Be Prepared to Apply
COH Small Business Economic Relief Program

As the chairperson of the City of Houston’s Economic Development Committee, I am ecstatic to share that Mayor Turner and members of Houston City Council passed the City’s Small Business Economic Relief Program (SBERP), which will be funded with $15 million of the City’s allocated CARES Act 2020 funds. We anticipate the application portal will be open later this month. In the meantime please visit to see the list of items you will need in order to prepare to apply.
The program is for small businesses that are most in financial need and exhibit a moderate to high likelihood of surviving the pandemic’s adverse impacts. The City also encourages local chambers of commerce to apply.
The maximum amount a business or chamber can receive is $50,000. A business may use the funds for payroll, accounts payable, rent, mortgage, PPE for employees, marketing strategies, including creating an online presence and other sales alternatives.
“We know small businesses throughout Houston have suffered greatly due to the global pandemic, and it could take months or years before the business climate returns to normal,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said. “I thank Vice Mayor Pro-Tem Martha Castex-Tatum and other council members for bringing this program forward. We are working on other relief packages that will keep us Houston Strong as we navigate the public health crisis.”
Working with the City’s Office of Business Opportunity, the Houston Business Development, Inc. (HBDi), will administer the program and develop a marketing strategy, accept and process applications electronically, develop a scoring matrix and provide regular progress reporting and metrics to OBO.
HBDi is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation established in 1986 by the City of Houston. The corporation’s mission is to stimulate economic growth, support the expansion of small businesses, combat community deterioration and foster employment opportunities for low-moderate income citizens in the Houston metropolitan area and surrounding counties.
To qualify for the SBERP, business owners must meet the following requirements:
  • Must be a business whose principal place of business is located within city limits of the City of Houston.
  • Must have been in business for at least one (1) year for the last year.
  • Must provide evidence of how business revenue has significantly decreased because of government restrictions or other challenges due to COVID-19.
  • A business qualifies if it generated $2 million or less in gross annual revenue pre-COVID-19.
  • Must be in good standing regarding City requirements (e.g. property taxes, personal property, grounds for debarment, etc).
  • Must commit to completing the technical assistance component of this program provided via contractor.
  • These eligibility standards may be modified for applicants who are chambers of commerce with OBO Director approval.
“The SBERP will help all sizes of small businesses move one step closer toward financial recovery. This program is intended to maximize the long-term, positive impact of these small businesses on our local economy through their contribution to job retention and the continued availability of their services,” said Marsha Murray, director for the Office of Business Opportunity. “If our local small businesses did not qualify for other federal or local programs, or did not receive enough funds to mitigate the impact of the crisis, we encourage them to apply for this program.”
We know our small businesses have been impacted greatly through this pandemic and hopefully these funds will help to sustain many of them through this time.

Thousands of Election Workers Needed in Harris County for the November General Election

The Harris County Clerk’s Office is looking for election workers to staff more than 800 voting centers that will be open for the November 3, 2020 General Election. Election workers are also needed three weeks prior to the election to work at approximately 100 voting centers during the Early Voting period, October 13-30.

“We expect a high turnout for the upcoming general election. Early predictions indicate that more than 65 percent of the 2.4 million registered voters in Harris County will cast a ballot in November,” said Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins. “We need more than 1,000 election workers for the Early Voting period – which has been extended to three weeks – and more than 8,000 election workers for Election Day. I highly encourage all civic-minded residents of Harris County to consider serving our communities as election workers.”
To serve as an election worker, you must be a registered voter in Harris County, have transportation to and from the polling location, and be able to attend training. Bilingual election workers are needed and encouraged to apply. Students 16 years of age and older can apply to work as student clerks. All of these positions are paid.
“We will take every possible measure to keep voters and election workers safe, from keeping voting centers sanitized, to enforcing social distancing, to providing personal protective equipment to all election workers and voters,” said Clerk Hollins.
If you are interested in becoming an election worker, click here to apply online or call 713.755.6965.
Important dates:
Monday, October 5, 2020                 Last Day to Register to Vote  
Tuesday, October 13, 2020              First Day of Early Voting by Personal Appearance
Friday, October 23, 2020                  Last Day to Apply for Ballot by Mail (received, not postmarked)
Friday, October 30, 2020                  Last Day of Early Voting by Personal Appearance
Tuesday, November 3, 2020             Election Day
Wednesday, November 4, 2020       Last Day We Can Receive Your Mail Ballot (must be postmarked by 7:00pm on November 3)

Be Aware of People Posing as City of Houston Employees

This weekend I received a call that there were young men approaching homes in Fort Bend Houston neighborhoods claiming to be employees of the City of Houston Water Department. Please note that City of Houston employees will always have on a COH uniform, have a picture id, and be in City of Houston vehicle. City of Houston employees do not enter homes. If you are suspicious of people claiming to City of Houston employees or any other company, do not open your door and contact the company to verify service in the area. Stay alert and stay safe.

