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  • November 17, 2018 8:21 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Your Help Needed:

    Since the closure of the Wheeler encampment on November 2,  HPD and the Coalition for the Homeless continue their outreach efforts to offer social services and housing to the homeless in our area.  They have requested our help in finding those individuals who are now living in scattered pockets throughout the area. 

    If you see individuals who appear to be living on the street and may benefit from this outreach effort, please email the location and a photo if possible to healthandsafety@museumparkna.org.  We will forward the information you provide to HPD and the Coalition for the Homeless.

    Errata:  In the November 13 At Work on Your Behalf, the Houston Chronicle article was incorrectly linked to November 2 article rather than the November 5 article regarding neighborhood reaction to closure.

  • November 13, 2018 10:42 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Closure of the Wheeler Encampment

    As you know the Wheeler Encampment was closed and fenced Friday, November 2.  This closure came after MPNA advocated for more than two years with city officials, the Houston Police Department, the Coalition for the Homeless, and other agencies; work that resulted in a compassionate solution for a complex issue. 

    Achieving this solution has not just been the work of one organization, one agency, or one city department.  Many of you in the neighborhood spoke up, met with officials, sent emails, attended meetings; thank you for your activism, patience, compassion, perseverance, and support of MPNA as together we worked for solutions. 

    MPNA has sent a letter of thanks to Mayor Turner citing individuals who supported our neighborhood unfailingly:  CM Dwight Boykins, Marc Eichenbaum of the Office on Homeless Initiatives, HPD Sergeants Eric Flores and Shannon Farquhar, and Marilyn Brown, President of the Coalition for the Homeless. Thanks also to the Museum Park Super Neighborhood, Houston Southeast Management District, Midtown Management District, and too many more to name.

     Special Thanks

    MPNA extends a special thank-you to the Coalition for the Homeless who worked with the Neighborhood Task Force including MPNA Board members, Barbara McGuffey and Pam Campbell to find solutions. Marilyn Brown acted on the Task Force’s request to identify the Wheeler Encampment as the initial pilot project in the Coalition’s goal to develop a plan to resolve issues of encampments throughout Houston. The Coalition believes that the success of this initiative can now be modified and replicated throughout Houston.

    How We Can Continue To Help

    The Coalition for the Homeless knows that after the re-purposing of the Wheeler encampment for bus parking, former encampment residents may move to other areas of the neighborhood.  You can help by noting the location of someone experiencing homelessness, and e-mailing that information to healthandsafety@museumparkna.org.

    That information will be forwarded to the Coalition in order that Navigators can assist those individuals in finding bridge or even permanent housing. For additional details, please see the Coalition’s November 8 report.

    Update from HPD’s Sergeant Flores (reported by Barbara McGuffey November 7)

    • Sgt. Flores is communicating with the Coalition Navigators in efforts to locate and offer assistance to those who chose not to accept bridge housing November  2.
    • TXDOT is expected to complete fencing under US59/I69 to Almeda. HPD had anticipated it to be completed by November 2 and is following up to get an update.
    • Sgt. Flores met Wed, November 7 with the owner of the vacant lot(s) at the corner of Caroline/Wheeler to address the accumulation of property and individuals on those properties since the Wheeler Encampment closure. The owner has now filed Trespass Affidavits and will be taking other measures within the next two weeks to secure the property.

    Trespassing Affidavits

    If you are concerned about trespassers on your property during your absence, please go by the HPD South Central Station, 2202 St. Emmanuel, to discuss your concerns.   If you decide to give HPD the authority to remove trespassers in your absence, you must have an affidavit on file and post No Trespassing signage on your property.  Attached are forms for residential and business properties. Both pages of the affidavit must be completed.  HPD will assist you and notarize the document.  Please note: you can call HPD at any time to report trespassers on your property and file a complaint to have them removed.

    In the News

    If you didn’t catch the Chronicle’s report on the closure of the Wheeler encampment, be sure to see what they learned when they reached out to get the neighborhood perspective from MPNA VP Barbara McGuffey.  The article also includes input from Marc Eichenbaum and Eva Thibaudeau of the Coalition for the Homeless.

