December 22, 2022

The County Connection: Happy Holidays and Cheers to 2023

The County Connection
Lina Hidalgo | Harris County Judge

 December 2022

This holiday season, I am so grateful for all of the people and hard work that made everything we accomplished in 2022 possible. This was a milestone year for Harris County – we launched multiple policies that are going to improve the lives of our residents, from early childhood to clean energy, from lowering crime rates to improving housing. As the year comes to a close and we enter the next chapter of my Administration, I’d like to highlight a few of the historic, cutting-edge initiatives and programs we’ve been working on:

  • Reducing Crime: We have reduced violent crime rates through smart and tough investments in research-based public safety programs like the Holistic Assistance Response Team, the Gun Violence Interruption Program, and the VIPER Warrants Task Force, as well as by cutting the felony court case backlog by 23.4%.
  • Turning Harris County Green: This year, the Environmental Protection Agency recognized Harris County as a member of the Green Power Partnership for our use of green energy. Around 90% of Harris County facilities’ electricity use is either solar-generated right here in Harris County, or has all emissions offset through Renewable Energy Credits.
  • Boosting Mental Health Support: We have dedicated $23 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to behavioral and mental health programs that provide counseling for youth and families, substance use treatment and overdose prevention, and behavioral health workforce development.
  • Flood Mitigation and Infrastructure: We completed the historic $480 million Brays Bayou project, 30 years in the making, which will provide flood mitigation benefits to infrastructure in the Texas Medical Center and remove 15,000 homes from the 100 year flood plain. We also won a long fight with the Texas General Land Office for $750 million in funding for post-Harvey flood control infrastructure and mitigation.
  • Alleviating Homelessness: We have invested over $100 million in collaboration with the City of Houston and the Coalition for the Homeless to reduce homelessness by over 21% since January 2020, providing stable housing and assistance to over 11,000 people so far.
  • Caring for Harris County’s Kids: Our historic $84 million “Brighter Futures for Harris County Kids” initiative is the largest allocation of funding for children in Harris County history and the largest known investment of ARPA dollars for early childhood education, childcare, and maternal health by any county or city in the nation.

We ended the year strong and have accomplished so much, and we aren’t slowing down. Our momentum will launch us into 2023 ready to tackle the most challenging issues.

On a more personal note, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to lead Harris County for four more years. I ended the year accomplishing two things I could not have done without so much support. First and most importantly, winning your confidence and, second, competing and completing my first IRONMAN. Both pushed me to be stronger, work harder, and to never give-up. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to serve you and I can’t wait to take on 2023!

Cheers to all the good things to come!


Lina Hidalgo

County News

Commissioners Court Approves Agreement with Harris County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council to Administer the $4.7 Million Domestic Violence Fund

Last month, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Commissioners Court continued their work to assist domestic violence survivors by approving an agreement with the Harris County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council (HCDVCC) to administer the Domestic Violence Assistance Fund. The $4.7 million Fund was created with American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds and will provide assistance to survivors of domestic violence through grants to community-based organizations which will provide services to survivors of domestic violence. The funds can be used for any assistance to help survivors leave abusive situations or stabilize and build a new life and are projected to provide direct support and wraparound services for up to 3,800 households and up to 6,650 individuals.

Harris County Approves Collaboration with City of Houston for 24 Flood Mitigation Projects to Improve Flood Resiliency

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Commissioners Court approved a $19.5 million agreement with the City of Houston for a collaboration on the completion of 24 flood mitigation projects to improve flood resiliency for area residents. The City will design and execute the projects, which will be carried out on city property, while the Harris County Flood Control District will fund half of the total cost of each project.

Harris County Approves Children’s Assessment Center Funding to Help Reduce Court Case Backlog

Commissioners Court has approved an additional $20.2 million in ARPA funds for court case backlog reduction.This includes $1.54 million for the Children’s Assessment Center (CAC), which will cover the digital conversion of over 34,000 VHS tapes with child abuse case interviews and upgraded medical digital technology for medical exams in child abuse cases, both of which will facilitate the processing of evidence that can be used to prosecute and convict abusers, even years or decades after an incident occurred. The funds will also cover accelerated intake processes to reduce the wait time for children to receive counseling, enhanced training for mental health professionals, and expanded community prevention training to reach up to an additional 4,000 community members each year, especially in schools.

Harris County Approves Training Agreements for Hire Up Harris Workforce Program

The Hire Up Harris Workforce Program is a workforce training initiative that provides short-term, high-quality training programs to help place workers and employers in a better position to find career placements and overcome the negative economic shocks of COVID-19. Last month, Judge Hidalgo and Commissioners Court approved a $13.6 million agreement with Volunteers of America Texas, Inc. and Wesley Community Center, Inc. to provide training for up to 650 program participants, primarily in the healthcare and manufacturing industries.

2021 Harris County Small Business Relief Fund Issues Final Reports Detailing Success of Program

The latest November reports and surveys show that the Small Business Relief Fund was a success. The $30 million investment provided aid to help small and micro businesses meet payroll needs and pay their mortgage or rent. The program served small businesses in 19 industries including the service industry, retail businesses, and accommodation/food service businesses (some of the hardest hit business sectors during the pandemic). Reported business closures remain under 1% and more than 60% of survey respondents believe they are likely to stay open as a result of these programs.

Harris County to Demolish Nearly 100 Unsafe Structures as Part of the Neighborhood Nuisance Abatement Program

Commissioners Court has approved requests to abate 99 public nuisance properties and unsafe structures across all four Precincts. This initiative is one piece of our multifaceted efforts – which have already shown progress – to tackle violent crime. It focuses on targeting  neighborhood blight that serves as an incubator for criminal elements. The County expects to abate over 1,100 nuisances total as part of this program to increase the quality of life and safety in our communities.

Harris County Continues the Fight to End Food Insecurity

No one in Harris County should ever go hungry, and we are now one step closer to achieving this goal. Harris County Commissioner’s Court has approved $3.18 million in ARPA funds to fight food insecurity by distributing a projected 74,500 Farm-Fresh Boxes full of healthy foods and bringing affordable Mobile Farmers Markets to neighborhoods with low food access.

Harris County Salutes Our Veterans

Harris County’s Veteran Services Department was one of only 3 Texas agencies to win a $750,000 federal grant that will be dedicated to expanding veteran support services over the next year, including efforts to expand suicide awareness and prevention. After we doubled the budget for our Veteran Services Department, this is a critical way to continue helping those who served our nation.

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Commissioners Court Meetings

As part of the County Judge’s Office initiative to make local government more transparent and accessible, we invite you to get involved by viewing Commissioners Court meetings. You can check here to see the meeting schedule, and watch the official close captioned livestream here or on the Judge’s homepage here.

Hazardous Waste Collection Appointments

Do you have unwanted household hazardous items? Properly dispose of them by making an appointment with the Household Hazardous Waste Collections facility at 6900 Hahl Road in Houston. Learn what items are accepted and make an appointment here.

About Judge Hidalgo

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo is the head of Harris County’s governing body and Director of the Harris County’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Judge Hidalgo, alongside four County Precinct Commissioners, oversees a budget of approximately $5 billion that funds services and institutions for the third-largest county in the nation, home to nearly 5 million people.
For more information about Harris County and the Office of the County Judge, click here.