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Harris County
Houston Mayor Discusses Housing after Harvey
by Garrett Bryce
Thursday, September 14, 2017

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner today joined officials on discussing housing issues for the city following the impact of Hurricane Harvey.

Attendees included consumer advocates, council members David Robinson, Robert Gallegos, and Karla Cisneros, as well as State Senator Sylvia Garcia, State Representative Ana Hernandez, among others.

Turner noted the challenges for the city, in recovering from the storm.

“As the mayor of Houston, I couldn't be prouder of how our citizens have banded together to help one another,” he said. Listen (42:59)

He then discussed segments of the community who “are afraid to seek assistance” due to immigration status or poverty.

“We are encouraging them to come out of the shadows and use the resources that are available to them and their families,” Turner said, stating he wanted nobody left out of the recovery effort.

Turner noted that the city has worked with community partners to develop a guide to disaster assistance services, and is translating the guide into several languages. The guide is available at HoustonRecovers.org and on the city's homepage.

The city is also working to create a mobile app for the guide, again in multiple languages.

Turner also discussed landlords of rental properties in the city.

“Over half of our citizens reside in rental housing,” Turner said. “Many of these residents live in units and communities that have sustained damage.”
He acknowledged and praised landlords who are working with tenants.

“I strongly urge property managers and owners to continue to be as sensitive and flexible as possible with residents given the gravity of the current situation,” Turner said, calling for them to waive or delay late fees for a period of one month, offering a grace period.

He then stated that the city would take “all necessary measures” to protect tenants, working with the Harris County District Attorney's Office to prosecute those taking advantage of tenants.

“We are not going to tolerate anybody in this city being victimized because they may be poor, because they may be undocumented, or because they may not speak the language,” Turner said.

A question and answer session was held following the news conference, which included comments from Garcia, Reverend Ed Gomez of St. Paul/St. Pablo Episcopal Church, and others.

When asked about the eventual closing of shelters, including the George R. Brown Convention Center, Turner stated that those still remaining were the “most difficult population” and most in need.

“At its peak, there were more than 10,000 people that were in the George R. Brown, many of them, on their own, have transitioned out,” he said.

Turner assured that the city is doing “everything that we can do is being done” to assist those remaining.

To view a video of the news conference, Click Here




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