Houston-Galveston Area Council Newsletter    November 2020
October Board of Directors Meeting
At its meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 20, the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) Board of Directors approved several items of regional significance.

The board approved contract renewals and extensions to continue providing services in several critical areas through 2021. This includes vendor contracts with the HGACBuy Cooperative Purchasing Program for sewer/pipeline cleaning and inspection equipment; contracts with the Houston-Galveston Area Agency on Aging to continue providing nutrition, personal assistance, and health services for seniors and people with disabilities; and a contract with the Texas General Land Office to assist with public outreach efforts and trainings for ongoing Hurricane Harvey disaster recovery and homeowner assistance programs.

H-GAC representatives presented on a new initiative with local governments and other stakeholders to develop a Regional Conservation Framework. The Houston-Galveston region boasts several important natural areas that help to mitigate flooding, improve air quality, and make the region a more attractive place to live, work, and visit. Conserving these resources will be an increasing challenge as the region continues to grow in population and development. The Regional Conservation Framework will identify shared conservation priorities and challenges, funding mechanisms, and opportunities for collaboration and partnership. The framework is still in the development stage, but a final document is expected to be presented to the board in early 2021.

The board also appointed three new members to the Solid Waste Management Committee. Click HERE for the list of the new committee members and their nominators.
Next Board Meeting: Tuesday, Nov. 17

The next board of directors meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m., Nov. 17, 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.
H-GAC Program Spotlight: Veterans Employment Services
To increase awareness of our agency and highlight some of the great work we do, H-GAC spotlights a program or initiative at every board of directors meeting. At its October meeting, the board recognized the efforts of Workforce Solutions and the Texas Veterans Commission to help veterans and their families find jobs and develop their careers.

Workforce Solutions and the Texas Veterans Commission partner on many initiatives aimed at helping veterans and their families enter or return to the workforce, develop their careers, and improve their quality of life.

Workforce Solutions' Veterans Services team provides complimentary consultations to help veterans assess how their skills acquired during military service fit in the job market. They also offer a variety of seminars and interactive tools to help veterans search for jobs, continue their education and training, and learn about their career options.

Additionally, the Texas Veterans Commission offers a multitude of employment services for veterans and their families, including one-on-one job coaching, interviewing techniques, resume assistance, and virtual job fair preparation.
Program Contacts
Mike Temple
Title: Director of Human Services
Contact Phone: 713-993-4524
Ray Wilburn
Title: Regional Veterans Employment Representative, Gulf Coast Regional Office
Contact Email: Ray.Wilburn@tvc.texas.gov
Contact Phone: 713-993-2416
H-GAC to Hold Virtual Public Meeting on Dec. 3 Discussing Important Regional Transportation Updates
H-GAC will hold a virtual public meeting to discuss important new updates affecting transportation in our region. Experts will present on proposed amendments to the 2045 Regional Transportation Plan that would add 27 regionally significant projects to help improve air quality in the region and better align transit projects with the MetroNext Plan. They will also discuss updates to our agency’s process to mitigate congestion in the region and updating the Public Participation Plan to include virtual engagement as a component.

The meeting will take place at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 3. H-GAC experts will present on the meeting topics, after which attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and make public comments. Your feedback is essential to ensuring that these proposed amendments truly meet the transportation needs of the region and your community. The public comment period for these topics opens on Nov. 23 and will close on Jan. 7, 2021. A link with more information about the meeting topics and public comment period will be posted soon.
Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 971 2022 6719
Passcode: 099178
Dial by Your Location:

888-788-0099 (U.S. toll free) or
877-853-5247 (U.S. toll free)
Meeting ID: 971 2022 6719
Passcode: 099178
Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/auNfSYVZe
Join Us for the 2020 Home Rule and Independent School District Caucuses
H-GAC Home Rule cities and independent school districts will meet to select their representatives and alternates to serve on the 2021 H-GAC board of directors. These meetings will be held virtually via Zoom. Mark your calendars for the following dates:

  • Home Rule Cities Caucus – 3-4:30 p.m. | Thursday, Nov. 12
  • Independent School Districts Caucus – 3-4:30 p.m. | Thursday, Nov. 19

Meeting registration details will be emailed. Contact Cynthia Jones at Cynthia.Jones@h-gac.com for more information.
Transportation Policy Council Adopts Regional Vision Zero Resolution
At its meeting on Oct. 23, the Transportation Policy Council adopted a regional Vision Zero resolution supporting the elimination of all traffic fatalities in the eight-county Transportation Management Area by the year 2050. The council adopted the resolution to support both state and local efforts to reduce traffic deaths.

Vision Zero began in Sweden in the 1990s. The central tenets of the concept are that no loss of life in traffic crashes is acceptable; all traffic fatalities are preventable; a system approach should be use to implement safety improvements, and safety improvements should be implemented first in areas with the greatest need.

