Agendas and Minutes

Housing Commission (View All)


Thursday, April 23, 2009



April 23, 2009




Chair Bill Smith called the meeting to order at 4:30 p.m. at the Community Development and Engineering Services Building, 51 Winburn Way, Ashland, OR  97520.


Commissioners Present:


SOU Liaison:  Alexandra Amarotico, absent

Richard Billin       



Nick Frost     


Council Liaison:  Carol Voisin

Steve Hauck



Bill Smith


Staff Present:

Aaron Benjamin


Linda Reid, Housing  Specialist

Alice Hardesty


Carolyn Schwendener, Account Clerk

Graham Lewis, left at 5:30



Commissioners Absent:



Regina Ayars




Smith made a change to the Agenda moving the Homeless liaison discussion and the election of officers after the Sub-Committee reports.



Voisin/Hauck m/s to approve the minutes of the March 26, 2009 regular meeting and the March 28, 2009 Goal Setting meeting. Voice Vote:  Approved



No one present



            Finance – No meeting

            Education – No meeting

            Land Use – rescheduled for May 6, 2009 at 3:00 pm



Council – Voisin reported that the City will be issuing an RFP (request for proposal) for the 854 acre Imperatrice property. The Croman site is being considered by the Planning Commission at their next meeting.  Council had their goal setting and though affordable housing was not specifically on it they put an emphasis on affordable housing and how it relates to economic development.  The Council is looking at the possibility of adding an additional line (RVTD) though town that would run every fifteen minutes rather then the current 30 minutes. The route would run from Downtown Siskiyou to Ashland Street to Tolman Creek Road. The goal was to encourage more bus riders.


            Parks Commission – No report


School Board – Frost said the School Board is talking about reducing the school week from five to four days.  This will make it difficult for parents who work on Friday and may need additional day care creating more of an economic burden which then can negatively affect the remaining portion income that families have to spend on housing costs. 


Planning Commission – Benjamin reported that at the last Planning Commission meeting the staff presented a schedule that consisted of hearings, meetings, etc. leading to a final presentation in January of 2010 for the Croman site.  (See attached).  Benjamin attended the annual RVCDC meeting. At this meeting Benjamin said one of the most interesting things was the presentation of the technical components of the low cost housing solution that John Wheeler presented. He discussed all of the energy efficient measures they are doing at the Verde Village project. Benjamin suggested that Mr. Wheeler make that presentation to the Housing Commission inviting the Mayor, Planning Commissioners and Council members to attend the presentation. Reid will check with Mr. Wheeler regarding his schedule and coordinate the presentation and send an email out.


SOU – Hardesty reported that she and Amarotico were present at a recent press conference addressing an SOU event with OSPRIG (Oregon Student Public Interest Group) They had an opportunity to talk about the relationship between SOU and the Housing Commission.  Amarotico talked about student rights and the new sub-committee that is forming. 


Staff – Reid mentioned that the City is currently completing an analysis of impediments to Fair Housing Choice within the City.  The City has not done one since 1997 and contracted with the Fair Housing Council of Oregon using some of the CDBG funds to do that.  Fair Housing Council will be going out into the Community to find out if the citizens are having any problems with discrimination.  Reid said between April 20th and and May 1st the joint Committee on Ways and Means will be holding a series of public hearings to take public input on the budget.  The local meeting will take place at SOU on Thursday April 30th from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. in the Stevenson Union. Reid announced that June 5, 2009 will be the fourteenth annual United Way Day of Caring. They are now accepting applications for projects.  It’s a day when civic groups, church groups, neighborhoods etc. come together to do something to help the community.


ELECTIONS Hardesty/Billin m/s to nominate Hauck to become the new Chair.  Billin/Hauck m/s to nominate Hardesty to become Vice Chair.  Voice Vote:  Both motions passed.


The Commissioners thanked Smith for being such a great Chair. Hardesty reminded the Commissioners that the Mayor invites the Commission Chairs to have lunch with him the fourth Friday of every month at the Community Development Building at 51 Winburn Way.



