Everyone in our community deserves quality and accessible healthcare. Recognizing the need to have essential healthcare services centrally located to better serve the public, Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis on Tuesday received Commissioners Court’s approval to relocate Harris County Public Health to the historic Riverside Hospital, which is being renovated in Third Ward.

In addition to Public Health, the plan also calls for the Harris Center, Lone Star Circle of Care and Harris Health System to move operations to Riverside Hospital at 3204 Ennis Street.

“These health care organizations will work together at the site to provide much needed primary and specialty care to the Third Ward community and to the residents of Harris County,” Commissioner Ellis said. “This plan will afford Public Health adequate space to operate at the historic Riverside site.”

In 2018, the Houston Endowment provided the county a $5.3M grant to purchase the Riverside Hospital, which opened in 1927 as the Houston Negro Hospital. The dedication of the Houston Negro Hospital was held on Juneteenth, June 19, 1926. In 2018, the State of Qatar donated $2.5M to the county for the Riverside project as a part of the Middle Eastern nation’s $30M fund to help Texas recover from Hurricane Harvey.

Dedication of the Houston Negro Hospital dedication, June 19, 1926 (Courtesy of Special Collections, M. D. Anderson Library, University of Houston)

The Houston Endowment has committed to raise additional funds to assist with construction.

“This move will allow Public Health to be better situated within the community, within three miles of our award-winning hospital district, and with a substantial reduction in facilities maintenance costs due to the construction of new facilities at Riverside,” Commissioner Ellis said. “It also will provide a unique opportunity for the department to more easily coordinate with other healthcare entities on the campus so they can give much-needed services in the Third Ward community and Harris County.”