Report cards are rare in the summer, but I am glad to report on the progress we are making on several initiatives designed to enhance the quality of life in Houston neighborhoods.
Every neighborhood deserves to have a thriving population of young people who find opportunity and meaningful activities. I am glad to report that 5,200 youth found work this year through the Mayor’s Hire Houston Summer Jobs program that connected them to private businesses and non-profit organizations.
Meanwhile my Complete Communities program is moving forward in its initial stage. This program, which I announced in the spring, will bring together public resources, private businesses and philanthropic groups to improve overall conditions in five “pilot” neighborhoods: Third Ward, Second Ward, Near Northside, Acres Home and Gulfton. By “pilot,” I mean that these neighborhoods will serve as test cases for a program I want to implement citywide.
Planners have already met with neighborhood leaders to set priorities for the improvements. Next, we will launch a series of public meetings where my staff and I gather more feedback from residents in each neighborhood. We will not impose one-size-fits-all solutions in these neighborhoods. We will only move forward after listening closely to each area’s wants and needs.
But we also plan to move quickly after we gather the wide-ranging feedback. First will come “quick delivery” items, such as enhanced street lighting and new playground equipment, even as we plan long-term housing and economic revitalization projects.
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On another front, we are moving forward with hiring a company to provide new curbside recycling service, including the resumption of the recycling of glass. As the value and methods of recycling change, we will select a service that will keep up with technology and provide the best financial deal for the city.
Also, the City Council just a few days ago approved my proposal to add $4 million to a program to repair roofs and make other structural repairs on homes that were covered by those blue tarps resulting from hurricane damage several years ago. As we look to improve every neighborhood in our great city, it’s time to make permanent fixes.