Frost acknowledged that the Housing Commission is the only Commission that has “Dealing with Homelessness” as part of their mandate. Very seldom does the Commission have anyone present from the general public and Frost believes it would be a good idea to expand their contact with the public.  We are in a situation that we have many who are currently homeless or becoming homeless, unemployment is at a record high and we see the problem but we don’t have new ways to deal with it, stated Frost. Some people are simply homeless for a short period of time some are long term members and some have chosen to be homeless.  Having a liaison may allow the Commission to keep track of where the problem is and what is not being taken care of.  Getting someone on the Commission who is going to be aware of these things may be difficult but it would give us a chance to have our finger on the pulse of the problem in Ashland to expand our sense of Community.


The Commissioners discussed this topic addressing what services are currently available for the homeless community. 


Hardesty has been worried about families in Ashland because it’s difficult to know which families are on the brink and needing help. She asked if the Commission should consider a liaison that is either from a Social Service Agency or is a representative from a population at risk or experiencing homelessness. 


Reid recently went to the Homeless Task Force meeting.  The purpose of this group is to track the number of people experiencing homelessness each year, recognizing the gaps in services that are being provided, and finding ways to fill those service gaps. Part of the meeting was spent on planning for the “Project Homeless Connect,” event which is part of Jackson County’s Ten year plan to end homelessness.


Graham said that if any of the Commissioners would like to get to know the homeless community they could attend the meal provided every Tuesday at 4:30 at the Methodist Church. This is a good place to hear from and get to know members of the homeless community. With the loss of ICCA the homeless lost the ability to do laundry have a shower and an address. To be eligible to receive services, such as food stamps, a physical address is required. 


It was decided that the Commission needs to do its homework first before inviting somebody to become a liaison.  They would like to talk with someone from DHS, Saint Vincent DePaul and County Mental Health. Reid reminded the Commission that someone can apply for CDBG funds to do a social service project.  Reid suggested that maybe rather then having a liaison the education sub-committee could invite different people to talk about issues of homelessness.  They would inform the Commission of their needs and the Commission would inform them of what their ability to help could be, for example using CDBG funds.


Put on next month’s agenda.  Graham and Frost will meet and come back with a report next month. The report will include agencies that provide services for the homeless population in Ashland. The report should help the commission get to a process of how to find someone who would represent the homeless.  Hardesty mentioned that even if the Housing Commission intends to do something about the problem we don’t necessarily have to have a homeless liaison on the commission. 



Reid said tonight is a public hearing for the CDBG program.  After the funds are granted at the end of grant cycle the City writes up a report called the One Year Action Plan to inform HUD how the funds were allotted, how they are going to use the funds and how those funds meet the City’s overall five year goals. Each year the City doesn’t meet a specific goal that goal becomes more of a priority to meet and use the funds for. 


The project that was chosen meets two goals, the goal of creating 55 new rental housing units with the Housing Authority’s 60 housing unit complex. The money is being used for public facility improvements and that money will go to meet a community development goal of installing 600 feet of sidewalk improvements in low income neighborhoods.  Reid acknowledged that the homeless and special needs population goals are way behind, so it was timely to have the homeless discussion.  Next year homelessness should have more priority with our funding because they would have met the rental housing goal, homeownership housing goals, and community development goals.  Each year the CAPER (Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report) details what goals have been achieved and what goals are yet to be met. 


Smith opened the discussion for public comment:  

No one came forth to speak.  People may comment by writing or emailing up until May 15th. 

Smith closed the public hearing


Benjamin commented that the Planning Commission and staff should play an active role in the review of this document. It’s important to provide some mechanism for insuring that they raise their level of consciousness when it comes to affordable housing, stated Benjamin.  Reid said she would make an effort to discuss this with the staff at their staff meetings. 


Hauck/Billin m/s to approve the draft Action Plan. Voice Vote:  passed.



Reid will put on the agenda each month to check in on how we are doing with the goals. The Commissioner decided that at each meeting they will review the progress on one of the important ten items.   



Invite John Wheeler from RVCDC to do a presentation, maybe the month after

Fair Housing presentation

Homeless liaison report from Graham and Frost

Consolidated Plan overview and ad hoc sub committee formation


Up coming meeting quorum check – Billin will not be present



The City Council meeting date for the Housing Commission Ordinance 1st reading has been changed to May 12th at 4:00 P.M.


ADJOURNMENT – The meeting was adjourned at 6:08 p.m.


Respectfully submitted by, Carolyn Schwendener


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