District K Friends,
It is my hope that you and your family are safe and healthy. What a time we all experienced last week. I’m thankful to all of the District K residents that came out to volunteer during our water distributions. Your dedication to our community is stellar and we are grateful. I appreciate each and every one of our city employees who experienced their own personal challenges during the storm, but still showed up to serve Houstonians.
Mayor Turner and Judge Lina Hidalgo established the Houston Harris County Winter Storm Relief Fund to help our region’s most vulnerable during this time of critical need. The Fund will focus on relief and recovery efforts across the City of Houston and Harris County. Those impacted by the storm and needing help now can text “HoustonFreeze” (for Spanish, text “HoustonAyuda”) to 898211 (TXT211 on iPhone). When assistance is available, individuals will be contacted regarding eligibility requirements and how to apply.  
Thanks to the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities for partnering with Crowd Source Rescue to deliver bottled water to people with disabilities who don’t have access to reliable transportation. You can sign up for delivery at crowdsourcerescue.org/freeze.
Stay encouraged. You are strong enough to face it all, even if it doesn’t feel like it right now. Be kind!

Houston Recovers: FEMA Emergency Aid Available for Texas

FEMA announced federal emergency aid has been made available to the state of Texas to supplement state, tribal and local recovery efforts in areas affected by a severe winter storm beginning on Feb. 11, 2021 and continuing.
The President’s action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Angelina, Aransas, Bastrop, Bee, Bell, Bexar, Blanco, Brazoria, Brazos, Brown, Burleson, Caldwell, Calhoun, Cameron, Chambers, Collin, Comal, Comanche, Cooke, Coryell, Dallas, Denton, DeWitt, Ellis, Falls, Fort Bend, Galveston, Gillespie, Grimes, Guadalupe, Hardin, Harris, Hays, Henderson, Hidalgo, Hood, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Kaufman, Kendall, Lavaca, Liberty, Madison, Matagorda, Maverick, McLennan, Montague, Montgomery, Nacogdoches, Nueces, Orange, Palo Pinto, Panola, Parker, Polk, Rockwall, Sabine, San Jacinto, San Patricio, Scurry, Shelby, Smith, Stephens, Tarrant, Travis, Tyler, Upshur, Van Zandt, Victoria, Walker, Waller, Wharton, Wichita, Williamson, Wilson and Wise counties.
Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.
Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated area can begin applying for assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362 or 1-800-462-7585 TTY.
Federal funding is also available to state, tribal, eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, statewide.
Federal funding is available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.
Houston residents should continue to visit www.HoustonEmergency.org for updates on the City’s ongoing response to the winter storm. Recovery resource information is also available. 

311 System Updates Coming

On July 29, 2020, I voted along with my city council colleagues to approve a 5-year, $3.1M contract to upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics 365. The new system will provide tighter integrations with city departments and is scheduled to go live in July 2021.
Residents will have an improved app with service requests numbers and a customer portal with a virtual agent that can provide guidance to customers for the service they are seeking.
We understand the frustrations with the current system and look forward to its replacement. As we continue to assist with storm recovery operations, 311 is experiencing extremely high call volumes and longer call wait times. Last week 311 received 51,197 calls during the winter storm compared to 40,424 calls during Hurricane Harvey. Houstonians are also encouraged to submit their service requests online to www.houstontx.gov/311 to help keep phone lines available for those without internet access.
Thank you to the 311 agents who worked through the ice storm despite power failures and having to relocate to maintain continuity of operations. We will continue to work together to help Houstonians through these challenging times.

COH Water Bill Adjustments

We understand this is a challenging time for so many families. If you receive an unusually high water bill caused by a leak during last week’s winter storm, don’t stress. Please pay what you paid on your last bill until automatic adjustments can be applied. Payments can be made online, through the automated phone system at 713.371.1265, or with a customer service representative at 713.371.1400. We will get through this together. Stay encouraged!

Online Registration for Vaccines at NRG

The Houston Health Department is now offering an online registration option for qualifying people to join the Area Agency on Aging waitlist, which is used for the #COVID19 mass vaccination site at NRG Park.
The waitlist is open to people age 65 and older and people age 60 and older with chronic health conditions. People with disabilities may also join the waitlist.
The Houston Health Department and Harris County Public Health are collaborating to ensure the FEMA supported COVID-19 mass vaccination site opening this week at NRG prioritizes the area’s most vulnerable populations. The site will fully vaccinate approximately 126,000 people by serving 6,000 per day, seven days per week for three weeks before transitioning to second doses for three weeks. Both the city and county will use their waitlists to schedule appointments for the drive thru site.
Phone Registration: 832-393-4301

Harris County Appraisal District Reminds Property Owners of Disaster Exemption

The Harris County Appraisal District is reminding property owners who have experienced physical damage to their property during the recent freezing temperatures to apply for a temporary disaster exemption.
“The recent cold winter weather has caused physical damage to many properties in the area, and I want to remind everyone of the disaster exemption that is available to help those owners.” said Roland Altinger, chief appraiser. “A change in state law since Hurricane Harvey now lets the individual owner apply for the temporary disaster exemption for physical damage to their property.”
The Texas Tax Code allows a qualified property that is at least 15 percent damaged by a disaster in a governor-declared disaster area to receive a temporary exemption of a portion of the appraised value of the property. Qualified property includes real property such as homes and buildings, certain manufactured homes and tangible personal property used for the production of income for a business.
The property owner must apply for the temporary exemption no later than 105 days after the governor declares a disaster area. Texas Governor Greg Abbott declared the state a disaster area on Feb. 12 so the temporary exemption application must be filed no later than May 28.
The disaster application form can be found online at www.hcad.org under FORMS > General Information > Form 50-312, Temporary Exemption for Property Damaged by Disaster. The form should be mailed to the address in the top left of the form, which is Harris County Appraisal District, Information and Assistance Division, P.O. Box 522012, Houston, Texas 77292-2012.  For further information, contact the HCAD’s information center at 713.957.7800 or email [email protected] . 

Winter Storm Resources

Houston Food Bank
  • Home Delivery Services – For the most vulnerable needing immediate assistance. Households receive a home delivered disaster box/water if they are:
  • Seniors 65+
  • Persons with disabilities
  • Infants Reservations taken thru Mon, Feb 22 at 832-369-9390
  • Learn more: https://www.houstonfoodbank.org/winterstorm
  • NRG Distribution Event:
  • The Houston Food Bank will be hosting a large food distribution at NRG on Sunday, February 21 from 9:00 – 12:00 p.m. (8510 Kirby Dr – Blue Lot). You can also visit http://houstonfoodbank.org/winterstorm and enter your ZIP code on the map to find other pantries near you
Crowd Source Rescue
Houston Independent School District
  • HISD FACE staff members have compiled a Winter Storm Community Resources list to help our families with recovery. Food/water distributions, financial assistance, and more: bit.ly/3s7gF64
State Resources
  • The Texas Department of Emergency Management has a statewide effort to collect damage assessment data from this winter storm. Our goal is to identify the scale of the disaster and help officials assess the total statewide damages. Please report damages here: https://arcg.is/uOrOb
  • Texas HHSC received federal approval to allow SNAP recipients to apply for replacement benefits for food lost or destroyed due to severe winter weather by dialing 2-1-1. Learn more: http://bit.ly/37y9oV6
Federal Resources
The White House has approved a Major Disaster Declaration in 77 Texas counties today, which includes City of Houston residents. Individuals who sustained losses due to the winter storms and do not have insurance can now apply for federal assistance.
If you don’t have insurance and your home was damaged by the severe winter storms in one of the designated counties, apply for assistance now: