Houston-Galveston Area Council Newsletter    June 2021
May Board of Directors Meeting
At its meeting on Tuesday, May 18, the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) Board of Directors approved several items of regional significance.

The board voted unanimously to extend funding for its law enforcement training program through the end of the 2023 fiscal year. H-GAC has sponsored regional law enforcement training for more than 30 years, supporting on average 2,500 officers with 90,000 contact hours per year.

Additionally, the board approved two resolutions that will help to expand resources and foster regional coordination in addressing the critical issue of elder abuse in the region. The H-GAC Elder Justice Program was established in 2018 to address gaps in services and provide legal advocacy resources to victims of elder abuse and protective family members. The program currently provides free services to four counties in the H-GAC service area with plans to expand to eight counties later this summer. Board members unanimously approved a funding resolution that will create room for additional program expansion in the future. The second resolution approved by the board will help pave the way for developing a new H-GAC Center on Abuse in Later Life. This center will work to build a coordinated community response to elder abuse by providing training and technical resources to support those on the front lines of caring for seniors.

The board also approved funding for state homeland security projects and criminal justice projects for the 2021 and 2022 fiscal years, respectively. The Regional Homeland Security Coordinating Council and the Criminal Justice Advisory Committee each released lists of recommended priority projects that will help enhance cybersecurity and emergency communications technology, support first responder capabilities, promote public safety, and prevent or reduce crime in the region. Thirty-three homeland security projects were approved, and 36 criminal justice program projects were approved. The full lists are available here and here.

Towards the end of the meeting, the board approved a slew of appointments to nine different advisory committees, including the Aging and Disability Advisory Committee, Area Emission Reduction Credit Organization, Gulf Coast Economic Development District, Houston-Galveston Area Local Development Corporation, Natural Resources Advisory Committee, Regional Air Quality Planning Advisory Committee, Regional Flood Management Committee, Regional Homeland Security Coordinating Council, and Solid Waste Management Committee. The full list of appointments is available here.
Next Board Meeting: Tuesday, June 15

The next board meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m., Tuesday, June 15. 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 the Board of Directors website.
H-GAC Program Spotlight: Cybersecurity Assessment Services
At its May meeting, the H-GAC Board of Directors heard the results of a new service the H-GAC Data Services team is considering that would aid local governments in improving cybersecurity.

Data Services performed an independent assessment of a fellow council of government's network security and provided recommendations for improvements as well as a list of cybersecurity best practices. The assessment was conducted 100% remotely over a two-week period.

H-GAC is exploring the possibility of expanding this service to its member governments with the goals of raising cybersecurity awareness, helping to strengthen its members' network and systems security and performance, and providing best practices for managing information technology systems. For questions or more information, contact Data Services Director Tanya Nguyen.
Program Contact: Tanya Nguyen

Title: Director of Data Services
Years Served at H-GAC: 31
Contact Email: Tanya.Nguyen@h-gac.com
Contact Phone: 713-993-4569
Gain Valuable Expertise about Public Service at the Newly Elected Officials Workshop on June 23
Join us for the 2021 Newly Elected Officials Workshop on Wednesday, June 23 from 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. This highly informative and interactive workshop will provide an opportunity to learn from experts in their fields about how to effectively perform as a public servant in government or education. The workshop will be held via Zoom and the registration link is provided below:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

The workshop will focus on the following topics:

  • Texas Open Meetings Act State Certification**
  • Legal issues
  • Financial management and budgeting
  • Leadership and teamwork
  • Effective communications

**Must be logged in prior to 8:30 a.m. and actively participating throughout this session to receive certification.

Click here to read the bios of all the featured speakers. For more information, contact Cynthia Jones at cynthia.jones@h-gac.com or 713-993-4591.
Save the Date for the TML Region 14 Fall Meeting

The Texas Municipal League Region 14 Fall Meeting will take place Aug. 13-14 in Sugar Land. Mark your calendars! Registration details are coming soon.

For sponsorship opportunities, contact Cynthia Jones at cynthia.jones@h-gac.com or 713-993-4591.
Hurricane Season is Here. Make Sure You're Prepared.
Hurricane season is here, 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 contains 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 visit the H-GAC hurricane evacuation planning page for 2021 evacuation maps and important tips to help develop their evacuation plan. Also, check out KHOU's helpful article about hurricane evacuation.
Transportation Brown Bag Webinar Will Discuss Autonomous Vehicle Technology in Houston with Nuro
H-GAC's next Brown Bag webinar will be the rescheduled webinar from February featuring Nuro. Nuro, an American robotics company, will provide an overview of self-driving delivery technology in Houston and discuss how it works with local governments and transportation officials. The webinar will take place at noon on June 21. 

Click here for more information and to register.
H-GAC Recognizes June as Elder Abuse Awareness Month
H-GAC recognizes June as Elder Abuse Awareness Month. H-GAC encourages residents and caregivers to be aware of the signs of elder abuse and to learn how to report any instances or attempts.
Elder abuse refers to intentional or negligent acts by a caregiver or trusted individual that causes harm to an older person. The abuse can take on many forms, including neglect, isolation, physical or sexual abuse, financial abuse and exploitation, or emotional and psychological abuse. Elder abuse is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the United States. For more information about how to spot the most common signs of elder abuse, read our news release online.
In 2018, H-GAC launched the Elder Justice Program to improve the services and coordinated care available to victims of elder abuse in the Houston-Galveston region. The program currently provides free services to crime victims ages 65 and older and who live in Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, and Montgomery counties. This summer, H-GAC plans to expand the Elder Justice Program to seniors living in Chambers, Liberty, Matagorda and Wharton counties. Program services are made possible by the Office of the Governor, Criminal Justice Division, using Victims of Crime Act funds from the U.S. Department of Justice. For more information about the Elder Justice Program, visit contact Kelly McCann at 713-301-5250 or Jackie Pontello at 346-500-4620.

