Houston-Galveston Area Council Newsletter      June 2020
May Board of Directors Meeting
At its meeting on Tuesday, May 19, the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) Board of Directors approved several items of regional significance. Items included reallocation of funding that would have been used for congregate meals to providing more home-delivered meals for seniors. As a safety measure to help maintain social distancing, senior and community centers are not providing congregate meals. However, home-delivered meals for seniors have increased. The funding reallocation allows the Area Agency on Aging to increase its reach and provide more home-delivered meals to seniors in the region.

Other significant items the board approved included moving forward with contract negotiations between 39 vendors at locations throughout the nation to purchase 911 equipment and emergency notification software and services through HGACBuy, the agency's cooperative purchasing program, and entering into agreements with three new vendors to make solar panel equipment, systems, and installation services available for purchase via HGACBuy. The board approved funding for six transportation planning studies, which include the Southeast Harris County Sub-regional Study, the Montgomery County - Precinct 2 Mobility Plan, and the Liberty County Mobility Plan.

The board also heard recommendations from the Plans and Projects Review Committee on projects that would help to improve the region's emergency radio infrastructure, the state's homeland security infrastructure, and further the region's economic development. The committee recommended moving forward with funding to construct three new radio towers in Manvel, Plum Grove, and in Austin County; approving 37 homeland security projects for grant funding that cover key areas such as critical infrastructure, cybersecurity, and first responder capabilities; and approval of the Gulf Coast Economic Development District's Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy. Federal agencies use the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy as a framework to prioritize funding for projects that will help the most in improving the region's economic resiliency and sustaining economic growth. The strategy is updated every three to five years.

Towards the end of the meeting, the board received an update from H-GAC Executive Director Chuck Wemple on the agency's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and a spotlight presentation on the work of Commute Solutions, the agency's travel demand management program.

The next board of directors meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m., June 16, 2020 . If there are any scheduling or location updates to this meeting, we will notify the public immediately. For more information on H-GAC's Board of Directors, past meeting agendas or minutes, or to find dates for future meetings ,  visit H-GAC's website.
Text "#GetPaid2020" to 40691 to Receive Job Alerts for Young Adults

Young adults ages 16-24 seeking job opportunities can sign up for text alerts about new postings, hiring events, and job search seminars straight to their phones. Text "#GetPaid2020" to 40691 to start receiving alerts.

For more information, visit the Workforce Solutions website or email jobs@wrksolutions.com . For a full list of active job openings available to workers of all ages, visit Workforce Solutions' Jobs Now web page .
HGACEnergy Updates Website to Provide Government Entities Cost-Competitive Power Solutions
The HGACEnergy website has a new look! The updated website - which is dedicated to connecting local government entities with competitive, best-cost solutions for their energy needs - has a more modern look and feel and is designed to be easier to navigate for members and entities interested in becoming members. To check it out, visit hgacenergy.com .

HGACEnergy Cooperative offers the advantages of a cooperative aggregation to provide reliable, and best-cost power solutions to government entities across the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) regions. Members of HGACEnergy take advantage of a real-time, competitive head-to-head procurement process to select their retail electricity provider. More than 200 local governments in Texas have joined HGACEnergy.
Make Sure You're Ready for Hurricane Season
June 1 marked the beginning of hurricane season. Forecasters are predicting the 2020 season will be a busy one, and H-GAC wants to make sure everyone in the region is prepared.

Visit TogetherAgainstTheWeather.com for tool kits and strategies on preparing your home and family for a hurricane or severe storm. The page also contain helpful materials for those caring for small children, special need individuals, and those with health conditions.

Residents who live in an evacuation zone are encouraged to download a printed and digital copy of the 2020 hurricane evacuation map to help determine the best route for them and their families if they are called to evacuate.
Learn How to Access Federal Economic Recovery Grant Money at Webinar on Thursday, June 18
Gulf Coast Economic Developmetn District Logo
The Economic Development Administration is providing $268 million in grant funding to Texas and the surrounding states through the CARES Act to support job creation and bolster economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Join H-GAC from 2 to 3 p.m. on Thursday, June 18, for a webinar with the Economic Development Administration to learn how your community can access this grant funding for economic development.

Featured speakers:

  • Joshua Owens of the H-GAC Gulf Coast Economic Development District will present on the application process and the information you will need to submit a competitive application.
  • Jeffery Sjostrom of the Galveston Economic Development Partnership will demonstrate how the City of Galveston has leveraged Economic Development Administration funding to speed economic recovery.
  • Jason Wilson of the Economic Development Administration will discuss the CARES Act funding available and their criteria for making investments.

