Health Department Knocks On Doors In Low Income Houston Neighborhood

The Villa Madrid apartment complex near Beechnut and the West Belt.
Teams from the City of Houston's Health Department are spending the next couple of days in a low-income neighborhood on the city's southwest side. They're part of a unique effort to spread the word about health services that some residents don't even know about.

At the Villa Madrid apartment complex near Beechnut and the West Belt in an area known as the Westwood Super Neighborhood, dozens of employees from the Houston Health Department are knocking on doors, making face-to-face
contact with residents who can't afford traditional health care. They hope to reach more than 7,000 in just two days. Porfirio Villarreal is with the Health Department.

"A lot of times we find people who live here and they do not know what's in their neighborhood, agencies that they can access, services that they can take advantage of because the qualify. And what we're going to do is find their immediate needs."

He says the information the Health Department collects can be valuable as community leaders look for ways to make things better.

"Later we get with the community leaders and help them kind of mobilize them and help them talk to each other, that way they let us know what service is missing and what services need to be here. So it's a constant feedback that we get after we leave."

Celina Garza Ridge was part of the team at the apartment complex.

"It allows us to really put together a document that explains for that specific neighborhood what the statistics are in terms
of demographics, in terms of economics, and it also helps other agencies understand parts of Houston that may need their services."

This is the 9th door-to-door effort over the past couple of years in various low income areas in Houston. A benefits expo is set for Saturday at the Higher Dimension Church on Bissonnet.