As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) infections peak at different times throughout the nation, local governments – armed with science-based public health information — have jumped into action. By doing everything within their power to protect their constituents’ health and safety, they are saving lives. Harris County is no exception.

We heard you and are actively working to provide relief for you and your family while combating this global pandemic. Many have reported job loss and are deeply concerned about how you will continue to pay your bills, feed your family and pay the rent. Our neighbors who operate small businesses have been profoundly impacted by this virus.

We are a community. Our own health depends on the health of the person next to us, and the person next to them. This is the time that we must stand together and ensure our most vulnerable gain access to health care. Using divisive words against our neighbors or using this crisis to further agendas has no place as we respond to this crisis. We will get through this together.

Yesterday at Harris County Commissioners Court, our local government took several actions to provide relief to our community, care for our most vulnerable and directly benefit those who have been impacted.

  • Harris County unanimously voted to commit $1 million to support food purchases and distribution for residents who have found themselves in need of help due to job loss.
  • Public health officials stress that caring for the most vulnerable in our community is key to curbing the spread of COVID-19. That’s why Commissioners Court unanimously voted to commit $3 million in support of the Homeless Medical Isolation and Recovery Shelter, which is a partnership with the City of Houston.
  • COVID-19 has severely harmed working families who are the backbone of our economy. Small businesses account for almost half of the US workforce and we need to ensure we are providing resources for them. Yesterday, Commissioners Court made a commitment to create an economic assistance loan program for small businesses to help our local economy and our communities recover from this pandemic.
  • No one should risk their health to exercise their constitutional right to vote. Giving Harris County residents the option of voting by mail during this public health crisis will ensure that everyone can participate in our democracy without restrictions. Yesterday, Commissioners Court voted to pursue securing vote by mail for Harris County voters.
  • The catastrophic job losses in our community due to COVID-19 have placed families in desperate situations. Yesterday, Commissioners Court vote to begin the process of creating a dedicated Harris County COVID-19 Relief Fund. This crucial initiative will provide assistance for rent, utilities, and other vital needs facing Harris County residents impacted by the current global pandemic. The economic effects of this crisis will last well beyond the public health emergency, and your county government will stand prepared to help families stay in their homes and get back on their feet.
  • Public health officials continue to stress that housing almost 8,000 people in the county jail, which is a confined space that doesn’t allow for social distancing, poses an imminent threat for the entire community. Joined by Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, Commissioners Court had an in-depth discussion about safe and healthy options for releasing   non-violent individuals accused of offenses. Many of those being considered for release are already eligible for release but are too poor to post bail. Additionally, jails and prisons throughout the nation have recognized that taking every precaution to prevent outbreaks in jails and prisons is responsible public policy and vital to reducing infections throughout our entire community. I fully expect this conversation to continue.

COVID-19 Resource Guide

Our Precinct One team has prepared a COVID-19 Resource Guide that has a lot of good information and trusted sources to help you and your family stay up-to-date, safe and healthy during this pandemic. Please see what resources are available for you.

As always, we will continue fighting for equity for all residents now and after the pandemic is over. Thank you for your help in stopping the spread of COVID-19. Let’s keep taking it one day at a time until this is over.


Rodney Ellis