Houston-Galveston Area Council Newsletter        November 2019
October Board of Directors Meeting
During the October 15 board meeting, the H-GAC Board of Directors considered and approved several items of regional significance. The consent agenda included authorization for HGACBuy to contract with respondents listed for the fire service apparatus and the use of a consulting firm to conduct the Montgomery County Precinct 2 Mobility Plan.
The board also approved the renewal of the Tow and Go program with Harris County. The program funds will increase the amount of freeway surveillance to better serve regional residents and clear stalled or stopped vehicles from area highways faster.
The next board of directors meeting is November 19 at 10 a.m. at the Houston-Galveston Area Council located at 3555 Timmons Lane in Houston. 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.
New Aging and Disability Resource Center Provides Relief to Families
Making informed decisions about healthcare, housing, transportation, and long-term care services and support for older adults, persons with disabilities, and other special needs populations overwhelm families across the country.

The new Texas Gulf Coast Aging and Disability Resource Center will help people better navigate the complex system of services offered by support agencies in the area. Medicare beneficiaries, especially those with low incomes, will receive more education on coverage options while older adults and disabled persons will be able to find resources to live safely at home.

The Texas Gulf Coast Aging and Disability Resource Center's service area includes Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Colorado, Fort Bend, Galveston, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Waller, Walker, and Wharton counties; the same counties served by the  Houston-Galveston Area Agency on Aging .

For more information, visit  our website or call 855-937-2372.
Governor Signs New Workforce Development Bill into Law
Last Thursday, Governor Greg Abbott traveled to the Houston area to meet with local stakeholders in an executive roundtable discussion about workforce development policy and signed the new Texas Industrial Workforce Apprenticeship Bill (HB-2784) into law. The bill is modeled after the apprenticeship program created by S&B Engineers and Constructors in partnership with Workforce Solutions and the Texas Workforce Commission.
HB-2784 puts the primary responsibility for job creation of skilled craft workers on industrial construction firms. This means industrial construction employers can receive financial support to educate, train, and upskill new employees onsite using they're own customized approached to delivering industry-recognized, accredited instruction. These apprenticeship opportunities will pay a minimum of $15 an hour, during a training period lasting 16 to 26 weeks.
If you are interested in learning more about this new opportunity for industrial construction employers, please contact Susan Dixon .
H-GAC Releases Livable Centers Call for Planning Study Partners
H-GAC's  call for planning study partners for the Livable Centers program  is now open. Partners can be local governments or other eligible project sponsors.
This is not a request for proposals from consulting firms. 
All eligible partners must complete a Notice of Intent to Apply by Friday, December 6. Final Applications are due Tuesday, January 21, 2020.
To date, 29 livable centers studies are complete and represent $467 million in locally sponsored capital improvements with an additional $567 million identified in H-GAC's Regional Transportation Plan. The objectives of the Livable Centers planning studies are to:
  • Help create quality, walkable, mixed-use places;
  •  Create multi-modal travel choices;
  •  Improve environmental quality; and
  • Promote economic development and housing choice.

Interested partners are encouraged to attend the informational meeting at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, November 12, at H-GAC in the 2nd Floor Training Room, for an in-person explanation of the application process. Information about deadlines, specific application content, and important dates are available  online .
For more information, or questions about upcoming deadlines, email  LivableCenters@h-gac.com .
Brazoria County Thoroughfare Plan Public Meetings
On Nov. 12 and 14, Brazoria County residents have the opportunity to weigh-in on the future of transportation in Brazoria County. H-GAC partnered with Brazoria County to conduct a transporation study known as the Brazoria County Thoroughfare Plan to consider future needs of the county's transportation system.

The Brazoria County Thoroughfare Plan will provide the county with an updated planning tool that can be used to manage, guide and design a transportation network that improves connectivity, mitigates congestion and accommodates new development and growth throughout the county.
Tuesday, November 12, 2019
6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Thursday, November 14, 2019
6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
SH 35 at Childress
H-GAC Area Agency on Aging Provides Assistance to Medicare Beneficiaries During Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period

 Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period is when Medicare beneficiaries can make changes to their Medicare coverage. Beneficiaries can change their Medicare Prescription Drug (Part D) plan or their Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan during this enrollment period. Medicare’s Open Enrollment is Oct. 15- Dec. 7, with coverage starting on Jan. 1.
Many Medicare beneficiaries express feeling confused and overwhelmed when selecting a plan option that works best for them. Thankfully, help is out there. The Houston-Galveston Area Agency on Aging serves as the local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) for the 12-counties surrounding Harris County. SHIP Benefits Counselors provide free and unbiased advice for Medicare beneficiaries needing help comparing plan options. SHIP counselors have been able to help hundreds of Medicare beneficiaries during Open Enrollment find a plan that best meets their needs, leading to lower costs and access to quality care.
Assistance is provided through telephone inquiry and community enrollment events. Learn more by calling 1-800-437-7396.
Winners Announced in OUR GREAT REGION AWARDS Program
Our Great Region Awards Wordmark Logo

The Our Great Region Awards recognize outstanding projects in the Houston-Galveston Area Council’s (H-GAC) 13-county region that advance the goals and strategies outlined in the Our Great Region 2040 plan. This plan, published by H-GAC in 2014, identifies goals and strategies to improve and enhance the region’s resilience, economy, and environment by the year 2040.

The 2019 Our Great Region Award recipients are making progress across our region and are honored in five categories:
The Connection Award honors a project that demonstrates innovative partnerships and exemplifies the interdisciplinary and partnership-building work that is critical to making our region a more vibrant place to live, work, and succeed. The 2019 recipient is Career4U Academy, Houston Community College. 

The Diligence Award honors a project that executed a creative and persistent approach to overcome challenges to implementation and demonstrates the importance of innovation and follow-through in the pursuit of inspiring projects throughout our region. The 2019 recipient is Pearland’s Natural Resources Efforts, City of Pearland. 
The Reach Award honors a project that demonstrates exemplary public participation and prioritizes community outreach and engagement as a core tenet of a success. The 2019 recipients are Gulfton Skate Park at Burnett Bayland Park, Clark Condon, and TAAF Winter Games Hosted by the City of Pearland, City of Pearland.
The Opportunity Award honors a project that helps overcome disparities in access to opportunity, breaks down barriers of entry into the regional economy, and improves quality of life for all residents in our region. The 2019 recipient is Southeast Houston Affordable Housing Initiative, Center for Civic and Public Policy Improvement.
The Excellence Award honors a project addressing timely issues within our region, while helping to further the principles of the Our Great Region 2040 plan. The project demonstrates the ingenuity and strategic focus that is required for a brighter future for our region. The 2019 recipient is Exploration Green, Exploration Green Conservancy.

Thank you to all applicants, participants and winners for making our region better. More information about the Our Great Region Awards can be found at www.ourregion.org .
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 .