Houston Woman Wire

NEWS HDHHS to receive $1.8 million to help uninsured area residents


The Houston Department of Health and Human Services will receive $1.8 million to help uninsured area residents sign up for health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act.

HDHHS plans to use the federal grant funds to organize about 500 outreach events, produce and distribute promotional materials, set up a call center and visit community sites such as grocery stores, day care centers, businesses and places of worship in neighborhoods with high rates of uninsured people.  

It will also hire about a dozen workers to augment the number of employees trained to help people enroll in health care coverage and use its 11 multi-service centers, four health centers, and 14 Women, Infant and Children (WIC) sites as convenient education and enrollment centers.

Open enrollment for the 2015 plan year begins November 15.

An estimated 1.1 million residents in Houston and Harris County lack health care coverage, representing 19 percent of the uninsured in Texas. Houston’s poverty rate is also high, at 23 percent, compared to 15 percent nationwide. Fifty-three percent of Hispanics in Harris County have no health insurance coverage.

HDHHS will serve again as the lead agency for the Gulf Coast Health Insurance Marketplace Collaborative, a consortium of local organizations it brought together in 2013 to coordinate and facilitate enrollment efforts during the first ACA sign up period.

The collaborative’s strategies helped Houston reach 197,650 enrollments by April 15, surpassing the initial Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services target of 138,000. The agencies, as part of the collaborative, also reached out to more than 500,000 people and visited one-on-one with more than 150,000 residents.

Other collaborative agencies are the Association for Advancement of Mexican Americans, Change Happens, Gateway to Care, Enroll America, Harris County Healthcare Alliance, Harris Health System, Houston Area Urban League, Memorial Hermann Health System, One Voice, SRA International, Texas Organizing Project, Texans Together and Vecino Health Centers.

Last year, HDHHS received a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for the enrollment campaign. 

EVENT Walk Like MADD and MADD Dash set for October 4

Registration for the fourth annual Walk Like MADD & MADD Dash – The Woodlands, presented by Milstead Automotive & Collision, is still open. All walkers simply need to register online.

The Walk Like MADD & MADD Dash – The Woodlands is a family and pet-friendly 5K walk and 5K chipped run at Northshore Park on Saturday, Oct. 4.  In addition to the walk/run, there will also be live entertainment, food and activities for kids, teens and their parents, as well as a Doggie Den for our four-footed friends!

According to Heather Smith, special events manager for MADD Southeast Texas Affiliate, “Drunk driving deaths are the primary cause of death on Texas highways.” All proceeds raised from this event will benefit MADD of southeast Texas and provide critical funding for community outreach programs, law enforcement training and victim support throughout a 10-county area, including Montgomery County.

There are numerous opportunities to get involved for those who want to walk and help, but can’t be there in person.

Smith said, “Supporters can either walk virtually, make a donation or support a participant or team.”

Smith hopes to exceed this year’s goal of raising $50,000.

"We had a great turnout last year and this year we want to take it over the top!" said Amy Milstead. "I'm asking everyone to please register for this event and join me and the Milstead Team to Walk Like MADD."

For more information on sponsorships or to register, visit www.walklikemadd.org/thewoodlands or call Smith at 281-590-2222.


EVENT Spectacular boat parade coming up this Saturday, starts at Allen's Landing


Houston, known to many as the Bayou City, traces its roots to the vast network of waterways that crisscross its urban landscape. And, in celebration of that, Afloat!, the first in a series of parades being presented by the Houston Arts Alliance’s three-month Transported + Renewed project, will be held Saturday, Sept. 13 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

Adventure seekers are invited to join in the spectacular boat procession from Allen’s Landing to Houston’s East End. Afloat! will feature people-powered canoes, kayaks, paddle boats, row boats and dragon boats, alongside a fleet of police and fire department boats and the Mighty Tidy, a boat used by the Buffalo Bayou Partnership to keep the bayou system clean.

Also, spectators should be on the lookout for Whatever Floats, a giant inflatable sculpture by renowned Houston artist Sharon Engelstein, anchored in the water near the finish line. Public viewing locations for Afloat! can be accessed along the 2.2-mile bike trail system on the south side of Buffalo Bayou between Allen’s Landing and York Street.

Boat afficianados can become part of the parade by registering their boat at www.houstonartsalliance.com/transported/afloat/. The registration deadline for Afloat! is Friday, Sept. 12, and space is limited. Particpants are encouraged to embrace their creative sides by decorating their boats and donning costumes. Awards for the “Funkiest Floater” and “Cutest Crew” will be presented at the post-parade party at the finish line, located at 901 York Street.

Transported + Renewed is a bold mix of community-based and contemporary art projects organized by Houston Arts Alliance, in collaboration with local artists and community partners. Between now and November 30, Houston’s East End, the city’s historic transport hub and neighborhood hugging Buffalo Bayou and the Ship Channel, will be infused with a series of concerts, performances, contemporary visual arts installations and more.

Transported + Renewed is made possible in large part by the National Endowment for the Arts’ "Our Town" grant award for creative placemaking, received in fall of 2013 by the Houston Arts Alliance as one of 59 such awards and one of two grants awarded at the highest level nationally. Houston is the only city in Texas to have received the prestigious grant in 2013. Through "Our Town," the NEA supports creative placemaking projects that help transform communities into lively, beautiful and sustainable places with the arts at their core. The grantee projects encourage creative activity, create community identity and a sense of place, and help revitalize local economies.

Transported + Renewed would not be possible without the tremendous support of Buffalo Bayou Partnership. 

NEWS Three Houston artists to be featured in two new exhibitions


The Houston Arts Alliance has announced two September gallery openings featuring three Houston artists: Allison Hunter, Susan Plum and Jonathan Clark in the exhibitions Hunter + Plum and Tracing Towers.

The Hunter + Plum exhibition at the Alliance Gallery explores the intrinsic beauty within nature through these two artists’ unique approaches. Informed by the innate yet often overlooked structures within nature, Hunter and Plum remind the viewer that intelligent systems exist all around us in various degrees, ranging from the behavior and importance of the honeybee to the vein system of a single leaf.

The public is invited to join HAA for the Hunter + Plum opening reception at the Alliance Gallery, 3201 Allen Parkway, on Thursday, Sept. 11, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Hunter + Plum will be on view through Friday, Oct. 31, on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, from 3:30 to 5 p.m. or by appointment.

Tracing Towers at the Houston Public Library, opening September 24, will feature Clark’s playful yet thought provoking new works. This installation includes Clark’s series of “super pencils,” works inspired by his interest in divine proportion. In this series, Clark uses the #2 pencil, an office supply staple, as a small component to create a larger and more exciting whole.

The opening reception for Tracing Towers will be held on the first floor of Houston Public Librar, 500 McKinney, on September 24 from 5 to 6 p.m. Tracing Towers will be on view through November 28 (Mondays through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Sundays from 1 – 5 p.m.)

For more information, please visit www.houstonartsalliance.com/. 

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