The County Connection
Lina Hidalgo | Harris County Judge

September 2021
We are seeing some signs that we may be reaching a peak to this latest COVID-19 spike, but the raw number of cases and hospitalizations here in Harris County are still catastrophically high. And although our medical professionals are working nonstop to bring those numbers down, there is still a limited number of beds and staff to treat the surge of unvaccinated residents flooding our hospitals. Emergency rooms have had to close. Vital surgeries have had to be delayed. And people are dying when they shouldn’t be. Harris County is home to the world’s biggest and best medical center. This shouldn’t happen anywhere in America, but especially not here.
While we are doing everything possible to support our nurses, they are physically and mentally drained. Since August 11th, Harris County hospitals have received 4 deployments of nurses. Around 1,300 nurses have been sent to Harris County to support the local effort and over 2,000 nurses have arrived in our region, including 622 nurses that Harris County recruited thanks to $30 million Commissioner’s Court approved last month to secure more help. But additional nurses alone won’t stop the numbers we are seeing — we need the support of our entire community to make it through this and give our medical workers the level of relief they need and deserve.
So please, if you haven’t already, get vaccinated. Until September 14th, Harris County residents receive $100 when they receive their first dose anywhere in Harris County. If you visit a Harris County Public Health site, you will receive a cash card there immediately following your vaccination. If you prefer to use another provider in Harris County, and you are a Harris County resident, you can also fill out our online form to receive $100 once we verify your vaccination status — no insurance required. Visit or call 832-927-8787 to sign up for an appointment with Harris County Public Health or to claim your $100 if you got your vaccine at a non-Harris County Public Health provider.
But even if you don’t want to do it for your health, or the cash, do it for our exhausted nurses and medical personnel. And if you have gotten vaccinated already, persuade those in your life who will listen to you to do the same. The decision to get vaccinated impacts all of us — the next car accident or sudden, treatable illness that requires an ICU bed could happen to someone you know and love, and we need those beds open and ready.
Lina Hidalgo

County News

Application For Second Round of $30 Million COVID Relief Fund for Struggling Families to Open September 8th

Families who have suffered financial setbacks as a result of COVID-related layoffs and wage reductions are still struggling to catch up. Last month, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Commissioner’s Court pledged an additional $30 million to the Harris County Recovery Assistance (HCRA) relief fund, which finished its first application period on August 11th and received 194,000 applicants. The next application period will open September 8th through September 12th at, and will roll over applicants from the first application period, as well as accept new applicants. This second round of the HCRA will award one-time payments of $1,500 to 20,000 struggling Harris County families.
“We’ve seen an overwhelming need for continued, direct assistance to help families meet their basic needs,” said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. “While a $1,500 payment will not lift a family out of poverty, it can help someone stay healthy and housed. We also know from experience that when struggling families receive financial assistance, they put that money back into the economy.”
To qualify for the program, applicants must live within Harris County (inside or outside City of Houston limits), be 18 years or older, demonstrate pandemic-related economic hardship, and must not exceed the maximum financial threshold (a member of the household must receive public assistance, or the total household income must be less than 60% of the HUD Area Median Family Income). Also, due to federal requirements, at least one adult member of the household must be a U.S. citizen, legal permanent resident, refugee, or other qualified noncitizen. The program is open to renters and homeowners alike.
For more information and to apply, please visit You can also call 832-345-6289 Monday­ through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Harris County Small Business Fund to Accept Applications for Grants Starting September 20th

COVID-19 has hit our small businesses hard, and many are still struggling to recover. The Harris County Small Business Relief Fund will award grants ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 to eligible small businesses to help with business-related expenses, including payroll, working capital, business rent, inventory, supplies, equipment, and other operating costs. The application for grants will open from September 20th until October 4th. To share information and answer any questions on how to apply, the Fund will host three virtual informational sessions on qualifications and the application process on September 8th at 9 a.m., September 13th at 6 p.m., and September 23rd at 12 p.m. Visit now to RSVP for the info sessions and for more information on how to apply.

Harris County Pledges Additional $1 Million in Legal Aid to Evicted Renters

Imagine losing your job due to the pandemic, being evicted from your home, and then having to represent yourself in court. Last month, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Commissioners Court approved an additional $1 million for legal services for renters in the process of fighting their evictions. The County also continues to distribute tens of millions of dollars to renters and landlords impacted by COVID-19 via the Houston-Harris County COVID-19 Rental Assistance Fund. You can apply for both legal aid and rental assistance at

Harris County Expands Support Services for Residents of Permanent Supportive Housing

Across the nation, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated housing insecurity, homelessness, and social issues related to these problems, such as mental illness and domestic violence. Last month, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Commissioners Court unanimously approved $5.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Emergency Housing Vouchers to expand support services that help people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness obtain and keep permanent housing. The Harris Center and the Coalition for the Homeless will carry out the support services including case management, navigation, move-in support, mental health and substance abuse services, and domestic violence-related services.

Upcoming Events

Harris County Small Business Relief Fund Virtual Informational Sessions

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.

Upcoming Flood Control Bond Project Meetings

Harris County never stops preparing for the next big storm. And while the 2018 Harris County Flood Control District Bond Program is in full swing, we continue to seek input from community members as we implement projects in watersheds across the County. If you have a comment about a particular project, we invite you to attend the corresponding virtual meeting and be part of the planning process. Learn more about upcoming 2018 Bond Program Community Engagement Meetings 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. Appointments are available each Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and during the second and fourth Saturday of each month. 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.