Civic Saturday on Economic Opportunity and Housing

Talking Transition is a dynamic, three-part civic engagement process to meaningfully engage residents and local leaders in the public policy design process to create a better future for Harris County.

First, we are conducting a countywide survey around issues that matter throughout the county. Next, we are hosting town hall style events called “Civic Saturday” in a different area of the county over seven weeks—bringing together elected leaders, community organizations, government agencies, and residents to listen and discuss local topics impacting our county. Lastly, County Judge Lina Hidalgo will work with her team to use the ideas that come from the survey and local meetings to help shape a plan for Harris County that will benefit everyone.

Our fifth Civic Saturday at the BakerRipley East Aldine Campus was packed with residents and local leaders engaging in real dialogue about Economic Opportunities and Housing issues.

Judge Hidalgo, along with Representative Armando Walle and Commissioner Rodney Ellis, welcomed folks with a commitment to listen to the ideas and shared experiences of the people most impacted by our county government's policies.

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One important part of Civic Saturday is educating our community on existing resources and programs. Dr. Laura Murillo with the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce talked to residents about their education courses that are lifting up small business owners. Our partner, Christelle Palay with HOME Coalition, helped facilitate conversations surrounding affordable housing and resources for housing education. Together residents and leaders shared innovative ideas like using county-owned facilities as a place to offer low rent to small businesses, creating freed up funds for these businesses to offer more services and jobs for the community.

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Residents then participated in breakout sessions with elected leaders and local agencies. Discussions served different topics from job creation and small business support to housing education programs and creating a housing and transit strategy.

“In my group, we shared ideas about what it means to be a homeowner and a tenant and it was important that we had agencies and an elected official in our group. We discussed all of the people who want to own a home in Harris, what needs to happen to meet that goal, and who stands in the way of ensuring the possibility. To start, we need to ensure a livable wage for people and define what that means. We need to also have the conversation on what buying a home looks like for communities of color and people with disabilities.” -Amanda, East Aldine

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“I’m a recent college graduate looking for a job, and I’m struggling with the applicant tracking system. Companies filter out resumes that do not have certain keywords, and I didn’t know this happened. Colleges do not adequately teach us how to write resumes or how to find a job. My goal is to create a program that will teach students how to make resumes and interact with potential employers. Young people should have every opportunity to find quality jobs that are going to move them up in life and I’m here to talk directly with the people who can help create these education programs.”

-Jenn, Cypress

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This Civic Saturday focused on engaging the community to create a vision for better economic opportunity and quality housing. Judge Hidalgo’s next step will be to incorporate ideas shared from each Civic Saturday and our countywide surveys to develop and implement a policy plan that truly serves the people of Harris County.

You can join our next conversation on Criminal Justice, this one in the 3rd Ward! Let us know you’re coming: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/civic-saturday-criminal-justice-tickets-56349265169


You can also make your voice heard and tell Judge Hidalgo what you think about issues impacting our diverse community by taking our online survey. Take the survey here: talkingtransition.us/survey

-Talking Transition Team