     


     

     

  • November 08, 2018 10:52 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Holocaust Museum Houston (HMH) 2008 Purchase of 1300 Block of Calumet from Caroline to Austin

    MPNA has had ongoing concerns regarding the $572,115 repayment plan for the December 30, 2008 Holocaust Museum of Houston (HMH) purchase of Calumet Right of Way (ROW), abandoning one block of Calumet from Caroline to Austin.

    The MPNA Board has continued to engage with the City and HMH to address our concerns and the City agreed in January 2018 to abandon their initial plans to close the north two lanes of Calumet from Caroline to San Jacinto.

    However, current plans for repayment of $572,115 allow HMH to invest $300,000 within the enclosure of the Museum and use approximately $200,000 to enhance the Clayton Library grounds. (The original amount of $272,115 has been reduced by costs incurred for the initial design plans that will not be utilized.)

    Both MPSN and MPNA continue to ask that the City and HMH revisit current plans in order to provide more investment in the public realm to further the goals of the Livable Centers Study (LCS); however, neither the City of Houston nor HMH have indicated a willingness to pursue any further changes.

    The MPNA Board initially believed these matters could be mutually resolved as we discussed our concerns with CM Boykins, issued a Resolution sent along with a letter to Mayor Turner on December 18, 2017 (see attachments), and continued conversations with the City and HMH to address these issues on behalf of the neighborhood.

    The City has not agreed to our request contained in the Resolution that Council direct a new Ordinance be prepared for funding and development in the public realm of the Museum Park neighborhood, in consultation with the Museum Park Super Neighborhood (MPSN), MPNA board, and Museum Park residents.

    BACKGROUND SUMMARY:

    Below are further details regarding the history of this sale of public right of way by the City to HMH, the actions taken by MPSN/MPNA, and the current status of the repayment plan.

    Sale of this public right of way by the City of Houston in Dec 2008 to the Holocaust Museum Houston (HMH) was valued at $572,115; providing in lieu of immediate payment, that HMH commit to seek federal funding and such funds be deposited within five years into a special City account for the benefit of the Museum and Management District area. (The original plan proposed that the $572,115 would leverage matching federal funds to provide a total of $2 million.)

    At the five-year deadline, when HMH had not acquired the matching grant funds, City Council granted a three-year extension of payment.

    When payment again became due in 2016, City Council approved a very different repayment agreement.  Neither MPSN nor MPNA were notified of the modified repayment agreement at the time, but coincidentally became aware when HMH made a public announcement of its expansion project in June 2017.

    MPNA began to voice objections to the City of Houston regarding the terms of the revised repayment plan, particularly pertaining to funds no longer being required to be deposited in cash into a special City account.

    The revised repayment terms (per 2016 agreement) allowed the original $572,115 to be repaid by:

    • HMH investing $300,000 into its expansion plans to improve the interior landscape by creating the Garden of the Righteous, which is open to HMH members/ticket holders only during the Museum’s hours of operation.
    • Abandoning more public ROW (the two north lanes of Calumet west of Caroline) to extend the grounds of the Clayton Library and make improvements totaling the remaining $272,115, without any compensation to the public for the additional abandoned public right of way.

     

    REFERENCE ATTACHMENTS:

    Letter to Mayor Turner, December 18, 2017

    MPNA Board Resolution, December 12, 2017

    Timeline of Actions: City Council & MPSN/MPNA regarding HMH purchase 1300 Calumet.

    MPNA 9.11.17 At Work on Your Behalf regarding HMH with supporting documents

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • July 05, 2018 12:39 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Wheeler Encampment:  Marilyn Brown, President and CEO of Coalition for the Homeless Houston, www.homelesshouston.org, has provided a recent update regarding Coalition efforts to secure permanent supportive housing for those living in the Wheeler Encampment. Please see here for full report and go to www.thewayhomehouston.org for additional information on best ways to donate/help the homeless in our community. Follow The Way Home Houston FaceBook page for more updates.

