As Mayor Annise Parker’s final term in office comes to a close, a retrospective look at her leadership and accomplishments casts light on an impressive legacy, a full spectrum of executive actions and sustainable initiatives focused on jobs and economic development, infrastructure, public safety, quality of life and fiscal responsibility.
An integral part of Mayor Parker’s legacy is the Department of Neighborhoods. The mayor established the department in August, 2011, charged with revitalizing neighborhoods and improving quality of life for Houston residents. Structured as a “one stop” for residents, the new department combined city operations encompassing neighborhood code enforcement, citizen outreach and assistance, resident engagement in volunteer public service and programs directed to at-risk youth, students, people with disabilities and international communities.
Over the four years of its existence, the department has evolved into an effective mechanism for cleaning neighborhoods and serving residents, working in collaboration with other city departmental, City Council offices, community partners and residents. The department has played a central role in the institution of important initiatives spearheaded by Mayor Parker, including iSpeak, the city’s language access solution, the fight against human trafficking, the annual Back 2 School Fest benefiting thousands of students and families each year, the celebration of the city’s rich cultural diversity as a vital resource and the promotion of equal access and inclusiveness for all Houstonians.
As we near the end of 2015, DON is on target, recently meeting all City of Houston performance measures. The department is poised to reach for higher levels of excellence of service to the community in 2016 as it continues to make a concerted effort to demolish dangerous buildings, eradicate blight and provide human services. Looking ahead, the department will be enrolling residents in the Neighborhood Academy, DON’s newest initiative.
Watch this HTV special feature, "City of Houston Department of Neighborhoods: Improving Quality of Life,” which explores how the Department of Neighborhoods is working with residents and community partners to make our neighborhoods cleaner, safer and a good place to call home.