To report elder abuse, call the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services abuse hotline at 1-800-252-5400. If it is an emergency or life-threatening situation, call 911.
Nominate a Champion for Telework Week June 21-25
Do you know an all-star teleworker or manager? Have you experienced working with a colleague or leader that has been a real hero during the shift to telework? 

Nominate your own virtual MVP -- a teleworker, tele-manager, or executive leader who supports telework and has found creative ways to engage colleagues while working remotely.

Nominations may be submitted through June 14, 2021. Those selected will receive recognition during Telework Week, June 21- 25, 2021. To complete a nomination form, visit yourcommutesolution.org/telework/nomination.
H-GAC Reminds Drivers Across the Region to Make Safety a Priority When on the Road
As travel picks up across the region, H-GAC would like to remind drivers to practice safe habits and use caution when traversing our roads. The region has experienced tremendous population growth and a corresponding increase in traffic-related injuries and deaths. In 2020 alone, traffic fatalities increased by 7% in Texas and by 11% in the eight-county metropolitan planning area. Improving traffic safety will take every one of us working together. Otherwise, we will continue to pay the price.

Visit h-gac.com/paytheprice for tips and resources on how we can improve transportation safety in the region.
ABC 13 Commemorates One-year Anniversary of Virtual Hiring Partnership with Workforce Solutions
On April 22, ABC 13 celebrated the one-year anniversary of its virtual hiring partnership with Workforce Solutions. Since April 22, 2020, ABC 13 has partnered with Workforce Solutions to host weekly virtual job fairs to help connect people with prospective employers. Since the fairs began, more than 3,000 people have applied for jobs through Facebook alone.

Workforce Solutions and ABC 13 continue to host virtual hiring events every Thursday. For more information about how to participate, visit the Workforce Solutions Facebook page, or call 832-849-0480 to connect with a specialist. To preview available jobs, go to the Workforce Solutions Jobs Now page and look for the "As seen on ABC13" section.
Save the Dates for These Community and Environmental Events
Save the dates for these upcoming community and environmental events:
Cotton Bayou Watershed Project Meeting
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and H-GAC will hold a public meeting from 2 to 4 p.m. Thursday, June 17, to discuss water quality in the Cotton Bayou Watershed. Project staff will review updates since the submission of the Watershed Characterization Report and provide an outlook on the development of a Technical Support Document and Total Maximum Daily Load calculation for Cotton Bayou. 

The event will be online, and registration is required. More information about this project is available online or by contacting Rachel Windham
Parks and Natural Areas Roundtable
The next Parks and Natural Areas Roundtable will be from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Monday, July 12. Attendees will discuss the annual Parks and Natural Areas Awards program and participate in a roundtable of upcoming events and activities. A guest speaker for the event may be announced later. The event will be online, and registration is required

The Parks and Natural Areas Roundtable meets the second Monday of March, July, and September with field trips typically scheduled in the spring and fall. The group is open to anyone who is interested in participating. For more information, contact Andrea Tantillo.
Bringing Back Main Street Roundtable
Save the date for H-GAC's next Bringing Back Main Street Roundtable from 9:30 a.m. to noon Tuesday, July 27. The topic - "How Local Food Fuels Your Economy" - will look at the economic impact of food trucks, farmers markets, and restaurants in rural and small towns. The event will be online, and registration is required
H-GAC hosts quarterly roundtables to help local governments, chambers of commerce, and economic development interests promote the economic revitalization of downtown areas. For more information, contact Sarah Torresen at 832-681-2505. 
Houston-Galveston Area Students Take Top Honors in Statewide Environmental Conservation Arts and Video Contests
Yunlin Chu, a first grader in Richmond, won the grand prize in the Texas General Land Office 25th Annual Treasures of the Texas Coast Children's Art Contest.

Chu's artwork depicts Texas sea turtles receiving a warm embrace during this year's historic winter freeze.
Jacobo Arango, an 11th-grade student at Cypress Woods High School in Cypress, took first place in the high school category of the annual Take Care of Texas Student Video Contest.
Two Houston-Galveston area students received top honors by showcasing their creative talents in art and video production in two statewide contests to raise awareness of water and coastal conservation.

Yunlin Chu, a first grader at Enya Studio in Richmond, Texas, received the grand prize in the Texas General Land Office 25th Annual Treasures of the Texas Coast Children’s Art Contest. Chu's artwork depicts Texas sea turtles receiving a warm embrace during the historic winter freeze this year. The artwork will be featured along with 39 other recipients in the 2022 calendar. Chu will receive a prize package including round trip airfare, a Caribbean cruise, and a Feed the Fish Tour at the Texas State Aquarium. Chu's teacher, Hongliang Huang, will also receive a prize package.

Additionally, Jacobo Arango, an 11th-grade student at Cypress Woods High School in Cypress, received first place in the high school category of the Take Care of Texas Video Contest. The contest is part of a statewide campaign by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to encourage Texans to help keep Texas’ air and water clean, reduce waste, and conserve water and energy. Arango's video was one of more than 200 submitted entries by young content creators across the state. Arango will receive a $2,500 scholarship provided by the contest partner, Waste Management of Texas. 

Congratulations to Yunlin Chu, Jacobo Arango, and to all the contest winners!
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.