    Second Cap Park Public Meeting:  July 17, 6:00 - 7:30pm, Midtown Offices, 410 Pierce Street. Please attend this very important meeting regarding changes that significantly impact Museum Park Neighborhood. This is your opportunity to learn more about the plans for the Cap Parks, which will be installed across US59/I69 as part of the North Houston Highway Improvement Project.  You will see the latest design plans and have an opportunity to share your own ideas. Please attend…this is our future.

    Proposed Community Parking Plan:  Additional meetings to discuss the proposed Community Parking Plan have been scheduled for August. MPNA will provide meeting details as information become available. Please continue to submit any questions, comments, concerns, requests, etc. via email to parking@houstontx.gov.

    Hermann Drive Pedestrian Safety Concerns:  A growing sense of concern for the safety of residents and visitors crossing Hermann Drive has arisen in recent conversations among neighbors, at the spring Quality of Life Committee meeting, and at MPNA Board meetings. As residents of Museum Park, we frequently see/experience incidents along Hermann Drive that should be reported to the City of Houston.  If you want to share your concerns with specific stories, pictures, and street intersections, please do so with a note to city officials, jeffrey.weatherford@houstontx.gov and ian.hlavacek@houstontx.gov.

    Noise issues: If you or a neighbor have concerns regarding noise coming from bars near you, please send an email noting your concerns along with your contact information to info@museumparkna.org. Other Neighborhood Associations from this area have formed a group to address these concerns. Please let us know if you want to get more involved in working with them to find solutions.

    Save the Date: Watch for more details to follow on these events:

    August 2:  HPD’s Back to School Bash

    August 26:  Boone’s Cycles 50th Year Celebration

    September 28:  Museum Park Night at Miller Outdoor Theatre

    October 2:  Museum Park National Night Out

  • June 15, 2018 12:45 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Important Updates from the June 6 MPNA Meeting: 

    Wheeler Encampment.  Marilyn Brown, President and CEO of Coalition for the Homeless Houston (www.homelesshouston.org), presented an update about the Coalition efforts to secure permanent supportive housing for those living in the Wheeler Encampment. Please see link here for full report and go to www.thewayhomehouston.org for additional information on best ways to donate/help the homeless in our community.  Follow The Way Home Houston FaceBook page for more updates.

    311 Presentation.  Isaiah Monroe and Pamela Scott from 311 gave a presentation about the 311 system for reporting and resolving problems noted in our neighborhood. They emphasized that 311 can be used to report almost anything or to simply get information.

    There are four ways to report a problem to 311:

    • Website www.houston311.org where you can submit a problem or check to see what problems have already been reported. Hover over the red dot on the map to see details or status.
    • 311 App:  Download the 311 app for iphone or android and use the app to submit a problem.
    • Call 311 and talk to a 311 operator. Problems can be reported anonymously or you can provide your email address to have the case #/report emailed to you, which will allow you to follow the progress/completion. If you have a question, just call 311 to get an answer!
    • Email 311 with a problem to: 311@houstontx.gov

    Hermann Drive Pedestrian Safety Concerns.  A growing sense of concern for the safety of residents and visitors crossing Hermann Drive has arisen in recent conversations among neighbors, at the spring Quality of Life Committee meeting, and at MPNA Board meetings. As residents of Museum Park, we frequently see/experience incidents along Hermann Drive that should be reported to the City of Houston.  If you want to share your concerns with specific stories, pictures, and any specific street intersection, please do so with a note to city officials listed here.

    Noise issues.  If you or a neighbor have concerns regarding noise coming from bars near you, please send an email noting your concerns along with your contact information to info@museumparkna.org. Other Neighborhood Associations from this area have formed a group to address these concerns. Please let us know if you want to get more involved in working with them to find solutions.

    Save the Date.  More details to follow on these upcoming events: 

    July 10       Cap Park Design, Public Input meeting
    August 2    HPD Back to School Bash
    August 26  Boone’s Cycles 50th Year Celebration
    Sept 28      Museum Park Night at Miller Outdoor Theatre
    Oct 2          Museum Park National Ni


  • May 30, 2018 6:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    City of Houston’s Planning and Development Department is leading a planning effort focusing on the opportunity to create one or more “cap parks” that support surrounding development in lower Midtown in conjunction with TxDOT’s planned reconstruction of I-69.

