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Mayor’s Office environment Press Release

Mayor Turner Launches the Bethune Empowerment Centre Revitalization Venture and Announces Communities for Greater Health and fitness as its 1st Tenant

Bethune Empowerment Center Photo 1

August 10, 2021 — On Saturday, August 7, Mayor Sylvester Turner introduced the official launch of the Bethune Empowerment Center in Acres Residence and its to start with tenant, Communities for Improved Overall health.

This 8-acre tract of land earlier served as the Bethune Academy Elementary University and will now be repurposed as a business incubator and vocational entity for the Acres House community. The Bethune Empowerment Centre will provide Houstonians with obtain to quality services and amenities, like career instruction, apprenticeships, talent-making products and services, small small business methods, co-working spaces, and business incubators.

The strategy for the Bethune Empowerment Middle originated from the Acres Home Complete Group Action Prepare (.pdf), where by the Acres Dwelling neighborhood strongly indicated the have to have to repurpose and revitalize the Bethune Academy.

The Entire Communities Initiative, launched by Mayor Turner in April 2017, is focused on increasing neighborhoods that have historically been underserved and underneath-resourced. The initiative’s aim is to progress fairness and draw in investments in the communities even though making sure that present people can keep on being in economical households.

“The Acres Household local community has spoken, and we have listened,” Mayor Turner claimed. “The function for this centre is just starting, and the foreseeable future additions will condition the Bethune Empowerment Heart into a beacon of equitable financial progress and enhanced general public wellbeing.”

The facility secured over $4.5 million for renovations. In February 2021, the Metropolis Council allocated a $4.1 million group development block grant (CDBG) to rehabilitate the 1st stage of construction and approved Houston Business Progress, Inc (HBDI) to renovate, work, and handle the Bethune Empowerment Middle.

“Projects like the Bethune Empowerment Centre embody our mission at Houston Business Advancement, Inc.,” mentioned HBDI President Marlon Mitchell. “We goal to foster financial development in Houston, and the amenities to come at the Bethune Empowerment Centre will offer methods for Acres Residence companies and person gurus to develop and prosper.”

Mayor Turner also introduced a $500,000 donation from Reliant Electrical power to support the Bethune Empowerment Centre and its initial tenant, Communities for Better Health (CFBH). Communities for Improved Health.

“At Reliant, we are dedicated to powering adjust in the communities the place we stay and operate by supporting impactful assignments like Bethune Empowerment Centre,” stated Elizabeth Killinger, president of Reliant. “By tapping the strengths of our group users, nonprofits, corporations, and philanthropic companions, together, we can develop a stronger and extra resilient metropolis for upcoming generations.”

Bethune Empowerment Center Photo 2

Communities for Better Health will also acquire funding from Amerigroup to make a Supplemental Diet Aid Software (SNAP) double-up software that will empower SNAP-eligible family members to double their advantages and assistance the community neighborhood farm.

The Supplemental Diet Assistance Program (SNAP) delivers money guidance to qualified minimal-profits men and women and families to purchase foods. Less than the SNAP Double Up Bucks system, CFBH will match $30 of SNAP buys expended on fruits and veggies. This system encourages residents to invest in domestically grown farm-fresh new make and supplies foods accessibility to the Bethune Empowerment Center’s group yard.

“This essential new resource will make create significantly extra available to the folks of Acres Dwelling,” Mayor Turner claimed. “It will support folks stay much healthier life, assist nearby business enterprise owners, and improve the community.”

“Much better health and fitness is about so significantly much more than overall health care,” reported Greg Thompson, President and CEO of Amerigroup Texas, one particular of the state’s primary Medicaid administrators. “We want to aid our members get balanced, keep nutritious, and love the day-to-working day well being that lets them stay their lives.”

CFBH will host cooking demonstrations, monthly gardening classes, and the Black Farmer Box community-supported agriculture (CSA) software in partnership with Ivy Leaf Farms and Refreshing Everyday living Organics (FLO), a multi-acre farm, and land administration consulting business in Houston.

“This community does not consider nutritious food for granted,” claimed Kristin Bennett, founder and CEO of Communities for Improved Wellness. “Means like this group backyard garden and farmer’s market give persons an vital outlet for the food stuff and functions they want to aid their people continue to be balanced.”

