April is Distracted Driving Month
April is Distracted Driving Month! Vice Mayor Pro Tem Martha Castex-Tatum joined AAA, Houston Police Department, Houston Police Federation, city leaders and safety advocates to advance our Vision Zero mission. She helped debut the film "Sidetracked" on behalf of the City of Houston. "Too many lives have been lost due to distractions in cars," says Castex-Tatum.

If you are a parent, we urge you to watch the video with your children who drive. If you work at a school, this is a great tool to encourage teen drivers to make good decisions while behind the wheel of a vehicle. Share the video and let's all commit to making the best decisions while in our cars.

Click here to view the powerful documentary: Sidetracked

Southwest Livable Centers Study Scavenger Hunt and Community Day
Gasmer Redevelopment Information Meeting
The Gasmer Redevelopment Plan is ready for the public to view! In the fall of 2021, the City of Houston requested that Brays Oaks Management District (BOMD) commission a Redevelopment Master Plan for the 29 acres at the former Shell Research Facility located at 5521 Gasmer Drive. 

To accomplish this, BOMD retained the architectural design services of Lionheart and Natalye Appel + Associates. The design team, along with community stakeholder, has been meeting the last few months working faithfully on the design. They are now ready to present their Master Plan to the community at an informational meeting open to the public. 

When: Saturday April 30, 2022, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Where: Westbury High School Auditorium
11911 Chimney Rock Rd., Houston, TX 77035

Please join us to learn more about the exciting ideas being proposed for this site!
City of Houston Virtual Job Fair
Vice Mayor Pro Tem Castex Tatum is inviting our community members who are seeking employment to the Office of Business Opportunity and Workforce Solutions' next virtual Turnaround Houston Readiness Fair. Job seekers will have an opportunity to chat live with hiring employers and resource organizations. Save the dates and take advantage of these valuable resources.

If you know of other Houstonians who may be looking for employment, please feel free to share this information with them.

Friday, April 22nd at 10am through Sunday, April 24th at 11:59pm

Houston Women's Commission Releases Report: Recommendation for Paid Parental Leave
Houston City Council plans to consider and vote, Wednesday, on a proposed equitable, progressive parental leave policy for city employees based on the recommendation of the Houston Women's Commission.

Created in August 2021, Mayor Turner challenged the newly appointed members to study the feasibility of creating the city's first paid parental leave policy.  The proposed paid parental leave policy is included in the Commission's newly released six-month report outlining additional recommendations, future goals, and objectives.

"By offering paid parental leave, the City of Houston will be able to attract and retain top talent while supporting families and children," said Mayor Turner. "I am pleased with the recommended policy and am grateful to the Houston Women's Commission members for their work."

The draft policy offers new parents who have worked for the City of Houston for at least six months the option to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave after the birth, adoption, or placement of a foster-to-adopt child, along with other benefits that include support for pregnant women. 
The six-month report submitted by the Houston Women's Commission is available online.

The Prenatal, Parental, and Infant Wellness (PPI) Leave proposed ordinance was presented at the Special Called Quality of Life Committee meeting April 7, 2022.

View the Prenatal, Parental, and Infant Wellness presentation here: PPI Proposed Ordinance Presentation

View the April 7, 2022 Special Called Quality of Life Committee meeting here: Special Called Q of L Committee Meeting
City Council Redistricting Town Hall Series Provides Multiple Opportunities for Public Feedback
City Council has approved a resolution that outlines principles for the 2022 City Council redistricting process based on population data from the 2020 Census. Vice Mayor Pro Tem Castex-Tatum will host the District K Town Hall meeting on May 4th at 6:00pm at the Fountain Life Center located at 14083 S. Main, Houston, TX 77035. All District K residents are invited to attend.
Each City Council district will host a town hall meeting to explain the redistricting process and to allow members of the public to give input to the City on how they want their district to look in the future. There will be multiple opportunities for residents to comment and get updates.
A Capital Improvement Project (CIP)update meeting will follow the Redistricting Town Hall meetings at the same scheduled time and locations.

The redrawn districts will aim to:
  • Maintain relatively equal population numbers
  • Be composed of whole county voting precincts
  • Have easily identifiable geographic boundaries
  • Retain integrity of neighborhoods or communities of interest
  • Be compact and contiguous
  • Avoid packing or cracking
  • Preserve incumbent-constituency relations

 Visit http://www.LetsTalkHouston.org/redistricting for more details about redistricting criteria.
Submitting a Redistricting Plan
The public is encouraged to submit a plan. Residents may propose that certain voting precincts, neighborhoods, or locations be included in a specific district. .
Town Hall Meetings:
Attend a Redistricting town hall meeting and tell us what’s important to you. You can attend any meeting in any district.

