Houston Has a New Donation
Box Ordinance
On May 5th, Houston City Council voted to pass the Donation Box ordinance that was spearheaded by Vice Mayor Pro Tem Martha Castex-Tatum. Many of the donation boxes around the city have been placed on private property without permission and become havens for illegal dumping.

The ordinance, which was unanimously approved by City Council, will require the owners of large donation bins to pay a $191 per container and to keep them free of clutter.

Castex-Tatum took action after finding repeated instances of bins attracting heaps of debris, along with furniture and other items strewn across sidewalks in District K. It turns out, more than half of the bins in the district had been placed without the property owner's permission. Companies that own the often dumpster-sized bins will now have to get the owner's okay, pay the permit fee, and file a maintenance schedule with the city.

Owners of the donation boxes will have a four month grace period to come into compliance and permit each of their boxes. We are looking forward to the areas around these boxes looking better in our communities.

Thank you to each of the residents who urged and contributed to this policy formation for Houstonians.
Illegal Dumpers Caught on
 District Cameras
Accountability matters in District K! Last week, Vice Mayor Pro Tem Castex-Tatum blocked an $879,000 city contract for a local landscape company whose employees were caught on camera illegally dumping tree waste in District K.

With Mayor Sylvester Turner's support, our council member referred the proposed contract with Yellowstone Landscape back to the administration.

Last November, through video cameras, employees wearing yellow vests, with the company's logo on it, dumped tree waste from a trailer on a dead-end street near West Airport and Buffalo Speedway. The truck had Yellowstone's logo on it and the District K Hot Team immediately sent the footage to the Houston Police Department.

The company had already received more than $4 million in city contracts since 2013 and was set to secure another one until Castex-Tatum blocked it. "It is unconscionable to even think about awarding a contract to a contractor that felt the need to dump in the district. We are working extremely hard to clean up our community and illegal dumping will not be tolerated," said Castex-Tatum.

Several individuals have also been caught dumping on the cameras and have been paid a visit by HPD. It is our hope that we will discourage this negative behavior and continue to beautify our community so we can live in a safe clean district we can all be proud of.
Keswick Place/Ramblewood Park Drainage Community Meeting
Keswick Place/Ramblewood Park residents are invited to attend an informational update on Houston Public Works SWAT project WBS No. M-430006-0006-4 on Tuesday, May 18, 2021, at 6:00 PM.

The link to join the Microsoft Teams virtual meeting: Keswick Place/Ramblewood Park Drainage Community Meeting
Removal and Replacement of Sidewalks, Ramps, and Driveways on Bahia Lane in Fort Bend
Residents in Briargate subdivision along Bahia Ln will soon have new sidewalks along with new and improved ramps for better mobility in the area. Construction is scheduled to begin May 12, 2021 and should be complete in 45 days.
Thank You For Your Patience
The City of Houston Solid Waste Management Department experienced higher than anticipated amounts of junk waste placed at the curb during the month of April. As a result, city crews and contractors are running behind schedule. The department is working to bring additional resources to assist with collections as crews continue to collect junk waste.

The city rotates between junk waste and tree waste collection monthly with April being a junk waste month and May being a tree waste month.

Residents are asked to hold additional junk waste until their next scheduled collection in June. Please do not mix any junk waste in with tree waste as it affects the ability of tree waste to be recycled.

We appreciate your patience and understand your frustration. We will continue to work with solid waste to determine best practices for future service.
May Is Mental Health Awareness Month

The month of May is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness, fight stigma, provide support, educate the public and advocate for policies that support people with mental illness and their families. Now, more than ever we need to find ways to stay connected with our family, friends, neighbors and community. Let's all make our mental wellness and self-care a priority for ourselves and our community.

Over $100 Million Available for Rental Assistance

Many in our community are still struggling to make ends meet. Under the American Rescue Plan, the City of Houston and Harris County have received $159 to help residents who need rent relief.

Mayor Turner says local officials have talked with justices of the peace to ensure those at risk of losing their homes are protected. The goal is to disseminate the remaining $100 million to those who qualify as soon as possible.

For more information on the Houston-Harris County Emergency Rental Assistance Program click here or call 832-402-7568.
There's Still Time to "Name Our Library"

Trending Now!-- It appears that Houstonians are excited about the District K "Name Our Library" initiative, and there's still time for you to throw your suggested name in the hat. To date we have received over 130 suggested names for consideration.

Construction for the new library is expected to begin in June 2021 and will be completed by the end of 2022. Castex-Tatum believes getting community feedback will help ensure the name reflects the personality and character of the community.

Do you have a suggestion? Community members can submit one name, along with a 250 word support statement about your choice. Submissions will be accepted through 5 pm on May 24, 2021. Click here for access to the form.
Harris County Clerk Downtown Office Re-opens
Scholarship Opportunity for
High School Students!
The Bayar Fellowship is rewarding high school students who are interested in public service and entrepreneurship $250 - $1,000! Students who apply will also be eligible for mentorship by current Ivy League students and be provided with a curriculum to help prepare them for interviews and professional work. To apply, students must submit a one-page essay on the importance of public service and entrepreneurship.

The program is run by a first-gen, low-income Houston native who is a Senior at Harvard and wants to help develop the next generation of leaders. If you or someone you know is eligible for this opportunity, please visit bit.ly/bayarfellowship for more information, as well as more instructions on how to apply. If you have questions, please email bayarfellowship@gmail.com.
Save the Date! Coffee and Virtual Conversation with DON May 20, 2021
District K residents are invited to a virtual coffee and conversation with the Department of Neighborhoods (DON) on May 20, 2021, 10;00 AM - 12:00 PM. Be sure to sign up to attend by May 18, 2021: Attend DON Coffee and Virtual Conversation.
Deadline Approaches for FEMA Emergency Aid
Individuals and businesses who sustained losses due to Winter Storm Uri can apply for FEMA emergency aid. The deadline to apply is May 20, 2021.

Visit https://www.disasterassistance.gov/ for more information.
Bike to Wherever Day May 21, 2021
As many Houstonians continue to work from home and alternate workspaces during the pandemic, celebrate Bike to Wherever Day instead of the traditional Bike to Work event. On Bike to Wherever Day, Houstonians are encouraged to try biking wherever their day takes them.

For more information and discounts visit https://houstonbikeplan.org/btwd2021/ .
Join in on the fun, Friday, May 21, 2021 all day long!