Economic Opportunity

To ensure that Harris County continues to thrive economically, we must ensure that all of our residents enjoy equal access to the economic opportunities available to them. Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo has made it a priority to invest in nurturing small and minority-owned businesses to level the playing field and give everyone a fair shot at the American Dream.

Key Accomplishments

  • Created a new, stand-alone Office of Economic Opportunity. The department will work across government departments to advance the long-term workforce and economic growth of our region and address the growing problem of income inequality. As part of this effort, the County has commissioned the first-ever study to advise how to better support minority owned Minority/Women-owned business enterprises.
  • Published report on contracting disparities in Harris County that showed profound disadvantages in county contracting for minority and women-owned firms. Economic Opportunity Department being created in part to address those issues.
  • Authorized only African American-owned bank in Texas for Harris County funds management. Until now, the Harris County banking process did not have any MWBE participation.
  • Approved a $13.6 million agreement with Volunteers of America Texas, Inc. and Wesley Community Center, Inc. to provide training to Hire Up Harris Workforce Program participants.
  • Providing $31.6 million in training to unemployed and underemployed veterans and young adults through specialized apprenticeship and retraining programs for careers in high-growth industries like cybersecurity, IT support, construction, nursing, and more.
  • Allocated $15 million to the Affordable Housing Portfolio Single Family Acquisition Program to help between 80 and 100 low-income Harris County families gain access to newly-constructed, safe and affordable housing. 
  • Invested $7.2 million in the Knowles-Rowland House Project, creating 31 new permanent supportive housing units for people experiencing homelessness.
  • Created Uplift Harris, a guaranteed income pilot program to provide direct $500 monthly cash payments in fixed amounts to qualifying recipients.