Registration is free and open to the public. Click HERE  to register.
June 15 Brown Bag Series Event Will Feature Josh Shideler at Houston TranStar
Join us for the next Brown Bag Series event, which will take place at noon, Monday, June 15 via Webex webinar. The featured speaker will be, Josh Shideler, public information officer at Houston TranStar.

Houston TranStar is a unique partnership of representatives from the City of Houston, Harris County, METRO, and TxDOT, who share resources and exchange information to keep motorists informed, roadways clear, and lives safe. Shideler will discuss the role and makeup of TranStar in coordinating transportation and emergency management functions, share a snapshot of recent traffic data before, during, and after COVID-19, and talk about hurricane preparedness.

Registration for this webinar event is free and open to the public. To register, click HERE .

For more information about TranStar, visit www.houstontranstar.org .
Commute Solutions, Area Transportation Providers Host Special Edition Brown Bag Webinar on Safe Commuting During COVID-19
Commute Solutions recently partnered with area transportation providers to host a special edition Brown Bag webinar on safe commuting during COVID-19.

Representatives from Commute Solutions and agencies including METRO, Colorado Valley Transit, Fort Bend Transit, Woodlands Transit, Conroe Connection, Connect Transit, Houston BCycle, Island Transit, and Harris County Transit provided tips on how residents who use transit and other alternative commuting options can keep themselves safe. Safety tips included avoiding travel during peak hours when possible, wearing a mask, washing hands before entering and after exiting a vehicle, keeping bags off floors and other surfaces, carrying hand sanitizer, avoiding traveling if feeling sick, and teleworking if possible.

The representatives also discussed the measures their respective transportation agencies are taking to keep commuters safe, such as extra cleaning, installing marks and barriers to help maintain social distancing among riders, contactless payment, and more.

For more information about safe commuting during COVID-19, visit Commute Solutions' new "Commute with Confidence" web page . The webinar handout is also available for download HERE .
See What the Public Has to Say about the 2021-24 Draft Transportation Improvement Program
H-GAC received 59 comments from members of the community about the 2021-24 Draft Transportation Improvement Program . All the comments are available to view online at the TIP public comments page .

H-GAC held two public meetings on March 5 to discuss the upcoming projects in the 2021-24 segment of the Transportation Improvement Program. Members of the community could also submit their comments by email, mail, or phone from Feb. 28 to April 15.

The projects in the 2021-24 program cover several areas of transportation - including transit, bicyclist and pedestrian, highway, and air quality improvements - across the entire Greater Houston region. Among these projects are shared use lanes in the Galleria, a new roundabout intersection on Navigation in East Downtown (EaDo), hiking trails and bikeways in League City, and a new bus fleet maintenance facility in Conroe.

The Transportation Policy Council is expected to make a final decision on the draft 2021-24 program at its June meeting. The final 2021-24 TIP must be submitted to TxDOT by July 13. 

For more information about the 2021-24 draft TIP and for a complete list of projects, visit h-gac.com/transportation-improvement-program .
Congratulations to the Show Us How You Telework Contest Winners!
Between April 27 and May 7, Commute Solutions asked residents to showcase how they were making the most of working from home in the "Show Us How You Telework" photo contest. Residents answered the call, submitting their coolest and cutest telework photos for a chance to win a one-month membership to Houston BCycle. Seven winners were selected.

Click HERE or on the photo above to see the contest winners' photo gallery. Congratulations to all the winners!

For more information about teleworking and other sustainable commute options in your community, visit YourCommuteSolution.org .

If you are an employer, university, or property manager, consider becoming a Commute Solutions Partner. Partners receive complimentary travel demand management planning services for carpool and vanpool, walking and biking, public transit, telework, compressed work week, parking management, and more. Visit YourCommuteSolution.org/Partners to learn more.
There's Still Time to Take the Census!
There's still time to take the 2020 U.S. Census online! Census results show where communities need new schools, clinics, roads and other services benefiting families, older adults and children. They help decide federal funding for disaster recovery, mental health services, medical benefits programs, education programs and much more. When you’re counted in the census, you’re helping to build a better community and a stronger Gulf Coast region.  

Complete the census online in less than 10 minutes at 2020census.gov . The census is also available by phone and by mail in more than 13 languages. Say YES to Census 2020, and help us shape the next 10 years for the Gulf Coast region. You deserved to be counted!
H-GAC is Hiring
Home to more than 7 million people, the Houston-Galveston region is one of the fastest-growing and most diverse regions in the country. Making sure the region remains one of the nation’s leading places to live, work, and prosper doesn’t just happen—it takes planning and partnerships.

If you are looking for a career where you can help make a difference in urban, suburban, and rural communities, the Houston-Galveston Area Council has exciting opportunities for you. For more information or to apply for a job, visit the careers page on H-GAC's website .