View the full schedule of Redistricting Town Hall meetings for May. Meeting locations listed as TBD will be confirmed in the coming weeks.  
Visit www.LetsTalkHouston.org/redistricting for more information, to get updates on meeting locations and ask questions about the redistricting effort. All content will be in English, Spanish, Vietnamese and Chinese by selecting languages in the upper right corner of the webpage.  
City and County Leaders Applaud Decrease in Houston Area Homelessness Amid Pandemic
A joint City of Houston and Harris County program has made significant progress in addressing homelessness during the pandemic. Independent data recently released by the Coalition for the Homeless showed a 21 percent decrease in homelessness from January 2020 to January 2022.
The decrease directly results from the Community COVID-19 Homeless Housing Program, a joint city and county program launched in October 2020. Instead of primarily utilizing shelters and short-term motels to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic on the homeless population, the city and county strategically deployed permanent housing as its infectious disease response within the homeless community. During the first 14-months, the program housed more than 7,000 individuals experiencing homelessness or who were at-risk of becoming homeless.
"Reducing homelessness by over 20 percent in just two years is a massive achievement. To do it during a pandemic is unheard of and truly remarkable," said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. "By utilizing housing with supportive services, we immediately protected folks experiencing homelessness from the pandemic while achieving the long-term impact of reducing homelessness. The data shows our strategies and programs are on the right track, and our invaluable partnership with Harris County and the community is working. While we are proud of the program's progress, we are committed to working with our partners to do more."
The city and county jointly funded the Community COVID-19 Homeless Housing Program with more than $65 million of federal pandemic-related funds. In January of this year, the City and County announced an additional $100 million investment to extend and enhance the program through 2024. More than 100 agencies of the homeless response system – The Way Home – worked together, under the coordination of the Coalition for the Homeless, to house a record number of individuals and reduce homelessness below pre-Harvey levels for the first time since the storm.

“This incredible news shows that we’re capable of tackling the most intractable social problems we face when we work together to do it,” said Harris County Judge Hidalgo. “It speaks volumes that even in the face of this painful pandemic that we’ve managed to reach this milestone.”
The recently released data on the region’s homeless population was compiled through the 2022 Annual Homeless Count & Survey managed by the Coalition for the Homeless. To ensure accuracy, this year’s count returned to the identical methodology used prior to the pandemic. More than 475 volunteers spent three days canvassing the region’s streets, bayous, woods, parking lots, etc., locating individuals who may be experiencing homelessness. The data showed the number of individuals experiencing homelessness (on the streets and in shelters) throughout the county on any given night was reduced from 3,753 in 2020, to 2,964 in 2022. 
“It’s hard to say which has been more impactful in reducing homelessness: our partnership with the City of Houston and area agencies… or the combined financial investments we’ve made,” said Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia. “Regardless, I am thrilled to know that we are delivering on our promise to reduce chronic homelessness. This is an example to the country on how a county can be effective with our money and resources in making an impact on a social issue that has long been considered unsolvable.”
District K Dance Studios for Kids Soars
District K is filled with community gems whose goals are to enhance the cultural arts of our youth!

Denisea Woodard Patterson believes God granted her two most precious gifts — a love for children and the ability to teach dance. Unfortunately for her, but fortunately for her future students, she grew up in a part of far south/southwest Houston where there was no quality dance program.

“When I was a kid I was forced to drive across town to participate in dance because there was no program available in (City Council) District K,” Woodard Patterson said.
With Rising Stars Academy of Dance & Performing Arts, which she owns. Woodard Patterson is making dance accessible to children of the 5 Corners Improvement District area.

“I am a native from this area, my family still resides here and I want to make a change in the community,” Woodard Patterson said. “I knew that once I graduated college that I was going to come back to give the kids in this community an opportunity that I didn’t have.”
Her work focuses on “students who do not have the luxury to pay for dance, music or theater classes,” she said.

A grant from the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs will help Woodard Patterson expand her reach. MOCA recently announced that 12 local artists and five nonprofits received a total of $95,000 in funding through the Let Creativity Happen and Cities Initiative grant programs. Administered by the Houston Arts Alliance, awardees were chosen based on projects that will create authentic cultural experiences for locals and tourists.
The city grant “will allow me to create a safe environment for Studio B, which is our newest location. The newest location needs dance floors, mirrors, ballet bars, tumbling equipment, and a few other upgrades in order to make it a state-of-the-art facility for the program,” Woodard Patterson said. “We will also be able to support the dance program by offering more subsidized tuition plans for the families that can’t afford the program.” 

The academy has two locations — Studio A: 14114 Hiram Clarke Rd. and Studio B: 3931 W. Fuqua.

