COVID-19 Response: H-GAC Operations and Resources

Programs, Meetings, and Events

The Houston-Galveston Area Council is working to help minimize the health impacts of our region. The safety and well-being of our employees, their family members, and the people we serve remains paramount during this rapidly changing event as we continue to provide the utmost service to our region.

H-GAC employees are working remotely and operating under normal business hours with minimal on-site staff. We are available to connect via remote teleconferencing options and other communication platforms to conduct business and maintain services to all the communities we serve. For immediate assistance, view our list of Program Contacts.

Transportation Policy Council (TPC)

Visit the Transportation Policy Council Meeting Agendas page for information on upcoming TPC meetings and how to participate remotely.

Public Involvement

H-GAC is dedicated to being an instrument of local government cooperation, promoting the orderly development of the Gulf Coast region, and preserving the safety and welfare of the 7.2 million citizens who live and work in the 13-county region. Public engagement is critical to ensuring our agency and its representatives are meeting the needs of the communities we serve.

In the wake of COVID-19, H-GAC adopted webinar and teleconferencing technology to ensure the public may continue to participate in our meetings and community events while staying compliant with social distancing guidelines.

We encourage residents to visit the H-GAC calendar online for a list of our upcoming meetings and events. All H-GAC meetings include a dedicated time period either before or during the meeting for members of the public to address the governing body and comment on items being discussed at the meeting.

Several of our committees also provide the opportunity for the community to submit comments prior to a scheduled meeting by phone, email, or mail. Information on how to do this will be communicated along with an agenda and other important materials on the meeting event page.

H-GAC welcomes public feedback and engagement in all forms, and there are several more ways you can engage with us. Visit our Public Involvement page to learn all the ways you can get involved. Help us build stronger communities and shape the future of the region!

Houston-Harris County Emergency Rental Assistance

Residents struggling with rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic are able to apply for assistance from the Houston-Harris County Emergency Rental Assistance Program. Funds from this program will assist recipients with past rent, some future rent, and past utility bills. This program is available to both renters and landlords.

To apply, visit https://houstonharrishelp.org.

Economic Recovery in the Region

The Houston-Galveston Area Council and the Gulf Coast Economic Development District stand ready to assist our 13-county region in pursuing strategies to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit our Helping with Economic Recovery page to see funding opportunities, economic recovery focused webinars, and a list of helpful resources.

The Economic Development Administration is providing $268 million in grant funding to Texas and the surrounding states through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to support job creation and bolster economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Listen to a recording of our webinar on June 18 for an overview of the requirements and criteria projects must meet to qualify for a grant and a walkthrough of the application process. Download the presentation slides at the Economic Development Workshops page.

For specific questions or further assistance, contact Jillian Donatto at jillian.donatto@h-gac.com.

Workforce Solutions

To preserve public health and safety, Workforce Solutions employees remain here to serve you remotely while our offices are temporarily closed to walk-in customers. Connect with us Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. at www.wrksolutions.com or at our toll-free number 1-888-469-JOBS (5627).

For a list of active job openings, see the Jobs Now page. For young people ages 16-24, visit our youth opportunities page or text #getpaid2020 to 40691 to sign up for job alerts and virtual hiring events. Contract tracer jobs are currently available with the City of Houston, Brazoria County, and Galveston County.

If you need help finding quality childcare, visit FindChildCareNow.org. You may qualify for financial aid for childcare from Workforce Solutions.

Texas Workforce Solutions – Vocational Rehabilitation Services remains open to serve our customers. Call 800-625-5115 to connect with a local staff member or click here for more information.

Small Business Resources

Texas businesses affected by COVID-19 may now apply for disaster relief. The Small Business Administration is offering economic injury disaster loans (EIDL) to help small businesses overcome temporary loss of revenue and the Paycheck Protection Program that provides a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on payroll.

The Houston-Galveston Area Loan Development Corporation is offering a bridge loan program for small businesses awaiting COVID-19 disaster relief from the Small Business Administration. Businesses may receive up to $25,000 in immediate funding to help meet payroll, leasing or mortgage dues, utility fees, and other business-related expenses. Any small business located in the 13-county area H-GAC serves – Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Colorado, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Walker, Waller, and Wharton counties – can apply for a bridge loan.

