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Harris County
Houston City Council
by Garrett Bryce w/Photos courtesy HTV
Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Houston City Council today voted unanimously to approve an ordinance appropriating $72,711 from the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone Affordable Housing Fund to provide for a payment of a portion of costs for the position of a special advisor to the mayor for homeless initiatives.

The position will be funded through an agreement with the Houston Downtown Management District, which will pay for half the costs. The district will contract with the Corporation for Supportive Housing to provide the special advisor, as well as related consultant services.

The advisor will discuss ongoing federal activities, and represent the city on the National Alliance to End Homelessness Leadership Council and the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness. The advisor will also provide technical expertise for initiatives and community transformation, support efforts to secure private resources for the Permanent Supportive Housing Capital Gap Fund, and other duties.

The item was discussed at length by council members, due to reports of issues in the community involving panhandlers, some members noting examples of attacks and other situations.

Council Member Mike Knox asked for an update regarding the city's panhanlding ordinance and handling people living under bridges, some who have been aggressive. Listen (10:48)

“It's been in the news lately, where aggressive panhandlers have cut some people's tires for not giving them money and that sort of thing,” Knox said.

Mayor Sylvester Turner noted that the topic was a “frequent conversation”.

“That's a much bigger conversation,” Turner said. “So, we are talking with all of the various stakeholders, the homeless partners, and trying to come up with strategies to reduce this population.”

Turner noted that a “much bigger plan” will be presented to address the issue.

Council Member Michael Kubosh asked the mayor if he intended to take a trip to San Antonio to study it's response to homelessness by creating a centralized “campus”.

“We decided to go the housing route on our end,” Turner said.

Kubosh suggested that a facility of some sort be developed to provide a shelter for the homelessness.

“It just would seem to me it would be a very humane thing,” Kubosh said. “We have to learn how to manage the homelessness, we're never going to do away with it.”

The city council voted unanimously to extend the provisions of the city's ordinance prohibiting parking vehicles in the front or side yards of single-family residences in Sharpstown County Club Estates, Sections 2 and 3.

Council Member Mike Laster discussed the item, but stressed the need to be able to enforce the parking ordinance. Listen (7:23)

“This is a good tool for our neighborhoods, but it's only a good tool if we can provide the right amount of resources and be effective in being able to enforce it,” Laster said.

The city council voted unanimously to extend the ordinance to the Spring Meadows Property Owners Association, Sections 1 and 2, as well.

Several items were tagged and not acted on during the meeting, including:

  • An ordinance authorizing the city to request an amendment of the Economic Development Initiative Grant Agreement to extend the deadline to disburse the balance of the funds was tagged by Council Member Jerry Davis
  • An ordinance approving a contract with the Houston Area Urban League for the provision of Community Development Block Grant Funds to the league for administration and operation of a program for job training was tagged by Davis
  • An ordinance extending the term of the 2011 agreement with the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association was tagged by Knox and Davis
  • An ordinance authorizing a joint operations, maintenance and programming agreement with the Emancipation Park Conservancy for Emancipation Park was tagged by Council Member Dwight Boykins and Kubosh
  • A determination related to the appeal from the decision of the Historic Preservation Appeals Board on the denial of a certificate of appropriateness at 107 East 9th Street was tagged by Council Member Ellen Cohen, Laster, Kubosh and Knox

All other items were approved by unanimous vote. Council Member Dave Martin was absent. Agenda

Remembering Jim Guidry Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership

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