Economic Development Committee Meeting

The Economic Development Committee, chaired by Vice Mayor Pro-Tem, Martha Castex-Tatum, reviews matters related to Economic Development, Domestic and International Trade, Business and Job Creation, and Aviation. 
The next scheduled Council Economic Development Committee meeting will commence Wednesday, August 19, 2020, at 2:00 p.m. The agenda and presentation will be provided on the Economic Development Committee website, when made available. The meeting will be a virtual meeting via Microsoft Teams Live.
The committee meeting will be streamed on HTV Live Stream or can be watched online via this link: on
Public comment will be allowed via video conference only. To sign up for Public Comment, the public is asked to please complete the form before 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, August 18, 2020. Only those who sign up in advance will be able to provide public comments during the meeting. Public speakers will receive a specific link that will allow them to be able to speak at their designated time during the public comment portion of the meeting.

Mayor’s Task Force on Policing Reform Survey

The Major’s Task Force on Policing Reform believes that it is critical to hear from community voices. They have asked us to reach out to community stakeholders, across the city, to ask for public input via their survey.
The link will be up and available until Saturday, August 22nd at midnight. 
Survey Link Here (or if you’d like to copy and paste in your browser, here is the raw link:
Thank you in advance for your assistance and participation.

Public Hearing Notice

Reference Number 2020-1191, Fondren Southwest Northfield Sec 7 and 8 partial replat no 2, the replatting of a portion of Corrected Plat of Fondren Southwest Northfield Sec 7 and Fondren Southwest Northfield Section 8. This proposal includes the replatting of a portion of part of lots 1-22, block 1, lots 1-35, block 2, a portion of Hopewell Lane, Coachwood Drive, and Teal Run Drive as recorded in Volume 303 Page 83 and lots 1-30, block 2, lots 1-5, 14-18, block 3, lots 1-35, block 4, Lots 1-23, block 5, lots 1-11, block 6, a portion of Ludington Drive and Fair Meadow Drive, and all of Moondance Lane, Janabrook Drive, Valley Hills Drive, Apache Plume Drive and Villa Lea Lane as recorded in Volume 327, Page 108 of the Harris County Map Records.
The property is located south of West Bellfort Avenue west of Fondren Road. The purpose of the replat is to create 122 single-family lots, 4 blocks and 5 reserves. The applicant, Jake Patrick, with Vernon G. Henry & Associates, Inc., can be contacted at 713-627-8666.
Pursuant to Local Government Code 212.015 and the City of Houston’s Code of Ordinances, Chapter 42 the Planning Commission has established a public hearing date for this item. As required, the Planning Department sent written notice of the public hearing. The requirements for notification specify that this notice was mailed to
all owners of property within 250’ of the boundary of the plat and all parcels along or across from a blockface that abuts any street or private roadway extending 500 feet from the plat as measured along the centerline of any street or private roadway that abuts the boundary of the plat.
Due to the COVID 19 emergency, and the Mayor’s directives on social distancing and limits on public gatherings, the Planning Commission has switched its meetings to an electronic virtual meeting format. Thus, this item is scheduled for public hearing and consideration at a
Virtual Planning Commission Meeting
Thursday, August 20, 2020 at 2:30 PM
The Planning Commission will hold its next meeting through a video conference via Microsoft Teams. The video conference will allow for a two-way video/ audio communication with Houston Planning Commission. To join the meeting, visit our website:
You will find a link to participate in the meeting and you may also submit comments or sign up as speakers in the following ways:
Please submit written comments or sign up as speakers at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting, so staff may compile them in order of the agenda items. These will be read into the record but may be summarized by staff if they are especially lengthy or duplicative of other comments. ALL comments submitted will be made part of the meeting record. Speakers who signed up to be speak will be allowed to make their comments during the meeting.
  • Telephone: You may call the Planning Department at: 832-393-6624 and a staff member will take your comments and this will also be read into the record and made part of the meeting record.
You may also contact staff with the Planning and Development Department regarding this notice via email at or call (832)393-6600.
Be advised that state law requires the Houston Planning Commission to approve each subdivision plat and replat that complies with the provisions of Chapter 42 and any other applicable laws and requirements.

Westbury Comunity Garden Fundraiser
August 15 is National Honey Bee Day!

In celebration of the fascinating honey bee and in hopes of fulfilling our goal of developing an apiary for honey bees at Westbury Community Garden, the garden is having a fundraiser all month during August. For every $10 donation, donors receive a thank-you gift of 16 oz Humming Bee Organic Honey! This wonderful honey product is processed here in Houston by Humming Bee. The honey is harvested in the pristine tropical wilds of the Mexican Yucatan.
Choose Your Payment Method
You may make a donation via Paypal or we accept cash/check/cards. For Paypal, send your donation to If you prefer cash, check or card, just come to one of the following pick up locations to make your donation and collect your thank-you gift(s).
Pick Up Locations
August 13 Westbury Community Garden 6:00 – 8:00 PM
August 15 Westbury Community Garden 9:00 – 11:00 AM
August 22 Westbury Community Garden 9:00 – 11:00 AM
August 29 Westbury Community Garden 9:00 – 11:00 AM
Spread The Word!
Get extra honey for gifts or tell your friends about this super way to support pollinators and your neighborhood community garden.
Westbury Community thanks you for your support!
All proceeds go toward the WCG Honey Bee Apiary project and other sustainability efforts at Westbury Community Garden.