To qualify, the business must have already applied for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) with the Small Business Administration. Businesses can begin paying back the bridge loan as soon as they receive the EIDL. Visit the Houston-Galveston Area Loan Development Corporation for more information.

Research and Data

H-GAC is still hard at work conducting extensive to inform its planning programs and assist local policymakers in decision-making. Visit our Research and Data page for more information. Our data and research are also available to the public through an array of easily accessible online research and mapping tools.

COVID-19 Information for H-GAC Region

H-GAC has created an app to display COVID-19 information for the H-GAC Region including active, recovered, and deceased cases in the region as well as COVID-19 testing sites and information.

View the COVID-19 Information for H-GAC Region App

COVID-19 Regional Traffic Impacts Report

The H-GAC Transportation Department released a report on some of the immediate impacts COVID-19 has had on traffic volumes, patterns, and transit use in the region.

View the COVID-19 Regional Traffic Impacts App

COVID-19 Impacts on Land Use and Mobility

The H-GAC’s Socioeconomic Modeling team released a report analyzing the impacts of COVID-19 on land use and mobility.

Regional Employer Survey: Impacts of COVID-19

H-GAC conducted a survey of worksites in the region and published a report summarizing the impact of COVID on plans for office space, telework, and the commute.

View Regional Employer Survey Report

Teleworking and Meeting Resources

Local Governments: How to Set up a Virtual Workplace

H-GAC events and meetings are being rescheduled or reformatted to a teleconference or webinar setting amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Check our website calendar regularly for the latest updates on event postponements or changes.

As the need for teleworking increases, H-GAC Commute Solutions has launched YourCommuteSolutuion.org to help employers through the logistics of implementing telework programs quickly, provide resources and best practices for employees new to teleworking, and provide resources for residents and businesses in the region seeking more sustainable commute options.

Employers can also receive complimentary travel demand management planning services for telework, compressed work week, and more by joining the Commute Solutions Partners Program.

Our webinar, "Keeping Local Governments Moving: Conducting Business Virtually," covers important topics such as transitioning employees to teleworking with minimal disruption, holding effective meetings online, virtual communications tools, and keeping teams engaged while teleworking. Download the presentation slides and view a replay of the webinar.

Census 2020

Every 10 years, the U.S. Census counts how many people are in our community to decide how much federal funding and representation we should receive. A complete and accurate census count is critical for your community. Census results show where communities need new schools, clinics, roads and other services benefiting families, older adults and children. They help design federal funding for disaster recovery, mental health services, medical benefits programs, education programs, and much more.

Visit our Census 2020 resource page or go to 2020census.gov for more information.

HGACBuy and Cooperative Purchasing

H GAC's Cooperative Purchasing Program, known as HGACBuy, allows local governments and certain non-profits to make purchases, provide purchasing services and other administrative functions appropriately established by another government entity.

As we continue to navigate our current climate, there may be helpful resources for local governments through our cooperative purchasing program. Resources like portable decontamination systems for facilities, vehicles, and equipment; temporary staffing services; defibrillators; and, safety products such as personal protective equipment and rescue supplies.

HGACEnergy Cooperative offers the advantages of a cooperative aggregation to provide reliable, and best-cost power solutions to government entities across the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) regions. Members of HGACEnergy take advantage of a real-time, competitive head-to-head procurement process to select their retail electricity provider.

For more information, visit hgacenergy.com.

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality General Guidance

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has released new COVID-19 guidelines regarding on-site sewage facilities. For more information, visit our On-Site Sewage Facilities web page or visit the TCEQ website.

Older Adults and Individuals with Disabilities

Those looking to connect with resources and services for older persons and individuals with disabilities in the Houston-Galveston region may visit the Area Agency on Aging or the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) pages for more information. The ADRC can also be reached by phone at 1-855-YES-ADRC (937-2372) or locally at 832-681-2635.

Helpful Resources for Businesses and Local Governments

Webinars

Keeping Local Governments Moving: Conducting Business Virtually
Presentation Slides

State Resources

Disaster Loan Assistance - Texas Federal Disaster Loans for Businesses, Private Nonprofits, Homeowners, and Renters
Interactive Map: COVID-19 Texas Case Counts
Texas Department of State Health Services COVID-19 Resource Page