Talking Transition shows Residents’ Concerns: Distrust of criminal justice system, lack of information, and geographic and socioeconomic divides.
Harris County, TX, June 19, 2019 – Today, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo released results from Talking Transition, a community-wide survey launched after she took office in January. Over 11,000 people participated in the survey, which was conducted in five languages, and available online and in person.
The survey is one of many approaches Judge Hidalgo’s office is using to inform decision-makers about the issues that matter most to Harris County residents. The following are some of the key survey findings:
• Many Harris County respondents reported a lack of information on county government, including its composition and functions;
• Nearly half of respondents have a negative perception of the criminal justice system;
• Regardless of where they live, 44% of respondents reported feeling increasingly unsafe against future natural disasters;
• 24% of Harris County respondents reported that their air and water quality is “terrible,” and a third of respondents estimated that overall quality is declining;
• A quarter of respondents reported that public transportation options are getting worse – this was especially prevalent in areas not served by METRO;
• One-third of respondents say they have had trouble paying for affordable housing in the last year, with many also saying they were affected by Harvey;
• 36% of respondents living in eastern and southern parts of Harris County reported having difficulty finding quality jobs to support their families.
“Whether it’s a concern about the air we breathe, the water we drink, our safety during a flood, or the opportunity to provide for our families, every Harris County resident has a voice, and we are committed to listening and taking action,” Judge Hidalgo said. “Based on residents’ feedback, we’ve already taken concrete steps and will continue to push for changes as part of an inclusive process that will make Harris County government work for everyone, regardless of zip code.”
The County Judge’s Office is implementing a new 311 system that will allow residents county-wide to access services and streamlined information. Additionally, Judge Hidalgo recently launched Harris Thrives, an interactive website to help residents track how recovery dollars are being spent. Both projects aim to make information more accessible and connect residents to county government services.