tuesday, October 7th, from 6pm to 9pm, throughout our neighborhoods and community centers. Virtually every neighborhood in District J will be hosting some sort of event, with some subdivisions hosting multiple events.
If you have never been, you are in for a treat! Folks gather for good food, camaraderie, and lively conversation. By getting to know each other better, we form a goodwill covenant to be better neighbors, to watch out for each other, and to help protect our homes, properties and communities from crime.
I, and your District J staff, look forward to attending as many of this year’s District J NNO events as time will allow. See you Tuesday!
-Mike Laster, Council Member – District J
To help the public properly dispose of unused or expired medication, the Drug Enforcement Administration is partnering with the Mayor’s Office and the Houston Police Department (HPD) to host the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. All tablets, capsules and solid dosage forms will be collected (intravenous solutions, injectables and syringes will not be accepted).
This event will be held at several locations nationwide on Saturday, September 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. To find the location nearest to you, go to http://www.dea.gov and click on the “got drugs” link. This service is free, anonymous and open to all.
Citizens can drop off prescription drugs to HPD personnel at the following nine locations:
- Kingwood (Metro Park and Ride) – 3210 W. Lake Houston Parkway – Kingwood 77339
- Northeast Police Station – 8301 Ley Rd. – Houston 77028
- South Central Police Station – 2202 St. Emanuel – Houston 77003
- Westside Police Station – 3203 S Dairy Ashford Rd – Houston 77082
- Southeast Police Station – 8300 Mykawa Rd. – Houston 77048
- Clear Lake Police Station – 2855 Bay Area Blvd. – Houston 77058
- South Gessner Police Station – 8605 Westplace Dr. – Houston 77071
- North Police Station – 9455 W. Montgomery – Houston 77088
For more information, please go to http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/index.html
Mayor Annise Parker welcomed thousands of pre-registered students and their families to the 4th Annual Mayor’s Back to School Fest on Saturday, August 16, 2014. Joining Mayor Parker for the opening ceremony and ribbon-cutting were fest presenting sponsors Shell Oil Company and Motiva Enterprises LLC, host University of Houston, donors, participating agencies, and volunteers.
The event’s purpose was to aid economically disadvantaged students grades K-5, who reside in the City of Houston, prepare for the new school year. Participation in the fest was offered by advance registration only. Families who were not able to pre-register to participate in the event are advised to call the 2-1-1 United Way Helpline for referrals to community agencies offering assistance.
The City of Houston is grateful to all of its sponsors, volunteers, and exhibitors for making this event a success and wishes all students great academic achievement in this school year!
4th Annual Mayor’s Back to School Fest Sponsors
Shell Oil Company and Motiva Enterprises LLC
Sponsors: University of Houston, Kroger, Undies for Everyone, FirstService Residential, Summit Dental Center, Texas Children’s Health Plan, CenterPoint Energy, Comcast, Fiesta Mart, CHI St. Luke’s Medical Center, TAM International Inc., Union Pacific Railroad, Kelsey-Seybold Clinics, KBR, , MetroPCS, UPS, Capital One Bank, The Felix and Angela Morales Memorial Foundation, Delta Dental of California, Blue Cross/Blue Shield Care Van, Smart Financial Credit Union, Texas Barber Colleges & Hairstyling Schools, Texas Exposition Services, Walgreens, Academy Sports & Outdoors, Simple Tech Solutions, Fallas Paredes, Your Logo, CESI, American Textile Recycling Service, Whole Foods, CompuCycle, and Walmart.
Crime statistics show that Southwest Houston neighborhoods are among the city’s safest, and Houston City Councilman Larry Green credits the work of residents who are engaged in the community.
“We have some challenges. There will always be criminals out there. But I think we have systems in place, organizations in place like Southwest Houston 2000, to help address them,” Green recently told the group’s safety and security committee.
Formed more than two decades ago, Southwest Houston 2000 Inc. is a coalition of civic and religious groups, nonprofits and businesses that works to improve quality of life in the region. Crime prevention is a key focus for its safety committee.
Green said his District K, which extends from Braeswood Boulevard into Fort Bend County between Almeda Road and Gessner, ranked as third safest in Houston in “Part I” crimes, behind District E, which includes Clear Lake and Kingwood, and District G, which takes in River Oaks and the Memorial area. Part I crimes include violent and property crimes such as murder, rape, aggravated assault, burglary, robbery and theft.
District K had 10,156 Part I crimes in 2013, compared to 9,740 in 2012, the data shows. District E Part I crimes fell 2.1 percent to 6,859 in 2013, and District G had 9,973, 1.1 percent less than in 2012.
“Obviously, we want to have the lowest crime rate,” Green said.
“It’s happening,” said Perry Radoff, who chairs the SWH 2000 safety committee.
Radoff routinely collects data on police calls for service to local apartment complexes, where many of the area’s crimes reported. From 2011 to 2013, the number of calls continued to trend downward at most properties, his most recent report shows.
“Our folks are in better communication with Houston Police Department than ever before,” says Andy Teas, vice president of public affairs for Houston Apartment Association.
A recent training session provided by the Blue Star program to reduce crime at rental properties was filled to capacity by apartment staff members, he said.
Blue Star, a joint effort by HPD and HAA, also requires multifamily properties to comply with an environmental safety survey and to host a safety social involving residents.
HPD has cracked down on high-crime properties, putting in place remedial action plans where necessary, Teas said.
The Brays Oaks Management District helps area apartment owners and managers connect to HAA and similar services, including tenant screening.
Last month, the district’s Richard Rodriquez unveiled a program that will recognize properties focused on safety and crime prevention.
Teas said the improved economy has helped. With fewer vacancies, apartment managers can be more discriminating about whom they rent to.
“A rising tide lifts all boats, and I think that’s very true,” Teas said.
But still, Green agreed with Radoff that more work is needed to address area poverty and its impact on youths.
“It’s very difficult for us to change what happens in those households,” Green said.
“The only thing we can do is make sure that, when they come out, the community is safe and able to provide resources so the kids have an outlet.”
Residents in the area, including some on the committee, are advocating for more park space through the Houston Parks and Recreation Department’s master parks survey process.
Green said the challenge continues to be finances.
“There still is this huge chasm in regards to the haves and the have-nots,” said Green, who is focused on bringing resources and activities to his district, including afterschool programs through churches and community centers.
“I look for suggestions about systems or programs we need that we don’t already have,” he said.