Agendas and Minutes

Housing Commission (View All)


Wednesday, February 23, 2011



February 23, 2011




Chair Regina Ayars called the meeting to order at 4:35 p.m. at the Council Chambers located at 1175 East Main St. Ashland, OR  97520.


Ben Scott, new Housing Commissioner, introduced himself expressing his appreciation for being appointed to the Commission and his desire to serve. Scott has been a General Contractor in both California and Oregon.  Commissioner Scott has, for the last two and a half years, been contracting as consultant for the Energy Trust of Oregon.


Commissioners Present:

Council Liaison

James Dills

Mike Morris

Regina Ayars


Barb Barasa

Staff Present:

Ben Scott

Linda Reid, Housing Specialist


Carolyn Schwendener, Account Clerk

Commissioners Absent:


Richard Billin, excused


Nikki Pons, excused


Jody Waters, excused





The minutes of the January 26, 2011 meeting were approved as presented.



Nick O’Neill, The SOU Hunger and Homelessness awareness student liaison, reported that an application for the student liaison to the Housing Commission has been sent to the Mayor with a statement of support from the SOU senate.  If appointed the applicant will be present at the March meeting.


The Commissioners would like some information regarding the expense of putting the Housing Commission agenda in the local paper.   It was noted that the Transportation and Conservation Commission publishes their agenda in the paper. Staff will investigate the cost. 



Liaison Reports

Council –Morris reported the Council is reviewing business licenses, the proposed restaurant for 95 Winburn Way and the Transient Occupancy Tax allocation.  It is currently budget season which is requiring a lot of the Councilor’s time.   Council is still discussing the homeless issue and is undecided on how to address it. Two Councilors, Morris and Voisin along with the Mayor went to the SOU Forum on Homelessness. The council meeting to appoint the ad-hoc sub-committee on homelessness has been changed from March 15 to April 1, 2011. 


Parks – No report


School Board – Dills left messages for the head of the Ashland School Board and Principal of Ashland High School but has not had the opportunity to connect with them. His plan is to meet with the Principals of the schools sometime in the future.   Ayars gave an article to Dills about the San Francisco school closures, a similar problem that we have here.  Ayars inquired about checking with the school district to see if there are any joint opportunities we might have given their substantial land holdings. 


Planning – No report.  Reid reported that Pons attended the Planning meeting.  The meeting was basically all about the Pedestrian Places.


Transportation – No report


SOU- No report


Staff – Reid went over the information from the Homeless Count surveys.  The Point In Time Homeless count took place the last week of January.  Thirty-seven surveys were collected representing thirty-nine people.  Thirteen of those people said they have been continuously homeless for a year of more, ten people said they have not.  Fourteen said they have experienced chronic homelessness in the last three years, and nine said they had not. The average age of the person taking the survey was eighteen. 


Reid said the City has received three applications for Community Development Block Grant Funds for the coming year.  The Consolidated Plan states that the City can only fund two applications each year. The entire amount (less 20% for admin) is eligible for capital improvements; up to $30,000 is eligible for Public Service projects. It was decided years ago to only fund two projects because of the administrative burden.  The Commission might like to revisit that rule. Reid will write a staff report with recommendations and the applicants will give their presentations at next month’s meeting.  The Housing Commission will make a decision on which projects to fund and send their recommendation to the City Council who will make a final award determination.



In 2008 a City resolution was passed establishing an affordable Housing Trust Fund.  Repayments from a 1985 CDBG home repair and energy efficiency loan program are dedicated to the fund. The payoffs used to go into the general fund now they go into a separate line item dedicated to the affordable housing trust fund. Judith Benjamin, the wife of the late Housing Commissioner, Aaron Benjamin, established a memorial fund where the donations went into the Trust fund.  Reid presented a spread sheet showing the amount in the Trust Fund.  Having received two pay off’s since the Trust Fund was established, and with Aaron Benjamin memorial donations the Trust Fund’s total is now $23, 366.00.


Reid explained there is no threshold for awarding these funds. The funds can be used to serve any population that is below 120 percent area median income. The uses of this money is a lot more broad then Community Block Grant Funds. Funds can be used for activities that create, preserve or acquire housing, permanent or transitional housing for homeless families and individuals and for the modernization, rehabilitation and repair of public housing.  The Request for Proposals can only be 90% of the funds in the HTF and will run concurrently with the CDBG RFP, the other 10% has the flexibility to be offered at anytime throughout the year as a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) in order to be responsive to opportunities and non-profit needs as they arise.


The goal of the Commission is to figure out how to get more revenue into this Housing Trust Fund.  The Commission discussed creating an Ad Hoc committee but thought it would be more appropriate to do so when Billin was present.  Put this on the Agenda for the April meeting.  Ayars asked if it is feasible to look at the possibility to use the rental registry fee. Reid will invite Lynette O’Neil the CDBG administrator and Housing and Community Development Commission Liaison for the City of Medford and Lenore Drake former City of Medford Housing and Community Development Commission chair to come and talk to the Ashland Commission about that Commission’s proposal for funding their Housing Trust Fund. 




Commissioner Barasa gave a power point presentation about the “Affordable Housing Possibilities Not Currently Available in Ashland.”  Barasa herself was a participant in an affordable housing development and believes there are things that could be done in Ashland to make owning your own home more affordable.


Her main topics of discussion were Co-op rental Housing and Manufactured Homes.



Because Billin was absent this discussion was put on hold until sometime in the future.



The Council is reviewing the current Commissions including discussing the possibility of consolidating some of them.  The Commissioners would like to discuss at the next meeting their mission statement and membership rules. Currently the Commission requires a total of nine members.  The possibility of seven members was discussed.


Reid will get more information and put this back on next month’s agenda.



CDBG Presentations


Quorum Check – Dills will be out of town.  Reid will do a forum check by email as it is necessary to have a forum next month in order to make a recommendation for CDBG. 



Homeless Task Force Meeting – March 15, 2011: 10:30-12:00 Housing Authority conference Room 2231 Table Rock Rd

City Council Meeting (Ad-Hoc Committee appointment) March 15, 2011; 7:00 pm Council Chambers


Next Housing Commission Regular Meeting

4:30-6:30 PM; March 23, 2011, Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street


ADJOURNMENT - The meeting was adjourned at 6:30 p.m.


Respectfully submitted by Carolyn Schwendener




















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