A lifeguard teaching children how to swim at a Houston pool.
A lifeguard teaching children how to swim at a Houston pool. Houston’s Parks and Rec Department says they hope to fill at least 200 positions in order to open all of its pools for 2023.

Houston hopes to fill at least 200 lifeguard positions

After closing multiple pools due to a lifeguard shortage last summer, Houston’s Parks and Recreation Department said they are more prepared this year with the 2023 swimming season coming up. Currently, the city has over 950 lifeguard recruits, nearly triple last year’s 345 recruits. Although the city has not officially hired any lifeguards yet, officials say they need to hire at least 200 to open up all of its aquatic facilities. Thomas Angelos with the parks and recreation department said things are much better this year because schools are allowing them to recruit on campus. He added that this time last year, the city only had 25 people complete its classroom training. As of the end of last week, 44 have. They still need 156 candidates. Last season, pools were opened on an alternating basis on alternating days. The parks and recreation department currently oversees 38 aquatic facilities, and according to its website, 24 are currently closed.

Water rates in Houston to increase by 15%

nighttime view of the East Water Purification Plant
The East Water Purification Plant after a boil water notice was issued for the entire city of Houston, Nov. 28, 2022, in Houston. Credit: Mark Mulligan/Houston Chronicle via AP

The city’s water infrastructure issues had been ignored for years as the city undercharged for water, according to city officials. As a result, necessary replacement and repairs have continued to add up. That’s why Houston Public Works announced that water rates would increase by 15%. In part, the increase accounts for inflation, which has almost doubled since last year’s water rates were determined. However, officials say the increase is largely because rates have been too low over the past few years to make necessary improvements. The department announced a 9.2% increase, comprising an inflationary index of 8.2% and a 1% increase in correspondence with a 1% population increase. This is in addition to an increase of around 6% to address water infrastructure problems in the city. The increase, which goes into effect this month, will go toward measures like replacing old pipes, putting in new wells and improving water and wastewater treatment plants.

Need $17.5K to buy a home? Check this out

Many prospective homebuyers can afford monthly mortgage payments, but the upfront costs may make homeownership seem out of reach. In fact, more than two-thirds of renters surveyed by the Urban Institute indicated that affording the down payment was a barrier to becoming a homeowner. While Bank of America already offers closing cost grants locally, the bank is now bringing its Down Payment Grant to Houston as of March 2023. When the two grant programs are used together, eligible Houston homebuyers may have access to up to $17,500 in grants to put toward down payment and closing costs, which do not need to be repaid. This grant program is part of the Bank of America Community Homeownership Commitment®, which is designed to help low- to moderate-income homebuyers begin to build their personal wealth and family legacy through homeownership. In celebration of Houston Money Week, April 15-22, Bank of America, in partnership with Family Houston, will host its next homebuyer workshop at 11am on April 15 at Depelchin Children’s Center.

Boys’ Empowerment and Leadership Summit, April 22

Flyer promoting the Annual Boys' Empowerment and Leadership Summit

Spring ISD’s Family and Community Engagement Department is hosting its annual Boys’ Empowerment and Leadership Youth Summit on Saturday, April 22. The Boys’ Empowerment and Leadership Summit will address social, emotional and academic needs. The summit will feature conversations about self-esteem, friendships and relationships, as well as college and career advice and etiquette. There will also be entertainment, giveaways, food and more.

The event is free for all Spring ISD middle and high school students, though registration is required. The event will occur at Dekaney High School, 22351 Imperial Valley Drive, 77073, on Saturday, April 22, from 7:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Interested students can register online or call (281) 891-6060 with questions.