One For All Newsletter: Summer 2023

13 Jul, 23

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Message From Your Commissioner

Dear Friends,

In Harris County, we work every day to give our diverse communities a seat at the table and a fighting shot at the American dream. This year, Commissioners Court is working hard to build a more just, equitable, thriving Harris County.

In just the first six months of 2023, Commissioners Court has:

  • Advanced an economy that works for everyone and better-paying jobs by expanding safety requirements on construction sites and creating an apprenticeship program to create worker opportunities.
  • Protected women’s health by supporting a maternal health program and expanded access to reproductive health care by creating a reproductive health fund.
  • Ensured everyone has access to safe, affordable, and stable housing through eviction prevention and committed millions of dollars to buy and repair permanently affordable housing.
  • Created a safer Harris County through our Holistic Assistance Response Team (HART) and Community Violence Interruption Program. HART is a first responder pilot program that responds to non-violent, non-emergency 911 calls for mental and behavioral health issues, substance use, homelessness, poverty, and welfare checks. HART teams are dispatched through the 911 system, allowing deputies to spend more time on serious violent crimes. The Violence Interruption Program is a community and hospital-based program that works with trusted community messengers in high-risk communities to interrupt cycles of gun violence by connecting high-risk individuals and communities to resources for employment, gang exits, and behavioral health.

But while Harris County is building a brighter future, others are trying to tear down that progress and attacking rights and freedoms earned over generations. Leaders from the state of Texas are taking away our right to guide our neighborhood schools and handing political appointees control of HISD. They are banning books and changing school curriculums to write us out of history. They deny women control over their bodies, health, and future. They are coming after voting rights, passing laws that make it easier to subvert elections and harder for people of color, youth, and others to vote. They are working to prevent local leaders from taking action to protect workers and advance a fair and equitable economy for all.

I will continue to stand up for our community. It will take all of us working together to protect and advance our rights, freedoms, and seat at the table.

Rodney Ellis

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Harris County leaders are working to bridge the economic divide so that communities can prosper together and have a stronger, safer, and more vibrant place for all to call home.

Unfortunately, despite the region’s vast prosperity, Harris County is home to some of the worst economic inequality in the country—especially for people of color, women, working families, and young people. Decades of neglect, inequitable investments, and unfair barriers have put the American dream out of reach for multiple generations in Harris County. The economic divide has only grown wider with soaring costs of living and poverty wages. Too many families struggle to get by without a path to get ahead. They stretch every dollar and still can’t make ends meet. No one should have to choose between making the rent, keeping the lights on, or putting food on the table. 

That’s why Harris County recently launched Harris Prospers—a plan to ensure families have the basics they need to thrive and real opportunities to prosper. Initiatives under Harris Prospers focus on two strategic goals:

Creating Paths to Good Jobs and Fair Opportunity by:

  • Leading the fight for good-paying jobs and worker protections;
  • Building career pipelines through job training and labor apprenticeship programs;
  • Leveling the playing field with fair and inclusive local economic policies that benefit communities, businesses owned by women and people of color, and small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Ensuring Families Have Basic Building Blocks to Thrive by:

  • Increasing access to safe, stable, and affordable housing; 
  • Supporting families with resources to help meet basic needs;
  • Expanding access to childcare, early education, and youth enrichment programs.

It will take time, but Precinct One is working every day to make a difference for families and create a prosperous, thriving Harris County.

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Meet Me in Precinct One

Harris County’s Precinct One Programs Division provides free educational and recreational classes, workshops, and resources at seven community centers, one Environmental Education Learning Center, and two natatoriums across the precinct. Serving about 20,000 constituents yearly, the Programs Division partners with various organizations and serves children ages 6 to 17, adults, and seniors over 50. Check out the summer offerings and meet us in Precinct One!

Youth Programs

Precinct One offers holistic programs year-round but ramps up youth programming during the summer, in collaboration with Harris County Street Olympics, the City of Houston, Harris County Department of Education, Houston Food Bank Kids Café, Children’s Defense Fund, and the Parris Foundation. The programs below are free, full-day activities.

