Our coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic examines the disease's effects on Houston and the surrounding region, both now and once the outbreak is over.

Will the rush to reopen only end up intensifying the economic crisis?

States such as Texas, Florida and Arizona are seeing the progress made in recent months against COVID-19 quickly disappear as infections and hospitalizations increase dramatically. These and other sales-tax-dependent Sun Belt states have been slammed with revenue losses as consumer spending fell dramatically after the shutdowns. As new cases spike in states across the region — many of which were among the nation’s first to begin reopening — it’s not certain how their economies may be further impacted.

Helping families find — and keep — affordable housing during these tough times

Editor’s note: Houston and Harris County are being hit hard by the dual challenges of COVID-19 and a slowing energy sector. To track their long-term impacts and understand how the region’s housing system is changing over time, the Kinder Institute for Urban Research has published “The 2020 State of Housing in Harris County and Houston” report.

As rents and home prices go up, once-affordable Houston grows less accessible

Houston and Harris County are being hit hard by the dual challenges of COVID-19 and a slowing energy sector. The Texas Workforce Commission reports that 350,000 unemployment insurance claims have been filed in Harris County since mid-March. Thousands more residents have been furloughed or seen incomes fall because of lost hours.

COVID-19 hot spots emerge across the Sun Belt as states expand reopenings

“It turned out in hindsight that we have a great number of hospital beds that are vacant, that appear that will not be needed to treat COVID-19 patients,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said at a April 17 press conference when he announced plans for the phased reopening of the state’s economy. “Because of the hospital bed vacancy and because of a new supply chain for PPE, we feel that we can begin allowing some more procedures.”

As other cities consider defunding police, Houston increases HPD’s budget

Two weeks ago, we at the Kinder Institute released a report on the financial difficulties of Texas’s three largest cities and we confidently stated that, in the coming economic downturn, police departments would be spared budget cuts while all other cities services (except perhaps fire departments) would be the first on the chopping block.

Together, the bold cities of the I-10 corridor can take on the urgent issues of our time

As regular readers of the Urban Edge will know, the Ten Across Water Summit was to be staged in Houston in March of this year in partnership with our colleagues at the Kinder Institute. Of course, COVID-19 intervened and the Summit was postponed in the interest of health and safety. Our interest in Houston is undiminished. Stay tuned. 

For those who are unfamiliar with the Ten Across initiative, a reminder of the founding premise may be in order:

The only treatment for metastatic racism may be radical reconstructive surgery

I feel old. I turned 50 last year. Of course, living half a century gives me the right to feel a little old. But I feel much older than my biological age because racism “weathers” me. Yes, I am a privileged college professor able to protect myself from most slings and arrows, but my family, friends and community suffer.