Lone scarred state: Texas must contend with outsized death toll from COVID-19 and anti-vaccine attitudes
URBAN EDGE : November 14, 2022
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.
Accountability, capacity building and collaboration key to a healthier Settegast
URBAN EDGE : October 25, 2022
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.
Thanks to Justice40, Port Houston investments will bring long overdue relief to Pleasantville
URBAN EDGE : October 12, 2022
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 The apartments where friends of mine lived had been replaced by warehouses swarming with old diesel trucks.
Houston public health could benefit from a more collaborative governance structure
URBAN EDGE : January 19, 2022
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.
A Tale of Two Departments: Public Health in Harris County and the City of Houston
RESEARCH : December 15, 2021
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.
Did cash incentives move the needle on COVID-19 vaccinations in Harris County?
URBAN EDGE : September 29, 2021
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.
Without mask mandates, Texas undermines school districts' efforts to undo pandemic learning gaps
URBAN EDGE : August 30, 2021
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.
Understanding the unvaccinated: A look at hesitancy as well as access
URBAN EDGE : August 16, 2021
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.
Who owns the single-family rentals and what do we know about them?
URBAN EDGE : August 2, 2021
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.
Houston isn’t the best, but it’s one of the greatest, according to the rankings
URBAN EDGE : July 21, 2021
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 battle Houston’s brutal heat, but many poorer areas are left unshaded
URBAN EDGE : July 16, 2021
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.