Assessment of Climate Action Plans


Climate Action Plans (CAPs) are strategic documents that outline a collection of measures and policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and are often based on local priorities for reducing emissions. This memo outlines best practices for developing Climate Action Plans; features four jurisdictions that illustrate key components of the best practices; and proposes next steps for the development of a countywide Climate Action Plan in Harris County.

Analysis of Withdrawing from the Houston-Galveston Area Council


Councils of Government (COGs) are coordinating bodies that seek to address the need for comprehensive, coordinated program planning at the regional level. This memo assesses the potential benefits and disadvantages of Harris County withdrawing from its regional COG, the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC). This analysis includes a summary of the composition of the governing body and representation, voting practices of the governing body, the general assembly and committees, and the annual membership fee of H-GAC and four other councils of government (COGs) in Texas.

COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution, January 2021


This memo is the first of a monthly series that provides an overview of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Harris County. This memo includes data for vaccine doses distributed by all providers in Harris County with doses administered presented by recipient age, gender, race and ethnicity, and zip code, from the start of local distribution on December 14, 2020 through January 31, 2021.

Homicide-Related Deaths by Location, 2015-2020


This memo includes data on homicide-related deaths in Harris County by location for five years, from 2015 through 2020. This memo was produced in collaboration with the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences and the County Justice Administration Department and is a follow-up to the previously published memo on homicide charges and homicide-related deaths.

Percent for Art Comparative Analysis


Jurisdictions participate in capital budgeting to fund long-term fixed assets, like buildings, equipment, and land. Percent for Art policies allow jurisdictions to set aside a specific percent of capital funds for public artwork with the intention of making public spaces more appealing, useful, or accessible. This memo provides both an overview of best practices for Percent for Art policies and an overview of several cities and counties across the United States with existing Percent for Art policies. 

Annual Rates for Homicide Charges and Homicide-Related Deaths


This memo includes the rate of homicide deaths in Harris County, produced in collaboration with the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences, as well as reported rates of homicide charges in Harris County, produced in collaboration with the Harris County Justice Administration Department, for the five-year period between 2015 and 2020.

County Social Services-Public Safety-County Services Spending Comparison


This analysis compares public spending in the areas of social services, public safety, and county services from FY2010 to FY2018 across five Texas jurisdictions: Bexar County, Dallas County, Harris County, Tarrant County, and Travis County. For most counties, Public Safety was the greatest category of spending. For the eight-year period analyzed, Harris County spent more on Public Safety (44%) than any other category—three times the amount spent on Social Services (13%). An analysis featuring jurisdictions outside of Texas is forthcoming.

Total Annual Deaths in Harris County and the City of Houston


This analysis reports total annual deaths in the City of Houston and Harris County from January 2015 through October 2020 by age, race, and ethnicity.  The City of Houston and Harris County reported a greater number (29%) of overall deaths between April 2020 – July 2020 (11,731) than the same months in 2019 (9,088). Note: This memo does not include reference to cause of death, and the memo does not include any conclusions from the data. Age, race, and ethnicity data are only available for the City of Houston due to data limitations.

Assessment of Racial and Gender Equity Impact Assessments


Equity impact assessments are tools policymakers use to identify risk areas where implicit biases may affect behaviors and judgments towards individuals or groups based on race, ethnicity, gender, or ability, and to create policies that are mindful of those risks. This memo includes four case studies of government jurisdictions across the United States which have utilized equity impact assessments, provides a summary of common practices for creating such assessments, and outlines four policy options the Commissioners Court may consider for utilizing equity impact assessments in the county.

Cost Estimate of Harris County Services for an Individual Experiencing Homelessness


Costs for services provided to individuals experiencing homelessness vary widely depending upon the root cause of homelessness and the service response needed. Root causes such as job loss, natural disaster, mental illness, or substance or alcohol addiction often require individuals to draw upon multiple County services. This report estimates the total annual average costs per person incurred to Harris County for services provided to individuals experiencing homelessness.

Zero Based Budgeting Analysis


This report provides an overview of Zero Based Budgeting (ZBB) - a method of budgeting that compels budgeting entities to create budgets starting from zero and provide justifications for each expenditure for consideration by decision-makers. This report highlights four case studies that demonstrate how local governments have applied variations of ZBB and includes three policy options for Harris County Commissioners Court to consider.

Law Enforcement and First Responder Response to Mental Health and Substance Abuse Calls for Service


The Commissioners Court requested the Analyst's Office, in partnership with the Justice Administration Department, analyze the feasibility and cost of creating a new county-level program to route 9-1-1 calls for mental health and substance abuse to a non-law enforcement crisis response team. This abridged version of the study includes a background of the existing 9-1-1 responses, agencies, and programs involved with substance abuse and mental health response in Harris County. The final report, led by the Justice Administration Department, is forthcoming.

Disproportionate Impact of COVID-19 on Low-Income and Minority Households


Prior to outbreak of the novel coronavirus low-income and minority communities experienced disproportionate health outcomes such as reduced access to health insurance, reduced access to financial support, increased prevalence of illnesses like diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure—and the current outbreak is compounding existing disadvantages and the social statuses are not distinct. This memo outlines strategies policymakers can adopt to mitigate these impacts.

Inventory of Active COVID-19 Relief Funds Across the US, Review of Best Practices for Relief Funds, and Estimate of the Impact of Proposed Harris County Fund


The economic fallout related to COVID-19 impacts many Harris County residents and businesses. This memo provides an overview of then-emerging COVID-19 economic relief funds in jurisdictions across the country and offers best practices for establishing a local relief fund. This memo also provides a review of the economic outlook in Harris County as a result of the pandemic, current relief efforts underway, and estimates of the impact of a proposed $15 million Harris County Relief Fund.

Inventory of Policies Implemented in Jurisdictions Across the United States to Address the Developing Novel Coronavirus Outbreak


The rapid spread of COVID-19 prompted many jurisdictions to enact local policies to prevent transmission of the disease. This memo provides a summary of CDC guidelines and a review of reported advisories, policies, and strategies implemented by other jurisdictions in response to COVID-19.