New councilmember is making illegal dumping her mission

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- First-term city councilmember Tarsha Jackson has made trash a top priority.

It's a serious issue in Houston's Fifth Ward that she's established what she calls HOT (Homeless Outreach Teams) to clean up when other city departments don't.

"We see furniture, couches, mattresses, children's clothing. I mean, we see everything," Jackson told ABC13. "Trash is a health issue. It's a health hazard, and so yeah, we're doing everything we can to make sure people know how to navigate."

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For months, members and visitors have had to see and smell the growing pile of debris just yards from their entrance, but not anymore.



The city has increased the fine for illegal dumping to $2,000, a significant bump from $500.

Jackson has also budgeted additional funds to keep a trash drop-off open an extra day per week. She now has a direct line for residents to text her office when they see a problem.

"We're telling people to text a photo," Jackson said. "Call [the city's help line] 311. Give us the 311 code and we'll follow up to make sure the dumping gets taken care of."

Jackson said she thinks the program is slowly making a difference.

Residents like Joetta Stevenson, the president of the Greater Fifth Ward Super neighborhood council, agree.

"Her HOT team moves quick," Stevenson said. "She's been very open about contacting her office [and] getting them out here."

To report a trash issue, call 832-393-3009. You can also send an email to districtb@houstontx.gov.

For updates on this report, follow ABC13 reporter Tom Abrahams on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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