Dear Friends,

 

The inequalities that we know have existed for hundreds of years are being amplified by the COVID-19 public health crisis. An ominous trend in the data -- disturbing though not surprising -- confirms that communities of color are being hit hardest by Coronavirus. Black people in America are three times more likely to contract COVID-19, and six times more likely to die from it.   

 

The news each day puts this fact in sharper focus. Systems currently failing communities of color during this epidemic were doing the same before this health crisis hit. 

 

Disparities in access to quality health care that lead to higher rates of chronic disease like high blood pressure and diabetes put communities of color, immigrants, and people living on the economic margins at higher risks. But other conditions, such as  food insecurity, the lack of safe and affordable childcare, the digital divide, an oppressive system of mass incarceration and limited economic opportunity, also impact the same communities.

 

And those are often the same people, who lack workplace benefits, such as sick leave, yet are performing essential services during this crisis. All of which, once again amplifies their risk. 

 

It's not acceptable.  

 

Precinct One and Harris County are working to put programs in place to help during this emergency:

 

  • Last month, Precinct One and Harris County began a

Unloading 20 pallets of food from the Houston Food Bank to prepare for distribution to Precinct One residents.

  • partnership with the Houston Food Bank that is delivering food to those in need. This week, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo formed another partnership with the Houston Food Bank to increase food distribution from 440,000 pounds to 640,000 pounds of food each week, and has allowed the Food Bank to hire a total of 180 workers, who were laid off from restaurant and hospitality jobs. 
  • Compassionate release of people accused of non-violent offenses who are being kept in jail so they are not put at risk of infection simply because they are too poor to pay bail. Jails do not allow for social distancing and an outbreak in the jail will place the entire community at risk.
  • Precinct One also understands that many are having a difficult time paying bills during this crisis. We are preparing to seek a direct assistance package to help people with rent and utilities, and consider expanding the Small Business Assistance loan program that stopped taking applications due to overwhelming response .

 

Once this crisis has passed, however, the underlying socio-economic conditions caused by decades of discrimination and neglect will remain unless we dream, plan, and take action to create a true and equitable new normal for everyone. 

 

Solutions we put in place can shape a path forward. Together, we can repair systemic injustice and prepare our entire community not just for the next major crisis, be it a virus or a storm or something else entirely, but for a fair future with true opportunity for all. 

 

COVID-19 Forecast

 

The latest modeling shows that Coronavirus (COVID-19) infections will peak in Harris County between now and the beginning of May -- if we continue to flatten the curve by adhering to shelter-at-home order.

 

Currently, the rate of infections doubles every five days, so we must remain vigilant and pay close attention of the basics of working together while staying apart:

 

  • Stay home if you can.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. Use hand sanitizer if you are away from a sink. 
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your arm or a tissue, and do not re-use the tissue. 
  • Maintain a distance of six feet from other people in public places, not just in front of you but on all sides. 

 

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.

  • Spanish version or

by visiting this link:
http://bit.ly/COVIDResourceGuide_ESP 

  

For now, please stay home if you can, and take care when you must go out. We need you -- your know-how, your dreams, and your partnership -- for when we get to work on the new normal.   

 


Sincerely, 

 

RE Signature 

 

 

Rodney Ellis

 

 

 

 

 

 

Commissioner Rodney Ellis

Harris County Precinct One

1001 Preston, Suite 950

Houston, TX 77002

http://hcp1.net

713-991-6881

 

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