City of Houston News

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner responded to a Houstonian’s public letter about a homeless camp near his home. Mayor Turner responded with a public letter.
Here are some highlights from the mayor’s letter:

“We have been able to house over 11,000 homeless individuals since 2012, resulting in a 60% reduction in the overall homeless population,” Mayor Turner wrote.

“The public health and safety dangers posed by the encampments in Downtown and Midtown is what prompted me to work with my colleagues in City Council to pass the encampment ordinance prohibiting tents and large amounts of personal items on public property. Although the City was sued and the encampment ordinance initially blocked by a federal court order, we are vigorously fighting the lawsuit.” Mayor Turner wrote.

“We will never be able to fully respond to the issue of homelessness and encampments, if we do not respond to the mental health and substance abuse challenges impacting Houstonians on and off the streets.” Mayor Turner wrote.

“Even if our encampments are considered small compared to those on the West coast or other major cities across the state and nation, it’s still a major issue that we must all work together to address. From cuts in funding to the lingering impact of a hurricane, it won’t necessarily be easy, but it can and will be done. Enforcement is an important and helpful tool, but not the ultimate solution. I am not looking to simply sweep the issue of homelessness in Houston under the rug, (or displace an encampment into different neighborhoods). Rather we must work together on permanent solutions to this complex problem.” Mayor Turner wrote in his response letter.

On this last day of Black History Month, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced historic bricks will be re-installed in Freedmen’s Town at the corner of Andrews and Genessee. Houston Public Works crews started work on the putting back the original bricks this morning. They had been removed to finish storm drainage improvements in the Fourth Ward. Over a year ago, more than 3,610 bricks were removed from Freedmen’s Town. Hurricane Harvey and other weather-related matters delayed the scheduled completion in December.

“We will continue to work with the community to preserve this important historical neighborhood, ” Mayor Turner said. “The bricks were originally laid down by freed slaves more than 100 years ago.”

The sculpture High Plains Drifter by Peter Reginato has a new home in northwest Houston. The sculpture was unveiled Sunday at Agnes Moffitt Park, 10625 Hammerly Blvd. in Spring Branch. The artwork was downtown and is worth more than $350.000. It was built in two pieces in front of the Allen Center complex in downtown Houston. Brookfield Properties donated the sculpture which was moved to a District A park.

The push to bring civic art to the suburbs started with the Mayor Turner’s Houston Civic Art Program in 2016. It found areas with no civic art.

“Every part of the city should be to enjoy civic art right where people live,” Mayor Turner said in a news release.

Moving Reginato’s High Plains Drifter to Spring Branch was made possible by Brookfield Properties, Spring Branch Management District, Council District Service Funds through Council Member Brenda Stardig’s office and Civic Art Program money.

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