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.
A flood on its own can be disastrous. But floodwaters combined with decades-old toxic waste sites and releases of potentially cancer-causing chemicals—that’s dangerous. Unfortunately, heightened flood risks are unevenly dispersed throughout Harris County.
The Texas Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Gov. Greg Abbott’s ban on local mask mandates means the state has officially told public schools to start the 2021-2022 school year as if the COVID-19 pandemic never happened. More correctly, as if it was still not happening. Others have already pointed to the health risks posed by not having a mask mandate in place at schools, and schools around the Houston area have already had to close because of outbreaks. But beyond the dangers posed to the health of students, staff, and families, the state’s approach is undermining schools’ ability to accelerate students’ learning and close gaps created and compounded over the past 18 months.
The Delta variant has led to COVID-19’s fourth wave—a surge in cases, hospitalizations and deaths. More than any other factor, what's driving this is the number of unvaccinated people—who either by choice or by design are not getting shots. Because vaccine hesitancy and access varies across states and cities, local solutions might be key to closing the gap.
Trees can cool our cities and make them more resilient. Here’s a look at what is being done to grow and protect the urban forest in the Houston area.
A lot of the rent houses owned by real estate investment trusts — or REITs — are located in unincorporated parts of Harris County and municipal utility districts (MUDs) that have been hit hardest by foreclosures and flooding. Many of them are connected to local and national homebuilders.
Helping our most vulnerable neighbors weather the toughest storms requires hard work and commitment before, during and after crises strike.
Posts about where Houston and other Texas metros are ranked on lists of best and worst places for you-name-it routinely perform well on this blog. These lists range from happiest and safest cities to best cities for staycations, foodies and working from home. Today, we’re kicking off a new feature focused on rankings and Houston’s place on them.
Trees provide significant benefits that can be felt both now and in the future, from lowering temperatures, fighting flooding and slowing climate change. But not all Houstonians enjoy the valuable shade and other advantages trees offer in equal measures. A new interactive mapping tool makes it easier to see which neighborhoods are most in need of more trees.
COVID-19 killed Black and Brown people at a far higher rate than white or Asian people, and in this year’s State of Housing report, we suggest home overcrowding and labor conditions played a role.
The inequality that exists across Houston neighborhoods has perhaps never been more evident than it has over the past year.
The maternal mortality rate in the U.S. is rising, and Black women have the highest risk. Extending access to postpartum health care would prevent deaths.
Part 3 of the "urban gardener" series: From homemade compost and what to plant, to dealing with the sun, wind and water issues of modern gardening in the city of the future.