Summer Day Camp – Offers full-day enrichment, weekly field trips, arts and crafts, and recreation (including optional swim class). 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Ages 6 to 13. Offered at: Lincoln Community Center & the Finnigan Youth Education Town (YET)

CDF Freedom Schools – Provides summer enrichment focusing on academic improvement and character-building; parent and family involvement; civic engagement and social action; intergenerational servant leadership development; and nutrition, health, and mental health. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Ages 6 to 12. Offered at: YET

Discovery Camp – Engages youth in nature hikes, live animal ambassador programs, STEM-based crafts, and games that develop natural curiosity and inquiry. Participants learn to identify and understand wildlife, habitats, and conservation ideas. Offered at: Deussen Park

Learn to Swim – Provides lessons including getting comfortable in the water, general water safety, and knowledge of swim strokes using the Red Cross curriculum taught by certified Water Safety Instructors. Ages 6 to 17. Due to construction, all summer classes will end July 20 at the Harris County Aquatics Center.

Senior Enrichment Program

The Senior Enrichment Program hosts seniors ages 50 and over at six community centers and is customized to meet the need of each surrounding neighborhood. Classes, workshops, and direct services focus on helping seniors achieve a healthier lifestyle, combat social isolation, and continue their learning. Community partners include Harris County Appraisal District, Alzheimer’s Association, BakerRipley, Baylor College of Medicine, Prairie View A&M Cooperative Extension Program, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, and the Houston Food Bank. Precinct One also contracts with community-based vendors to provide arts and crafts, Zumba, yoga, fitness instruction, weight training, gardening, computer classes, line dancing, chair volleyball, pickleball, and other health and wellness activities. These services are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visit for more information and to become a registered participant at your nearest Precinct One Community Center.

Recreation & Wellness

Precinct One community centers are open to all who want to participate in recreation and wellness activities.The Recreation and Wellness program offers a variety of activities in partnership with BakerRipley, Baylor Collegeof Medicine, Harris County Appraisal District, Houston Methodist, Houston Recovery Center, the Harris Center,and UT Health Houston. Following is a list of current offerings; visit the community portal to learn about other classes and workshops at a center near you.

Aquatics – Learn to Swim, Water Aerobics, Aqua Zumba, and Lap Swimming twice a week, Monday through Thursday, between 8 a.m. and noon for adults ages 18 and over. Due to construction, all summer classes will end July 20 at the Harris County Aquatics Center. At Julia C. Hester House, classes will end Aug. 3.

Weight Room – Free and resistance-weight equipment, treadmills, bikes, and other cardio equipment for adultsages 18 and over at Finnigan, Lincoln Park, Tom Bass, and the El Franco Lee community centers. Please wearcomfortable workout clothing with closed-toe shoes. Finnigan Park: Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.;Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Lincoln Park: Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Xtreme Hip Hop Fitness Class – An aerobic step board paired with dance routines to hip-hop music for adults of all fitness levels. Please wear comfortable clothing and softsoled shoes. YET Center: Tuesday and Thursday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Yoga – Specific poses combined with specific breathing techniques and meditation principles. Please wear comfortable clothing. Finnigan Park Community Center: Wednesday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Zumba – Dance to great music and burn calories. Please wear comfortable clothing and soft-soled shoes. Lincoln Park Community Center: beginner, Wednesday, 6-7 p.m.; advanced, Thursday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Line Dancing – Learn new dances, socialize while exercising, have fun, and improve your fitness. Please wear comfortable clothing and soft-soled shoes. Lincoln Park Community Center: Tuesday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Open Court Basketball – Pick-up basketball games. Lincoln Park Community Center: Monday and Thursday,5 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Finnigan Park Community Center: Monday and Thursday, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The Precinct One Team works to bring healthcare resources to our communities. We partner with Harris County Public Health to provide chronic disease management programs and health education classes. Houston Methodist educates our constituents on better and healthier ways of managing stress and understanding our mental health and why it is important. The UT Health Stroke Program offers a yearly health fair on stroke awareness, prevention, and brain health. Most recently, we partnered with Texas SouthernUniversity’s Breast Cancer Screening and Prevention Center to bring these life-saving screenings to individuals.