    We are pleased to invite you (see invitation here) to participate in the first public programming workshop for the proposed new cap park. See the plans give your input at this meeting.

    To see 3D visualization of cap park and North 45 Freeway Improvement Project, see here.



  • May 07, 2018 5:31 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The following information was presented at the May 2 MPNA Meeting.

    Mayor Turner responded to MPNA’s April letter requesting that the city continue to enforce the March, 2017 ordinances, which address the issues at the Wheeler encampment.  Please see the Mayor's response.

    Marilyn Brown, President and CEO of the Coalition for the Homeless, provided an update on their efforts at the Wheeler encampment. These efforts include on-site placement of personnel to assist eligible clients to transition into permanent supportive housing; convening an advocacy workgroup of 20+ agencies involved in The Way Home; and creating a public education campaign to provide progress updates for our neighborhood and to educate individuals and groups who think they are helping but whose charitable actions actually do more harm than good. See her complete report here.

    The Green Team is a new MPNA initiative to engage the community through volunteer efforts that will make for a cleaner, neater, more beautiful neighborhood.  Led by Cynthia Tang and Jill Miller the Green Team will take on a variety of projects detailed here.  

    Parking Management will host two additional meetings this month to present the Community Parking Program scheduled to begin in Museum Park later this year. 

    • May 15, 6:00 p.m., Judson Robinson Jr. Community Center, 2020 Hermann Drive, and
    • May 16, 11:00 a.m., Clayton Library Carriage House, 5300 Caroline Street.
    At these meetings you will have the opportunity to see the proposed Community Parking Program for Museum Park, ask questions, and make comments.

    Parking Management's  April 18 meeting presentation is available here.  In summary, current Community Parking Plan (CPP) includes:

    • Phase 1 of the CPP calls for new meters to be installed along Jackson Street, south of Binz; streets around Asia Society and its parking lot; and around the Surgical Center on La Branch.  (Please view map on above website for complete locations).
    • In Phase 2, Time Limited Parking areas will be identified based on parking patterns emerging after stallation of meters.  (Please view map to potential Time Limited Parking areas).
    • Residents will be able to purchase 3 annual parking permits at $28.50/hang tag to exempt either the meters or time-limited areas.
    •  Phase 3 will address parking issues on residential streets just east and just west of Almeda at a date not yet determined.

     Among Possible Impacts:

    • Installation of new meters may result in additional parking pressure on un-metered streets.
    • New signage will be installed throughout the neighborhood:  additional meters, ‘no parking’ signs, ‘time-limited’ signs.
    • Narrower streets without curbing may be labeled with ‘No Parking’ signs rather than the continued use of rocks to block parking.
    • If parking pressure increases over time other streets may be subject to meters or time-limited parking at a later date.
    • Increased parking pressure throughout the neighborhood may create conflicts with residential trash days.

    Revenue Possibility:

    The community can request an ordinance establishing a Museum Park Parking Benefit District, although there is no assurance such a district will be implemented. Such a district could eventually result in funds coming back to Museum Park.

    Detailed Questions with Answers from parking Management are available for your review. 

  • April 10, 2018 10:09 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    at work on your behalf

    The following information was presented at the April 4 MPNA Meeting.

    In our continuing efforts to keep neighborhood concerns regarding the Wheeler encampment before the Mayor and his staff, MPNA submitted a letter to Mayor Turner, with a copy to our CM Dwight Boykins, Tuesday, April 3 thanking the city for their clean up and enforcement efforts. Please see the attached letter.

    MPNA contacted Marc Eichenbaum, in the Mayor’s Office on Homeless Initiatives, for information regarding current efforts by the city.  He shared the following:

    • Mayor Turner and his staff continue to work toward opening additional lower barrier shelters.  
    • The Mayor's Office on Homeless Initiatives is seeking funds to open a lower barrier shelter as soon as possible.
    • Mayor Turner plans to re-purpose the area beneath SH 59.
    • HPD will continue to enforce removal of excess property under 59 on a regular basis.  Police officers will enforce, but additional city staff and vehicles are required to bag and tag goods that will be removed to storage for individuals to claim at a later time. 
    • During the most recent clean up (March 23) and excess property enforcement (March 30), 80 bags of belongings were put into storage and nine tons of debris were removed from the area.

