Today, Mayor Sylvester Turner announced the launch of the much-anticipated Complete Communities Initiative. Complete Communities is a pilot program designed to revitalize Houston’s under-resourced communities in partnership with existing neighborhood residents. The initiative will work toward creating sustainable, “complete” neighborhoods that are safe, affordable, economically viable, and that have access to quality education, affordable housing, transportation options, green spaces, healthy food options, economic opportunity, and well-maintained infrastructure.
In order to achieve sustainable, comprehensive community results that also safeguard against widespread gentrification, the City must embrace a nuanced approach, and work alongside community partners and neighborhoods to specifically identify what will make their respective neighborhoods “complete,” and implement that vision.
The Complete Communities Initiative will commence with the following five (5) pilot communities:
1. Acres Homes
3. Second Ward
4. Near Northside
5. Third Ward
In the case of Acres Homes, Gulfton, and Second Ward, the City will lead the local community planning efforts in those communities. For the Near Northside and Third Ward, the City will support the existing planning efforts of local community-based organizations. It is important to note that although Complete Communities will begin with five neighborhoods, the City’s commitment does not end there. This first phase of the initiative sets Houston on a path to address the ever-increasing gap between the “haves” and the “have nots” in Houston. At a future date, the Mayor will add other under-resourced communities to the Complete Communities Initiative.
The City will lead a community engagement process for Acres Homes, Gulfton and Second Ward to create local community plans that encapsulate how to make those respective neighborhoods “complete” communities. The local community plans will be tailored to each respective community. Partners with extensive experience in community-building will assist and enable residents to identify short-term and long-term projects to be implemented in their neighborhoods. The City will also collaborate with the Complete Community Advisory Committee, comprised of community-building stakeholders across Houston, during this process. In order to both develop and implement these local community plans, the City will explore public-private partnerships and private investment in these projects, where appropriate, to help build local capacity and to promote sustainability. The goal of creating and implementing these local community plans is to enable Houstonians in various places across Houston to have the opportunity to thrive where they are.
“With the Complete Communities Initiative, we are not simply imposing programs on under-resourced neighborhoods; rather, we are seeking to collaborate with these communities to create and implement a shared community vision that empowers that community for the long-term.” Council Member Edwards stated. Edwards adds, “I commend Mayor Turner for including the Complete Communities Initiative among his top priorities, and look forward to working with Mayor Turner and my colleagues on City Council to help move all of Houston forward.”