The Collaborative: September 2021

Executive Director's Message

Dr. Adrienne M. Holloway
Dr. Adrienne Holloway, executive director of Harris County Community Services DepartmentGreetings,
Through this newsletter, we invite you to learn more about the work of the Harris County Community Services Department.
In each issue of The Collaborative, we strive to bring you updates on our community investment, innovative programming, collaborative partnerships and creative financing activity.

We hope by reading the articles below, and in future editions, you are able to identify opportunities to work with us -- together -- as we strive to make Harris County an affordable, enjoyable and livable place for everyone to call home. 
In gratitude,
Dr. Adrienne Holloway 
Executive Director
Harris County Community Services Department


Emergency Rental Assistance Still Available

Spread the Word -- Funding Still Available for Emergency Rental Assistance

The Harris County Community Services Department has funds available for emergency rent relief for tenants living in unincorporated Harris County who are financially affected by COVID-19. The deadline to apply for aid was just extended to Nov. 30.

“People who find themselves in a bind right now may never have needed help before and they don’t know where to turn,” said Dr. Adrienne Holloway, executive director of CSD. “We want them to know we have resources and we are here to help.”
eligibility for the Texas Emergency Rental Assistance Program relies on the ability to provide a copy of the lease agreement, a household income at or below 80% of area median income and proof that financial hardship is a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most importantly, this program requires that landlords register their property to enable tenants to participate. Landlords may be able to recover up to six months of rent (dating back to April 2020).

TERAP is administered by CSD's Outreach and Engagement program and allows residents living in unincorporated Harris County and participating neighborhoods with cooperative agreements, including Deer Park, Galena Park, Humble, Jacinto City, Katy, La Porte, Morgan's Point, Seabrook Shoreacres, Southwest Houston, Tomball, and Webster an opportunity to apply for and receive aid. Residents within the cities of Houston, Baytown and Pasadena are not eligible for this program; however, funding may be available through other programs such as the Community Development Block Grant – Cares Act – COVID-19 – Emergency Assistance Program that is disaster-based and will assist with electric, gas and water utilities if residents are financially or medically affected by COVID-19.  

If you know someone who has experienced financial hardship due to the pandemic and it prevented them from paying rent, please let them know help may be available. We encourage you to share this information with your local churches and nonprofit organizations that support those with low-to-moderate incomes.

CSD's Outreach team and resource navigators are working hard to register landlords and canvass apartment complexes for eligible tenants. Meanwhile, the CSD Social Services team diligently supports Harris County residents through the eligibility process.  

To date, we have assisted over 220 families with just over $1.4 million in aid dispensed through this program. If you know a landlord or tenant who might benefit, please have them call 832-927-4955 or visit:

Emergency Utility Assistance

Summer Months Call for Increased Need

CSD Steps in to Help with Utility Bills
Keeping cool during the summer months in the Houston area can be brutal on your pocketbook. Thankfully, the Harris County Community Service Department's Emergency Utility Assistance program can provide much-needed relief. 
Suppose you or someone you know could use a helping hand with utility costs. In that case, the Emergency Utility Assistance program, one of many in the Social Services division, may be the perfect solution. Three different opportunities are available for those eligible for this income-based opportunity:
  • The Emergency Food and Shelter Program is an annual grant provided through the Federal Emergency Management Association and runs from April through September. It services Harris County and will fund electricity, gas and water utilities for one household member per grant year.
  • A disaster-based program funded by the Community Development Block Grant – Cares Act – COVID-19 – Emergency Assistance Program assists those financially or medically impacted by COVID-19 to cover the costs of electricity, water and gas utilities. Available for residents of unincorporated areas of Harris County, the program will pay for three consecutive months of utilities up to a total of $700. 
  • The Commissioners Court also has approved an annual program that uses general funds* to cover the cost of one type of utility, whether that be electricity, water or gas, up to $250. To qualify, an individual must have a "disconnect status" with a utility company, reside in Harris County and show a financial hardship that demonstrates imminent need. Additional funding may be available based on your utility service provider.
The need for this type of assistance is great, as illustrated in the table below that shows CSD's activity for the last five months: 
Emergency Utility Assistance Requests
For more information on how to qualify for these programs, please visit our website.