    MPNA also requested an update and perspective on the Wheeler Encampment from Marilyn L. Brown, President and CEO of the Coalition for the Homeless of Houston/Harris County, homelesshouston.org.  She provided this overview:

    The Coalition for the Homeless knows that permanent housing programs combined with supportive services is the answer to homelessness. The Way Home has housed more than 12,000 homeless individuals since 2012 with incredibly high rates of retention. The Coalition for the Homeless agrees that encampments are NOT acceptable, suitable living environments for the safety and health of homeless individuals NOR for those living in the neighborhoods near them.

    In conjunction with the City of Houston's most recent cleanup, partners of The Way Home provided outreach and engagement to those living at the Wheeler encampment.  Here's what we found:  60% of the individuals living in the encampment were found to be chronically homeless and qualify for The Way Home's Permanent Supportive Housing programs.  Most of these have had more than one housing assessment.  This is why:  

    • The process from assessment to move-in involves several steps including obtaining identification, completing paperwork, verifying eligibility for Permanent Supportive Housing, finding a safe, affordable unit, and being accepted by the property.
    • This process is time consuming and can be overwhelming to the homeless individual.  This means we often lose them in the middle of the process and have to start over.
    • Background checks are also barriers to housing for chronically homeless individuals, leading to longer amounts of time and multiple attempts between applying and moving into housing.  This speaks to the complexities of working with this population.
    We know the solution is Permanent Supportive Housing but we acknowledge that the path to get there can take time.  We don't want people to languish in an encampment while they are working to get into Housing.  The Coalition supports the creation of some type of "bridge" shelter that would be appealing to homeless clients living in encampments, and give them a safe place to stay that is not an encampment while they work through the housing process.

    Consider making a difference by contributing to www.meaningfulchange.org where your dollars will go toward providing permanent housing programs with supportive services.




     at a

    (c) 2018 Museum Park Neighborhood Association

    Contact email:  info@museumparkna.org

  • April 03, 2018 12:55 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    For the latest information regarding the closure of the Southmore Bridge at SH 288, see below or check out TXDoT's Drive 288 website here. For a map of detours see the attached document.

    Continuously, from 4/20/18 at 9pm – 2/8/19 at 5am
    All Eastbound and Westbound lanes of Southmore Blvd will be closed at SH 288.

     Detour for Eastbound traffic: Take SH 288 Southbound Frontage Road to Calumet St. U-Turn at Calumet St to SH 288 Northbound Frontage Road.

    Detour for Westbound traffic: Take SH 288 Northbound Frontage Road to Blodgett St. U-Turn at Blodgett St to SH 288 Southbound Frontage Road.

    Continuously, from 4/20/18 at 9pm – 4/23/18 at 5am

    All Northbound and Southbound lanes of SH 288 will be closed at Southmore Blvd.

    Detour for Northbound traffic: Take Southmore Blvd exit, continue towards Blodgett St. U-Turn at Blodgett St to SH 288 Northbound Frontage Road.

    Detour for Southbound traffic: Take Southmore Blvd exit, continue towards Binz St. U-Turn at Binz St to SH 288 Southbound Frontage Road.

  • March 30, 2018 7:46 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Houston Police Department is today, March 30, beginning strategic implementation of ordinances passed by City Council in 2017 to address camping on public property. 

    The first step of implementation includes removing excess property beneath US59.  Those living under US59 can keep with them one tent, one working bicycle, any necessary medical equipment, and personal items that can be stored in a 3x3x3 container.   Uncontaminated personal belongings (contamination must be documented by the Health Department) can be stored in lockers provided by the City of Houston.

    According to Marc Eichenbaum of the Mayor's Homeless Initiative Office, today's effort is led by HPD and includes various city departments:  HPD's Differential Response Team, HPD's Homeless Outreach Team, and officers from the South Central Division, all of whom have been working under US59 for many months.  Also assisting in this enforcement step are the City of Houston's Health Department, General Service's Department, Parks Department, and Midtown Management District.
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The Museum Park Neighborhood Association is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in Houston Texas.