“Improve can be difficult, but often it can lead to great transformation – to one thing beneficial and fruitful – anything that will be a source for the Acres Home Local community. It is wonderful that though Bethune no lengthier serves as a faculty building, it will be capable to rather pretty much put down new roots in this group and uplift it.”

The Bethune Empowerment Center will consist of ten properties renovated in three phases. Section 1, comprising somewhere around 29,000 square ft, consists of the renovation of the cafeteria constructing into a professional kitchen area and celebration space that enables for business enhancement, agricultural instruction, certification, and other culinary arts programming.

The remainder of Period 1 will include a community back garden and several workspaces, together with for-lease offices, conference rooms, administrative business room, breakroom places, collaborative working spaces, and support/circulation spaces.

Building for Phase 1 will be comprehensive by the stop of 2021. Stage 2 and 3 will incorporate further offices for the business enterprise incubators, lecture rooms, early childhood daycare/after-university treatment, and meeting rooms.

The Bethune Empowerment Center Sowing Seeds neighborhood backyard officially opened at the local community celebration on Saturday and will provide gardening education and learning and fresh new deliver solutions for the neighborhood through pop-up outlets. The community backyard will also be the new place for the Acres Households Farmers Marketplace. The Acres Property Farmer’s Industry is hosted bi-weekly at the Bethune Empowerment Heart facility on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

“Acres House is a wonderful group. We work really hard and just take care of each individual other. But you will find no issue that we require additional means,” reported Dr. Donna “Cee” Whitelow, a longtime resident and community leader. “This garden is lengthy overdue, and I won’t be able to hold out to consider benefit of obtaining it in this article.”

For more data on the Bethune Empowerment Middle, visit

Bethune Empowerment Center Photo 3

About Comprehensive Communities
Finish Communities, introduced by Mayor Turner in April 2017, began in 5 neighborhoods – Acres Home, Gulfton, Close to Northside, 2nd Ward, and Third Ward. In August 2018, City Council of Houston (City) authorised 5 particular person Total Communities Motion Strategies for the pilot neighborhoods. In March 2019, the Mayor’s Business office of Comprehensive Communities (MOCC) was opened with philanthropic aid. In June 2019, the initiative expanded to five further neighborhoods – Alief-Westwood, Fort Bend Houston, Kashmere Gardens, Magnolia Park-Manchester, and Sunnyside.

About Reliant
Reliant powers, safeguards and simplifies life by bringing electric power, security and associated providers to households and organizations across Texas. Serving customers and the neighborhood is at the main of what we do, and the firm is recognized nationally for superb buyer expertise. Reliant is portion of NRG, a Fortune 500 firm that makes benefit by creating electricity and giving vitality answers to approximately 6 million household, compact company and business shoppers throughout the U.S. and Canada. NRG’s aggressive household electrical energy organization, which consists of Reliant, is one particular of the premier in the region.

About Communities for Improved Health and fitness
Communities for Far better Overall health (CFBH) is a girls-led, African-American led nonprofit organization in the Houston space. CFBH was established in 2018 with a mission to make improvements to overall health results by marketing wellness equity and addressing social and environmental ailments in susceptible communities. CFBH is the mother or father business for the Acres Property Well being Action Workforce (AHHAT) made in 2019 by the Town of Houston to oversee the implementation of well being-connected tasks in the Acres Household Comprehensive Communities Action Plan Acres Dwelling Farmer’s Market.

About Amerigroup Texas 
Amerigroup Texas helps strengthen health and fitness care accessibility and top quality for approximately 850,000 Texans by building modern treatment administration packages and products and services. Customers are confident care that is not only obtainable, but also accountable, complete, built-in and patient-centered. Amerigroup Texas provides ongoing community relations and outreach to motivate users to turn out to be active participants in their wellness care. By means of overall health schooling programs, members are empowered to decide on and maintain a healthier life-style. For extra facts about Amerigroup Texas, visit

About the Acres Homes Farmers Market
The Acres Property Farmer’s Sector was made to convene the community’s farmers and gardeners to leverage domestically grown food stuff sources in neighborhoods that confront disparaging foods insecurity. The market place also targets local leaders to enable increase the overall health of the small children and people in the Acres Residence Group.

About HBDI
HBDI is a qualified Community Advancement Money Establishment and a Group Advancement Small business Business that has served Houston for 30 many years, furnishing smaller firms with obtain to very affordable financial loans, technological assistance, and business enterprise counseling services.