*General funds are subject to change without notice.
First rider enjoys her trip to the market with Transit Plus!

Transit Plus Comes to Northeast Harris County

Innovative? Yes! Convenient? Yes! Affordable? Yes!
Welcome to
Harris County Transit Plus! Officially launched on July 6,
this initiative provides an on-demand transport service for residents living in the Generation Park area of Precincts 1, 2 and 4. 
This affordable offer allows residents to schedule transportation within two established zones, running along the Northeast quadrant of Beltway 8. Transit Plus operates within the zoned areas and does not follow a traditional, fixed bus route, allowing businesses and other service providers in the area to benefit from increased foot traffic. 
The North Zone runs along Beltway 8 between Highway 59 and the northeast portion of Beltway 8 with the METRO Eastex Park and Ride, located at 14400 Old Humble Road, as the northernmost anchor point. The South Zone runs between the northeast portion of Beltway 8 to Wallisville Road and the Jim Fonteno Annex, located at 14350 Wallisville Road, is the southernmost anchor point. A central transfer anchor point in Generation Park is 19300 W. Lake Houston Parkway, where riders can transfer between zones. Additional anchor points can be found in each zone at the Walmart parking lots located at 9235 N. Sam Houston Parkway E and 5655 E. Sam Houston Parkway N. 
Two 18-passenger buses will travel within these two zones every Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The fare to ride each way is $1 for adults and 50 cents for children, seniors and those with disabilities. The transit zone also includes the area within three-quarters of a mile in either direction of these sections of Beltway 8.
Residents can make a reservation by phoning the transit call center at 832-927-4953 for pick up and drop off at any flex stop within the designated zone(s). Reservations can be made up to three days in advance or as late as one hour before pickup. Residents without a reservation can catch a ride at one of the anchor point locations. Reservations also can be made 
online or using a QR code. Transit Plus also allows riders to transfer to existing Harris County routes servicing Sheldon, Cloverleaf, Crosby, The Highlands, Baytown, La Porte and the METRO Eastex Park and Ride where METRO fares apply. 
Harris County Transit conducted a survey of approximately 97,000 residents in five zip codes to determine the specifications for Transit Plus. Slated to run through February 2022, the program totals $285,000 and is funded through the Harris County Commissioners Court and the Federal Transportation Administration.
Please view our
press release if you'd like more information on Transit Plus, including a map, the QR code and specific locations for the anchor points.  
5819 Dry Brush, Katy, TX 77493
Katy Crossing ∙ 5819 Dry Brush ∙ Katy, Texas 77493

CSD Offers ‘New Home’ Experience to Eligible Homebuyers

Collaborations Make the American Dream Possible

Harris County’s Community Services Department is collaborating with Habitat for Humanity Northwest Harris County and Pulte Homes to bring five new single-family homes to area neighborhoods.  
Located in the Memorial Chase and Katy Crossing neighborhoods, these brand-new homes are ENERGY-STAR certified.
9903 Leamington Drive, Houston, TX 77070
Memorial Chase ∙ 9903 Leamington Drive ∙ Houston, Texas 77070
CSD’s Disaster Recovery division is partnering with nonprofit and for-profit homebuilders as part of an overarching effort to replenish homes damaged during Hurricane Harvey through this unique program.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development recognized that significant portions of the county's affordable housing options were destroyed options.
As a result, families need not be directly impacted by Hurricane Harvey to be eligible.
5823 Dry Brush, Katy, TX 77493
Katy Crossing ∙ 5823 Dry Brush ∙ Katy, Texas 77493
Homebuyers must qualify for a mortgage on their own and meet the income requirement of earning at or below 80% of the area median income. Additionally, they must attend a HUD homebuyer seminar.
The program is structured with several alternatives to ensure these homes remain affordable for home buyers, including:
  • A purchase price cap of $225,000 (with some exceptions)
  • A subsidized purchase of up to 25% of the appraised price of a home
  • Access to the Hurricane Harvey down payment assistance program (up to $35,000)

Buyout Participants Find Tranquility in New Surroundings

Even before she makes it to the front door, peace of mind greets Iracema Zamarripas in the form of blooming roses and water cascading through the fountain on her front porch. It’s a far cry from the times following tropical storm Imelda and again during Hurricane Harvey when water stood four inches in her home.
Cynthia Rodgers
Cynthia Rodgers
For Cynthia Rodgers, the deck on her back porch offers her a place for mindfulness and privacy. It’s an opportunity to enjoy the nearby trees and flowers she has planted at her new Forest Colony home.

