Last week, local business leaders, community leaders, and school officials gathered virtually for Partnership Lake Houston’s Atascocita BizCom to share updates about developments affecting the business community. The speakers discussed local projects, school enrollment rates, and more.
The Atascocita BizCom began with a color guard presentation from the Eagle Springs Elementary Boy Scouts Troop #926 and a beautiful performance from the Atascocita choir.
Following the performance, school officials gave updates on things happening within Humble ISD. Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Fagen gave an overview of the latest COVID-19 cases, plans for free and reduced lunches, and school enrollment rates in the context of the pandemic. Bill Daniels spoke about Atascocita high school’s much-needed renovations and how these renovations will benefit the students.
Next, CEO & President of Partnership Lake Houston, Jenna Armstrong, talked about the history that led to the merger and how that change would positively affect the organization’s future. Armstrong spoke about the purpose of the partnership and the additional benefits local businesses will receive because of the merger. She went over the specific roles of both the Chamber and EDP and their combined strengths. Operationally, they share staff, office space, and member investors. In terms of strategic direction, they assist and grow businesses and aim to create a positive pro-business environment. Partnership Lake Houston will continue to provide the same services as before but will now operate as one. This will allow them to strengthen their region with one voice and one message.
Non-Profit Alliance representative, Millie Garrison, talked about how hard non-profits are working to help those affected by hunger and homelessness within the Lake Houston Area community. About 455,000 pounds of food have been distributed via food pantries, food fairs, and mobile units. The Non-Profit Alliance has fed 38,000 individuals throughout this pandemic. Additionally, Meals on Wheels has provided around 27,000 meals to seniors within the community and they have aided 50 individuals in the unsheltered community. Their focus is homelessness prevention, and they were able to provide $1.1 million in assistance to 7,752 individuals.
Captain Vicente Medina from Harris County Precinct 4 addressed safety concerns within the community. During the holiday season, they will begin increasing patrol car presence. Additionally, they created a New Year’s DWI task force to combat drunk driving. He advised small businesses to stay alert and call immediately if they notice a person being suspicious.
Lastly, Mark Mitchell, CEDO of Partnership Lake Houston, spoke about the recently conducted COVID-19 survey and what its results mean for the Lake Houston Area. The survey was part of a partnership with Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and 16 other communities across the state, designed to evaluate how businesses across Texas were doing three months after the state reopened. The results of the COVID-19 survey showed the resiliency of the Lake Houston Area. Key takeaways shared were: the Lake Houston area (LHA) did better in terms of mask-wearing from employees and customers, though suffered a few percentage points in terms of temperature checks; 40% of companies had no change in their workforce, the average stimulus disbursement to LHA business was only 42,000, and that represented $8,000 less than the Texas average. The LHA businesses have shown resiliency throughout 2020 and we should feel positive about where we are. Click here to see the full survey report.