It’s been a tough few days for many of our residents in District I. While the majority of the district was not severely impacted by Harvey, a couple of neighborhoods in the northeast and southeast part of the district were devastated. I had an opportunity to visit with several of those residents and despite their material losses, their spirits remain high. We will continue to work with federal and state partners, as well as non-profit and faith groups to assist and support residents who have been impacted. Working together – neighbor helping neighbor – we will overcome the devastation left by this storm.
Due to flooding and extensive damage at City Hall, the District I Office remained inaccessible for several days. However, in the hours following the storm, the District I team mobilized and helped support shelter efforts at the GRB and Toyota Center, worked with the North Shore Community Fellowship of Faith Church in the northeast and Reflections of Christ’s Kingdom Church in the southeast area to establish distribution centers with food, water and supplies. We have also been in constant communication with residents and community leaders, and continued to conduct site visits to assess damages across the district.
A big thanks to all who have volunteered – and continue to volunteer – at the various distribution sites across our city. I’m also grateful for the many corporate partners that have stepped up and donated thousands of pounds of food and water. In particular, I want to thank Wal-Mart, Kroger and H-E-B for supporting distribution sites in District I. Without hesitation, the three grocers have answered the call and continued to donate food and water.
Finally, I want to recognize the heroism of Houston Police Department Sgt. Steve Perez, a 34-year veteran of the department. Sgt. Perez tragically drowned on his way to his station. He left his home in the middle of the storm at 4:30 a.m. on Sunday, August 27 and drove for two and a half hours trying to find a safe way to his station in order to serve Houstonians. Sadly, he never made it. Rescuers recovered his body from his flooded vehicle two days later. My deepest condolences go out to the Perez family and fellow officers.
Please keep all those who have been impacted by this storm in your prayers.
Houston Council Member
Curbside Recycling Suspended
Due to ongoing disaster debris collection efforts, the only regularly scheduled solid waste service is garbage collection. All other scheduled services – curbside recycling, yard waste and junk/tree waste – are suspended until further notice.
You may still bring your recycling to any of the Neighborhood Depository and Recycling Centers; all of which are open 7 days a week with extended hours of operation, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Neighborhood Depository/Recycling Centers Locations:
North – 9003 N Main 77022
Northwest – 14400 Sommermeyer 77041
Northeast – 5565 Kirkpatrick 77028
Southeast – 2240 Central Street 77017
South – 5100 Sunbeam 77033
Southwest – 10785 SW Freeway 77074
Please do not put your green cart with recycling or yard waste bags out, they will not be collected. We appreciate your cooperation and patience as we all recover together.
Storm Debris Removal Underway
Storm debris will be collected on an ongoing basis until further notice. Please place debris at the curb separated into the following piles:
• Vegetation – leaves, logs, plants, tree branches (do not bag).
• Construction & Demolition Material – carpet, drywall, furniture, lumber, mattresses
• Appliances – dishwashers, freezers, refrigerators, stoves, washers, water heaters
• Electronics – computers, radios, stereos, televisions, other devices with a cord.
• Household Hazardous Waste – cleaning supplies, batteries, lawn chemical, oils, oil-based paints, stains and pesticide
Please remember: yard, junk, and tree waste collections will be suspended until further notice due to the need of extra personnel for debris collection related to disaster recovery.
City’s Preliminary Flood Damage Assessment in Progress
The Department of Neighborhoods is conducting preliminary Harvey flood damage assessments in areas throughout Houston.
The preliminary “windshield” assessments are conducted from inspectors’ vehicles or curbside to document storm damage for federal assistance and identify areas for FEMA structural inspections that will follow. Flood damage assessment reports document the level of damage to single-family and multi-family properties and commercial and government buildings, with categories ranging from total destruction to no damage.
Flood damage assessments will continue until properties in all areas of the city have been surveyed.
Residents are urged to report storm damage to 311.
How Residents, Business Owners can Apply for FEMA
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is urging residents affected by Harvey to apply for assistance as soon as possible. FEMA has already begun to pay claims.
Applicants may apply for help from FEMA by registering on the website DisasterAssistance.gov. If you do not have access to internet, you may sign up by calling 800-621-3362. If your application is pending and you need additional assistance, you can go to the FEMA Recovery Center at the George R. Brown Convention Center between 7 a.m and 7 p.m.
Depending on the damage, applicants may be eligible to receive: rental payments for temporary housing, unemployment payments, loans to cover residential losses not covered by insurance, and grants for home repairs and replacement of personal property, as well as other disaster-related needs.
Individuals who have speech disabilities or hearing loss and use TTY should call 800-462-7585 directly; those who use 711 or Video Relay Service should call (800) 621-3362. Both toll-free numbers will be operational from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time seven days a week until further notice, according to FEMA.
If you need questions about other disaster recovery services that may be available, call 2-1-1.
Sign Up for Cleanup Assistance
People needing support as they clean their homes and property damaged by Hurricane Harvey can sign up for help from the Cleanup Assistance Hotline at 1-844-965-1386.The hotline closes Sept. 15 and will only sign up people who live in Texas.
The hotline will share the information of those requiring assistance with volunteer relief agencies and civic and community leaders. The hotline will give priority to vulnerable people such as seniors, the disabled or those with special needs.
People who experienced flooding need to clean and sanitize their homes to prevent or stop mold growth. They also need to remove and throw away many housing components such as sheetrock and insulation and numerous household items that can’t be washed or disinfected including furniture, mattresses and paper products.
For more information, visit www.crisiscleanup.org.
Report Price-Gouging and Flood-Related Scams
The City of Houston urges Houston residents to report any price-gouging and scams related to the Hurricane Harvey flood to the Texas Attorney General’s Office consumer fraud hotline at 1-800-621-0508.
In Texas, offenders who engage in price gouging can face fines of up to $20,000 per offense, and up to $250,000 if the victim is 65 or older.
Reports of price-gouging in Houston after the flood have been scattered. Across the state, hundreds of people have complained about the practice following Hurricane Harvey, according to the state.
Unemployment Benefits for Harvey Victims
The Texas Workforce Commission is accepting applications for Disaster Unemployment Assistance from people whose employment has been affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Applications can be completed online at ui.texasworkforce.org or over the phone at 1-800-939-6631. Applicants should specify that their request for assistance is related to damage caused by Hurricane Harvey.
Residents of Harris County must submit their applications by September 27.
UPDATE – Houston Wastewater Treatment Plants
The City of Houston’s drinking water remains SAFE; this includes the tap water that comes out of the faucet.
However, as of Wednesday, September 6 at 12:30 p.m., the West District and Turkey Creek wastewater treatment plants in west Houston are still flooded. These wastewater plants provide sanitary sewer service to zip codes: 77024, 77041, 77043, 77055, 77077, 77079, 77080, and 77094. It does not impact water service in District I.
Wastewater is water that goes down the drain and into the sanitary sewer system. In homes this includes water from sinks, showers, bathtubs, toilets, washing machines and dishwashers. The community in the impacted areas (the zip codes mentioned above) have continued to help minimize sanitary sewer backups by conserving wastewater.
A few ways to help conserve wastewater include: minimizing laundry use, taking shorter showers, not running the dishwasher, and flushing the toilet a little less.
Again, the City of Houston’s drinking water remains SAFE. For questions or concerns please call 3-1-1.