With applications for the new local guaranteed income program Uplift Harris now closed, the pilot is preparing to launch.
A new comprehensive federal report documenting the effects of climate change across the country includes Kinder Institute research to bring attention to Harris County’s vulnerabilities.
Finca Tres Robles, an urban farm in Houston’s East End established by the Small Places organization in 2014, is in a state of transition. It initially combined agriculture, community engagement and sustainability. As it moves into its second iteration, it will continue that work with hopes of expanding its reach.
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, urban parks and greenspace provided welcome respite and recreation when people had to spend a lot of time indoors. That renewed appreciation for parks confirmed what many researchers have been pointing out for decades: They provide cities huge benefits for public health, the environment and the economy.
After three years of researching, planning and implementing a commitment to its children, the city of Houston is the first in the U.S. to be recognized as a UNICEF Child Friendly City. With this milestone and the acknowledgement of children’s needs and voices, Houston is actively investing in its future — and it is an investment all cities should undertake.
Following a three-phase, 18-month project, Harris County Public Health has released a community action plan for Settegast, a historically Black neighborhood in northeast Houston with the lowest life expectancy in Harris County, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s U.S. Small-Area Life Expectancy Estimates Project.
One of the central aspirations of The Harris Center for Mental Health and Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities is to reduce the footprint of criminal justice in the lives of people with mental health concerns. After providing services to over 90,000 individuals in 2022, it recently opened a facility specifically dedicated to juveniles between the ages of 13-17 with the launch of its Youth Diversion Center.
Regular physical activity may be the closest thing we have to a “magic bullet” to combat the obesity epidemic and alarmingly high rates of cardiovascular disease. Physical activity offers dramatic benefits for individuals but it also has the potential to knit together the social fabric of our communities, making us healthier physically and mentally. And it is free. So, what’s holding us back? As it turns out, something as easy as a safe walk around the neighborhood is out of reach for too many communities.
On May 11, 2021, Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research released the results of the 40th annual Houston Area Survey. Among the findings: 22% of respondents – a far higher share than in any previous survey – rated “public health” as the “biggest problem facing people in the Houston area today.”
The United States of America leads all high-income nations in COVID-19 deaths, even though as a nation it had the greatest access to antiviral vaccines and therapeutics. To understand this disconnect, we can look to the COVID-19 deaths and disability in the state of Texas. Because of COVID-19, Texas is enduring one of the greatest human tragedies in its 186-year history. It did not have to be this way.
Settegast’s estimated life expectancy of 65.7 years, more than 20 years lower than the highest expectancies in Clear Lake and River Oaks, makes it among the most vulnerable communities in our area. While residents of the historically Black neighborhood in northeast Houston have called out inequities over the course of several decades, those concerns have mostly gone unheeded. But there is hope that change is coming.
My wife and I couldn’t believe it. When we retired and moved back home to Houston’s historically Black Pleasantville, just east of downtown, we smelled the unmistakable odor of the petrochemical plants and saw the close-knit community where we’d grown up surrounded by noisy freeways. The apartments where friends of mine lived had been replaced by warehouses swarming with old diesel trucks.
When COVID-19 struck in early 2020, public health experts in Houston swung into action. But, unlike in other major Texas cities, two different agencies swung into action: the City of Houston Health Department and the Harris County Public Health Department. Although they worked well together in a crisis, the pandemic gave new currency to the question of how public services are delivered in the Houston area.
This report examines the possible service overlaps between the Harris County Department of Public Health and the City of Houston Department of Health and Human Services. The report also identifies options to reduce overlaps and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the public health delivery system.
After over a month of incentive programs, outreach efforts, public pressure and mounting fears around the more virulent COVID-19 Delta variant, Harris County has tens of thousands more newly vaccinated people than it did over a month ago. But despite millions spent on incentive programs, uptake is slowing.