Rising Star Academy of Dance and Performing Arts serves more than 100 students, with 46 new ones thanks to the added location, Woodard Patterson said. Most students live nearby and a few travel from Pearland and Missouri City to participate.
Keep Houston Beautiful Day 2022!

Thank you to the hundreds of amazing volunteers who came out to help pick up litter, lay and spread mulch, organize flower beds and more. Our community is more beautiful and better because of each of you. Thank you for your efforts to Keep Houston Beautiful!
Future Improvements to Cambridge Village Park!
Improvements to Cambridge Village Park to mitigate flooding risks were presented at the Transportation, Technology, & Infrastructure (TTI) committee meeting April 7, 2022. Improvements include making the park a multi-use space, for recreation and detention.

View the TTI presentation here: TTI Committee Multi-Use Facility Presentation

View the April 7, 2022 TTI Committee meeting here: TTI Committee Meeting, April 7, 2022
Ridgegate Community Sidewalk Improvements
A work order has been issued to remove and replace concrete sidewalk and ramps on Sheringham Street (South side) from 5811 Sheringham St. to Polo St. Construction has been scheduled to commence on April 11th and is anticipated to end by May 11th. We are looking forward to the improved sidewalks for our District K residents.
Rehabilitation to Above Ground Crossings Near Fondren Gardens
Work is authorized to begin the rehabilitation of the above ground crossings at West Orem and the Harris County Flood Control Ditch No. C157-00-00. This infrastructure construction project includes rehabilitation work Districts K, B, H, and I. The project site in District K is located in the Fondren Gardens community.

This project provides for the repairs and replacements of large diameter waterlines and valves in the distribution and transmission system to minimize the impacts of major water main shut downs.

The project contractor is Main Lane Industries, Ltd. Work is scheduled to begin April 11, 2022 and is expected to be completed in all the aforementioned Council Districts April 30, 2024.
Summer Lifeguard Jobs
If you know any young Houstonians who would like to be lifeguards this summer, the City of Houston Parks & Recreation Department Aquatic Team is looking to fill positions. There is a need for an adequate number of lifeguards to ensure all of our swimming pools are open this summer. Spread the word and let's have a safe and fun summer at our neighborhood pools!

For more info call 832-395-7129
Apply for Green Job Opportunities
at the April 22 & 23 Career Expo

Looking for internships, apprenticeships or careers that start at a minimum of $15 per hour? Participate in the Green Opportunities Houston Career Expo on April 22 and April 23 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on both days at the Houston Community College South Campus in Sunnyside, 1990 Airport Blvd.
Click here to Register for the Green Opportunities Career Expo for a chance to receive a FREE laptop, tablet, or VR headset.
Bring your resume and connect with employers, explore green career opportunities, and learn about paid training programs. The career expo will also feature interactive resilience and suitability exhibits as well as food trucks and music.
District K Residents Receive Free Chrome Books and Hot Spots!
Congratulations to the District K residents who received their free hot spots and Chrome Books! "The ability to connect to the internet is so important to our everyday quality
of life. We must close the gap for this essential communication tool so everyone can have access to immediate information," said Vice Mayor Pro Tem Martha Castex-Tatum.

Castex-Tatum also had an opportunity to tour the new computer lab funded with Council District Service Funds at Marian Park! District K is helping to bridge the digital divide.

Good community relations with our law enforcement family makes for safer neighborhoods. Reminder that the Southwest HPD Substation holds the District K PIP meetings every fourth Tuesday.

We will continue to tackle crime, speeding, illegal dumping, bandit signs, donation boxes and other issues important to our residents. We hope to see you at the next scheduled PIP meeting on Tuesday, April 25th..

Southwest HPD Substation
13097 Nitida
Houston, 77045
Free WiFi Connections & More
The Affordable Connectivity Program is offering free or reduced cost Internet for qualifying Harris County households. Two recently launched programs are helping Harris County families gain access to the internet for work and school. Harris County Public Library Emergency Connectivity Fund is providing 40,000 wifi hotspots and 15,000 laptops to qualifying households.

Click here for more details: https://www.hcpl.net/digital-access
Houston Public Works Water Works Festival
Houston Public Work’s 27th annual Water Works Festival is scheduled Saturday, May 7, 2022, at the Houston Botanic Garden. There will be family-friendly activities, 50+ exhibitors, raffles, giveaways, entertainment and more! Learn from experts about topics such as water conservation, water infrastructure, sustainability, environmental protection, recycling, the water cycle, local water systems, native plants, species habitats, weather and ecology. The first 100 attendees get a free prize!

  • Date: Saturday, May 7, 2022
  • Time: 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
  • Location: Houston Botanic Garden (1 Botanic Lane, Houston, TX 77017)
Additional Information: Eventbrite registration page