Due to the constant flooding at their old places the Zamarippas and Rodgers families qualified for the Harris County Buyout program that provides opportunities for homeowners to sell their low-lying, frequently flooded houses to the county, which can, in turn, convert the space for flood mitigation.
Iracema and Andres Zamarripas
Iracema and Andres Zamarripas
The Zamarripases now live in a 1,600-square-foot home in the Warrington Subdivision near the Mercer Botanical Gardens. Iracema and Andres find the shopping amenities convenient, and she is just minutes away from dialysis care. Rodgers, too, treasures her Porter-area home, which is close to so many of the pastimes she enjoys.

To find out more about the Harris County Buyout program, click

Power Drills and Construction Crews Signal Affordable Rental Housing Recovery is Progressing


The effort to bring affordable, quality multi-family housing to Harris County through federal disaster relief funding is beginning to take shape. Following a host of 11 groundbreakings earlier this year, construction sites are now buzzing with activity. A total of 16 projects are in the works. 

These projects require private developers willing to make the first investment. Then the projects are supported with federal disaster relief funding provided the developers agree to make a portion of the units more affordable.

Below are just a few of the locations where extensive construction is taking place:

Kingsland Park
Kingsland Park

Kingsland Park 

The Kingsland Park development is a 198-unit affordable, independent-living community for seniors 55 years and older. It is in unincorporated Katy, just minutes from the master-planned community of Cinco Ranch. The Resolution Companies developed the $31.4 million project, which will receive nearly $20 million in Hurricane Harvey relief funding, replacing homes lost to flooding. 

Story continues ...

Harris County Flood Resilience Plan: Guiding Principles

CSD Leans into Resiliency as Part of Countywide Team


Merriam-Webster defines the word "resiliency" as an ability to recover from or adjust easily to adversity or change.

You’d be hard-pressed to say residents of Harris County are anything short of resilient, especially in the face of numerous natural disasters in recent years. Despite their resiliency, the cumulative effects of Tropical Storm Allison in 2001, Hurricane Ike in 2008, the Memorial Day and Tax Day floods in 2015 and 2016, respectively, Hurricane Harvey in 2017, and Tropical Storm Imelda in 2019 leave many still trying to recover.

To strengthen our defenses as a region against Mother Nature, Commissioners Court created the Harris County Infrastructure Resilience Team. This group, composed of members from multiple county departments, including the county engineer, Flood Control District, Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Toll Road Authority, Community Services Department and Public Health, will be tasked with developing a "2050 Flood Resilience Plan" over the next three years. The plan will support comprehensive decision-making by all county departments and residents to better prepare the county for the next major event.  

"After a disaster, immediate recovery and building are top-of-mind," said Kevin Garza, economic development and affordable housing specialist and CSD's representative on the IRT. "Resiliency is more about planning. It's an overall, comprehensive approach for implementing actionable strategies now to deal with future weather events."

The IRT abides by guiding principles that include multiple and diverse perspectives during its planning.

While CSD’s role supports housing infrastructure, it also goes well beyond.
"To achieve true resilience, we must address strategies with residents at both the community and household levels," said Garza.

Community Members Team with Harris County in Support of Flood Resiliency
The Harris County Community Flood Resilience Task Force is a group of community stakeholders formed to serve as an advisory group to the Infrastructure Resilience Team). It comprises a diverse group of Harris County residents representing low-income communities impacted by flooding, communities of color impacted by flooding and those who have scientific or technical expertise in flood resilience or flood risk mitigation.
As a primary stakeholder of the flood resilience plan, the CFRTF provides valuable feedback and insight to the IRT on its strategic goals and objectives. 
Garza believes leveraging the IRT’s combined resources and perspectives will create synergies that will make a collective impact in Harris County for years to come.

Copyright © 2021 Harris County Community Services Department, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can
update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp