Weekly Update – July 4

July 4, 2021 -- Thursday, July 1, marked the beginning of the new fiscal year and the halfway point for 2021.

We have accomplished a lot together over the past six months. Innovation is moving our city forward at the Houston Spaceport, Greentown Labs, and the East End Makers Hub. Creative thinkers are collaborating to make practical ideas and technologies that will address the energy crisis, bring jobs to Houstonians, and usher in the next generation of leaders.

I am looking forward to continuing our work of building stronger and more resilient neighborhoods across Houston. For the remainder of FY22, we will remain focused on my key priorities for the City of Houston which are Complete Communities, Public Safety, Services and Infrastructure, Sound Fiscal Management, and Resilient Houston.

Be sure to follow the new Houston Complete Communities social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook to keep up with how the initiative is bridging the gap between equity and opportunity in many of our  neighborhoods.

Houston Complete Communities

As major cities across the country, including Houston, report an increase in violence, I am working closely with the Houston Police Department and Chief Troy Finner to address homicides and other criminal activity. While crime is up in all major cities across the nation, we are taking proactive steps to keep Houston safe.

Police Summit

Chief Finner has held two summits this year to find solutions to the disturbing trend that also includes family violence. In June, Chief Finner invited local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to collaborate on how the City can better coordinate resources, identify criminals, and get them off the streets.

For the second summit, he invited nightclub owners to the table to discuss how they can provide more security surrounding their venues. These discussions will continue. Everybody has a role to play to take our City back from the criminal element.

Mayor Turner and Police Chief Finner

Many people are frustrated and frightened by the rise in crime, which in many cases is tied to domestic violence, gang activity and drugs.

This year, I have also worked extensively with our community to enact policing reform. The Mayor’s Office has created a new position that will focus on such initiatives – the Office of Policing Reform and Accountability, led by Deputy Inspector General Crystal Okorafor. We are currently in the process of making new appointments to the Independent Police Oversight Board, chaired by Stephen Ives. In June, the City of Houston launched a Police Transparency Hub, connecting Houstonians with data about police interactions in their neighborhoods.

Fire Department Logo

This week, the city council passed an ordinance to grant Houston firefighters an 18% pay raise over three years (.pdf). The increase will cost the City $115.3 million but firefighters deserve a raise the City can afford. The City has also announced an agreement with HOPE for a 9% pay increase for municipal employees over three years.

Jill Biden and Doug Emhoff First Photo

Jill Biden and Doug Emhoff Second Photo

On Tuesday, I greeted First Lady Dr. Jill Biden and 2nd Gentleman Doug Emhoff upon their arrival to Houston and spoke with them during a tour of a vaccination clinic at Minute Maid Park prior to the Astros game. FLOTUS and SGOTUS were here to promote the need for people to get vaccinated to protect their health and their loved ones against COVID-19.

The Houston Health Department encourages everyone to Take Their Best Shot and get the COVID-19 vaccine. While we have held dozens of successful vaccine events, our vaccinations numbers should be higher.

As of June 27, 2021:

Houston-Harris County Emergency Rental Assistance Program

The Houston-Harris County Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) has reached a significant milestone by providing nearly $120 million in rental relief to thousands of individuals and families. The relief funds have helped residents avoid eviction during a time when the pandemic has created substantial economic and housing challenges for many.

In addition to the funding already allocated, an additional $53.5 million in rental relief is being added to the program, via funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) passed by Congress earlier this year, and more ARPA funding is expected to be added to the ERAP in the coming months.

COVID’s toll on people’s finances is far from over, but because of the Houston-Harris County fund, almost 32,000 families are now safe from eviction, and nearly $120 million has gone into the region to uphold our economy. Nobody benefits from Houstonians losing their homes - not the families, not their landlords, and certainly not our communities.

Hire Houston Youth Resource and Job Fairs

Do you know a young person ages 16 - 24 looking for a summer job? It's not too late to get a summer job, a year-round job, and/or resources for preparing for and finding a job or career! Please go to the Hire Houston Youth section of the city's website to learn more about opportunities and an upcoming career and resource fair.

City Hall

Transparency is one of the pillars of my administration and the Government Relations team has produced the City of Houston’s 2021 Legislative Report that outlines the accomplishments and debates that Houston’s team engaged in during the session. The site is illustrated by Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Nick Anderson and organized into the city’s Legislative Priorities, Legislative Battles, Unfinished Business, Appropriations, Written Testimonies, as well as listing out Houston’s Legislative Team. Please take time to read it.

Alief Elisk High School Debate Team Day

This week, I was proud to present a proclamation declaring honoring "Alief Elisk High School Debate Team Day" in Houston.

Elsik's Anthony Hoang, Diego Castillo, Ebenezer Appiah, and Rodrigo Trujillo took first place in World Schools Debate at the National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) Championship Tournament. The Elsik team, which qualified for the NSDA national tournament by winning the HUDL City Championship in March, became the first Houston Urban Debate League City Champs to win a national title.

Donate Blood

The City of Houston and Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center teamed up to help restore the blood supply in our communities. We hosted a successful blood drive in the City Hall Legacy Room. We are the largest medical center in the world. It is vital we have enough supply for everyone who needs a blood transfusion. You never know when you will be the person in need. Please contact the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center to make an appointment to donate in the future.

Recent Headlines

Recent Headlines  

WATCH: We are focused on innovation to help the City attract jobs and businesses. In case you missed it, the East End Maker Hub opened on June 3. The hub provides an opportunity to reclaim our history of innovation and manufacturing and ensure that innovation is equitable. It will provide development for the sake of the East End and all of its residents.