Houston reported 438 new coronavirus cases Aug. 14 and 12 new deaths. Here are the latest updates on efforts to mitigate the pandemic’s effects in Houston.

Homeless encampments get a cleaning

Using funding from the city’s federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security funding, City Council approved the purchase of six pickup trucks with trailer combinations and two rear loaders for heavy material for the city’s solid waste department. The vehicles were used Aug. 13 to clear debris and power-wash homeless encampments throughout Houston without disturbing residents’ belongings, Mayor Sylvester Turner said.

"We want to treat them with the dignity and respect they rightfully deserve. Just because you are homeless doesn't mean you need to be living in unsanitary conditions,” he said.

City task force to host mental health town hall

The Houston Health Equity Response task force will host a mental health town hall from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 21 to address the compounding effects of the coronavirus pandemic and its associated economic effects. Interested attendees can register here.

Council member forms long-term plan to address food insecurity

Council Member Letitia Plummer, who previously hosted a food drive at Seaside Lounge that provided thousands of free meals, has now turned her attention to a longer-term solution.

On Aug. 16, Plummer hosted a cleanup and gardening session to revitalize Seeds of the Soil Oasis Garden in the Near Northside. The revitalization project kicked off Plummer’s plan to increase produce availability throughout the city as the pandemic continues to exacerbate food insecurity. Plummer hosted the event in collaboration with Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis; state Rep. Harold Dutton, D-Houston; and local nonprofits.