In May 2019, the Texas Transportation Commission adopted a Road to Zero policy that aspires to eliminate traffic deaths in the State of Texas by 2050. The Texas Department of Transportation has since begun to develop strategies to achieve this goal. Locally, both the City of Houston and Harris County have launched complimentary Vision Zero campaigns with the goal of eliminating traffic deaths by 2030.

H-GAC will continue to work closely with our regional partners to reduce traffic fatalities in region through upcoming traffic intersection safety audits, a regional safety campaign, and other transportation planning activities. Click here to read the full resolution.
Final Brown Bag of 2020 Discusses City of Houston Vision Zero Initiative
At the final Brown Bag webinar of 2020, Lauren Grove, transportation planner with the City of Houston Planning and Development Department, talked about Vision Zero Houston.

The City of Houston Vision Zero initiative has committed to ending fatalities on Houston roads and streets by 2030. By prioritizing street safety and accessibility for people of all ages and abilities, and treating traffic fatalities as an unacceptable public health issue, the city aims to create a paradigm shift to improve mobility for everyone who walks, drives, uses a wheelchair, bikes, and takes transit.

This month, Vision Zero Houston will release an action plan that maps out several key approaches and priority actions to be implemented over a three-year timeframe. These actions include design improvements to lower travel speeds, making roads and streets better connected and multimodal, and increased public education and outreach on traffic safety, particularly as it pertains to bikers and pedestrians.

A recording of the webinar is available on the H-GAC webinars page. For more information about Vision Zero Houston, visit www.visionzerohouston.com. The community can also share feedback about the Vision Zero Houston plan and provide suggestions on roadways, streets, or actions to focus on at LetsTalkHouston.org/vision-zero.
H-GAC Ombudsman Team Begins Annual Silver Santa Holiday Gift Drive for Nursing Home Residents
The H-GAC long-term care ombudsman program has begun its annual Silver Santa holiday gift drive benefitting nursing home residents. Donors can purchase gifts online now through Dec. 18, 2020, at registries on Amazon, Target, and Walmart. The gifts will be pre-delivered to a secure storage and sorting site selected by the ombudsman group and then dropped off at nursing homes in time for the Christmas holiday.

So far, two nursing homes - Conroe Health Care Center and Regent Care of Kingwood - have been adopted to receive Silver Santa gifts, but the ombudsman team will adopt more if they receive a strong response in donations.

For more information about the Silver Santa holiday gift drive, contact Lisa Hayes, managing local ombudsman, at lisa.hayes@h-gac.com or 832-544-0741.
Upcoming Community and Environmental Events
Montrose Livable Centers Study Public Workshop #2
Montrose Livable Centers will hold a second public workshop providing stakeholders the draft concept plan of the Montrose Livable Centers Study. The workshop will take place from 6-8 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 19. The goal of the workshop is to ensure the concepts align with the community's vision for the future of the Montrose neighborhood and set the stage for continued collaboration in crafting an implementable strategy. Attendees will also learn more about public engagement activities and results, be able to ask questions, and share their feedback.

Click here to join the Zoom meeting, and click here to livestream the meeting on Facebook. To view a summary of the first public workshop, click here.
Bacteria Implementation Group Annual Meeting
BIG logo
The Bacteria Implementation Group (BIG) Fall Meeting will take place online from 1-3 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 1. Topics will include the 2020 annual report, BIG Implementation Plan revisions, and Total Maximum Daily Load updates.

Registration is required. For more information, contact Steven Johnston.
Annual Fall Planning Workshop
H-GAC's annual Fall Planning Workshop will be from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Friday, Dec. 4 online. The half-day workshop, aimed at local governments, will feature presentations on planning best practices for communities. The topic of this year's workshop will be Responsible Revitalization and will expand on the 2019 Fall Planning Workshop theme, Building Equity into Planning.

Registration is required. For more information, contact Cheryl Mergo.
Texas Southern University Center for Transportation, Training and Research Will Host Transportation Workshop on Dec. 10
The Texas Southern University Center for Transportation, Training and Research invites metropolitan planning organizations, councils of government, public transit agencies, and social services agencies in Texas to a workshop from 1-3 p.m., Dec. 10, 2020.

The workshop will explore autonomous vehicles and other technologies to improve transportation for people with disabilities and ways to provide better connectivity for rural and vulnerable communities around the three major cities of the Texas Triangle megaregion (Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio).

This workshop is sponsored by Texas Southern University and the consortium of Cooperative Mobility for Competitive Megaregions (CM2).

Registration details will be availabe soon. For more information, contact Carol Lewis, Ph.D., professor and director of the Center for Transportation, Training and Research, at carol.lewis@tsu.edu.
Area Agency on Aging Offers Free, Unbiased Assistance During Medicare Open Enrollment Period
AAA logo
Medicare's annual open enrollment period is now open. As the local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) for Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Colorado, Fort Bend, Galveston, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Walker, Waller, and Wharton counties, the Houston-Galveston Area Agency on Aging has certified staff ready to help Medicare beneficiaries understand their plan options without having to leave their home.

For more information about Medicare benefits counseling services, please call the Area Agency on Aging at 1-800-437-7396.
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.