Commissioner Lesley Briones Convenes Community Members to Guide Precinct 4 Policy and Projects

29 Jan, 24

Harris County residents, subject matter experts, and Precinct 4 team members met recently to shape the future of Precinct 4 policy.

Commissioner Lesley Briones launched four advisory committees in May 2023, covering high-priority areas: justice and safety, health, infrastructure, and housing and homelessness. Each committee is comprised of a diverse group of subject matter experts who have diligently worked to compile actionable recommendations to improve Precinct 4, which they presented to Commissioner Briones Jan. 22 and 23.

"To better serve the people of Harris County, our policies must reflect the needs of our communities,” Commissioner Lesley Briones said. “I believe in deep, ongoing partnership with our constituents. As my team and I listen and learn about a wide range of issues from both experts and those directly experiencing the challenges, we are determined to implement these recommendations to continue improving outcomes and advancing justice and opportunity for all.”

Below are some of the recommendations the committees proposed at month’s meetings: 

Justice and Safety 

Promote the 988 behavioral health crisis line and address telecommunication barriers to this program among the most vulnerable populations. 

Increase language access in the court system to better serve culturally diverse populations and non-English speakers. 

Decrease violent crime through environmental design and create more non-police responses to crime with robust social, victim, and rehabilitative services for residents. 

“Serving on the Justice & Safety Advisory Committee has created bridges between fellow committee members who have worked for many years to assist with public safety and justice issues,” Natali Hurtado, executive director at Hawes Hill & Associates and chair of the Justice and Safety Advisory Committee, said. “It also brought voices to the table that are not normally heard from - voices that need to be listened to. I believe that is the beauty of [Commissioner Briones’] approach; everyone is entitled to a seat at the table and deserves to be heard.”  


Re-establish a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) point of contact within Harris County. FQHCs provide comprehensive healthcare services to underserved communities.  

Increase the use of telemedicine to connect more residents with healthcare services.  Through innovative ways of delivering care, such as converting areas within houses of worship into clinical spaces, health experts can meet residents where they are in the community. 

Educate families and new mothers on signs and symptoms of depression and available resources when needed. Increase access and availability of screenings for post-partum depression. 

Increase routine food distribution and nutrition counseling alongside complementary services to address food insecurity in Harris County. 

“Commissioner Briones reached very far and wide to get a wide breadth of different viewpoints about how we could – in a very short amount of time – make a difference,” Roberta L. Schwartz, executive vice president and chief innovation officer of Houston Methodist and chair of the Health Committee, said. “It's easy to say, ‘I want to fix the access.’ But, realistically, getting from where we are to a place where we can make improvements is one step at a time. The Commissioner recognizes that, and she brought together people who could create an actionable plan.” 


Flood-risk projects should prioritize the Precinct’s most flood prone, vulnerable areas. 

Enhance parks, recreational areas, and greenspace by preserving natural green areas like fields, forested areas, ponds, etc.  

Recruit staff in platting, permitting, and design, as well as equip current staff with updated technology, software, and training opportunities to increase efficiency.  

“Commissioner Briones’ commitment to taking on these hard issues is commendable,” Alia Vinson, partner at Allen Boone Humphries Robinson LLP, and chair of the Infrastructure Advisory Committee, said. “Infrastructure plays an essential role in the growth and success of Harris County and Precinct 4, and it has been a privilege to chair the Infrastructure Advisory Committee and to work with the dedicated committee members and Precinct 4 staff to bring some of these recommendations to light.”  

Housing and Homelessness 

Expand financial support programs for low-income families and developers working on large tract developments. Concurrently, support essential infrastructure requirements such as roads, drainage, and land subsidies to reduce housing expenses and expedite the development process. 

Find opportunities to partner with the city to increase the number of inspectors who conduct code enforcement inspections. Additionally, educate tenants on rights, resources, and landlord responsibilities to empower renters to report violations. 

Continue to invest in the Community COVID Housing Program as it serves as a strong safety net for those experiencing homelessness and escaping domestic violence. 

“The affordability crisis is real, and families deserve quality housing in the communities of their choice,” Sandra Rodriguez, president of the Gulfton Super Neighborhood Council, and chair of the Housing & Homelessness committee, said. “By working with Harris County Precinct 4’s Commissioner Briones, we are taking a step forward in ensuring we are creating housing, not just in specific neighborhoods, but throughout the county.”