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Bridging Gaps

For too long, Harris County’s underrepresented communities have been left behind when it comes to major infrastructure projects.

Precinct One is working every day to bridge that divide and give every neighborhood access to transportation, green space, and flood mitigation.

This year, Precinct One’s Development and Infrastructure division is working on parks, roads, sidewalks, trails, and flood protection – all designed to improve quality of life, safety, and access to affordable transportation.

The Hill at Sims, a new park in development in the Sunnyside community, will be a crown jewel for that community once it’s completed. In collaboration with Houston Parks Board, the 100-acre property will transform to include trails, a hilltop pavilion, benches, pier/water access, and beautiful landscaping. We are bringing green space to a community that, for too long, has lacked quality-gathering spaces.

Precinct One is also hard at work to give people, especially those without cars, environmentally friendly commuter options. For example, the recently completed Almeda Trail provides an alternative means of transportation connecting the areas of NRG Park, Brays Bayou Greenway, Hermann Park, and sections of the Texas Medical Center, one of the major employment centers for the greater Houston region. Workers are also wrapping up Tidwell Road reconstruction, a 1.1-mile project that involves expanding Tidwell to a four-lane concrete boulevard with raised medians and replacingroadside drainage ditches with curb and gutter storm sewers, thus helping allow for the addition of 6- to 8-footwidesidewalks.

Precinct One is also working on Sidewalk-to-Schools projects that serve more than 10,000 students, including those at Klein Intermediate, Summer Creek High, Nitsch Elementary, Whidby Elementary, Dekaney High, Woodcreek Middle, and Summerwood Elementary. These Sidewalk-to-Schools projects were done to provide a safer trip to school for children and families living in the Houston, Humble, Klein, and Spring independent school districts.

Workers will start the second phase of Anderson Road on the complete-street projects, giving Hiram Clarke-arearesidents concrete streets, sidewalks, and added drainage. Also, work is expected to be completed on CullenBoulevard from Wheeler Avenue to Interstate 45 in the University of Houston area.

Precinct One is proud to work every day to bring high-quality infrastructure to all communities. Visit for more information about Precinct One infrastructure projects.

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Hurricane Season

Hurricane season is here, and experts are urgingresidents to prepare.

All year round, Precinct One fights to ensure you get your fair share of flood-related infrastructureinvestments. In the past, when decision-makers were planning infrastructure projects, they would prioritize protecting property value over people. That meant communities, like many neighborhoods in Precinct One, were left behind.

That’s why in 2018, Commissioner Rodney Ellis fought to ensure equity was listed in the $2.5 billion flood bond language. That ensured that the people most vulnerable to the devastating effects of a flood would be at the top of the list.

This year, Harris County applied the same equity framework to all flood projects countywide so that all investments take that same approach, ensuring that your families’ safety is never dependent on how much your property value is worth.

Even with all of Harris County’s work to build a more resilient Harris County, as residents, you still must do your part to protect yourself and your property in an area prone to flooding.

Don’t wait until a storm approaches.

Visit for a disaster supply kit checklist, an evacuation map, and other tips.

Our Work on Flood Control at a Glance

  • SPENT $1.2B on Flood Bond projects across the county
  • COMPLETED 25.5% of Harris County Flood Bond projects
  • APPROVED $15M from The Flood Resilience Trust is authorized for projects in Sims and Halls Bayous in Precinct One
  • PROTECTED Over 14,000 countywide homes and buildings are better protected from flooding, including over 5,000 in Precinct One
  • IN PROGRESS 20 active projects in Precinct One

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