May 26, 2011
Ad hoc Homelessness Steering Committee
Gresham Room, Ashland Public Library
4:00 – 6:00
Saldana, Rohde, Parker, Lewis, Ayars, Voisin (council liaison), Hopkins-Powell, Slattery (council liaison) Seltzer (city staff)
Call to Order
Parker called the meeting to order at 4:05.
Approval of Minutes
Minutes of the April 28 meeting were approved with corrections.
The committee discussed how to proceed with the discussion on the proposals submitted by the city.
Slattery explained the proposals submitted by the city have been vetted by the City Council and that the Council said “no” to some of the proposals (camping, portable toilets, sidewalk use limit) and those proposals were not submitted. He noted that these same topics could be submitted to the HSC from the community.
Ayars reported feedback from the homelessness community was the “cards were stacked” and they are less than enthusiastic to submit a proposals. Slattery encouraged service providers to submit proposals.
Parker explained the proposals submitted were for group discussion and not yet for decisions. Members spoke on each proposal separately.
1) Community Outreach Workers
Generally, the committee felt this proposal was cost prohibitive. Ayars, who previously lived in Santa Cruz commented that Ashland has existing services and the homelessness community resents if people are making money off them (e.g. earning a salary as an outreach worker). She mentioned there are others that are less vocal and not “home free” that are looking for these services. Parker wondered if trained volunteers could do this work. Lewis noted the concept is good but volunteers still need to have someone supervising them and coordinating efforts. Building relationships is so important in this kind of work and there is so much turnover both with workers and the people they serve. Hopkins-Powell commented that this could be a part of something but not the entire solution, Slattery feels the same. Voisin commented some people in the faith community want to develop a mentor program. Saldana said one size doesn’t fit all, mentoring may work for a limited number of people, but how will those people get information about a mentor program. An outreach person is out in the field versus a person who sits at one place. Outreach workers can connect people with services.
2) Community Assistance Program
Hopkins-Powell asked how this is different from what St. Vincent DePaul does. Saldana says they work out of their home and a person must be referred to a St. Vincent DePaul worker for a visit. Lewis commented this is similar to what churches already do. Ayars commented that we are already doing an annual event to connect people with existing services. Hopkins-Powell feels this has a “nugget” of a long-term solution. Voisin feels we need a place where services are provided and is easy to get to. Saldana asked if a church would be such a location. Voisin says not, it needs to be neutral and open during “off” hours, something that meets their lifestyle. Rohde does not think this proposal is good on its own but perhaps could work in tandem with other proposals.
3) Car Parks
Ayars is interested in this proposal. Saldana felt it could work in church parking lots. Lewis points out his church operates with a CUP (conditional use permit) and neighbors do not like the homeless feed service in the church parking lot. Voisin thinks the committee should ask the city for possible locations. Rohde asked about liability issues and how many cars need a space. Hopkins-Powell feels we need more information. Slattery feels there would be strong resistance by neighbors regardless of location abut agrees more research is needed.
The committee asked staff to contact Lane County for more information on cost, liability insurance, growth or decline in numbers. Seltzer will follow through with Chief Holderness.
4) Periodic Medical Screening
Saldana and Ayars spoke of the annual Project Connect event which will occur on June 22. There was general discussion on whether a similar event could be held in Ashland. Saldana will raise the question at the next Jackson County Homeless Taskforce on June 16.
5) Drop-in Center, Permanent Support Housing, Housing First, Transitional Housing, SRO Occupancy
General Discussion on these various options. Saldana explained the only Housing First model she is aware of is in Portland. Voisin wondered is the Jackson County Housing Authority would be a partner and Saldana explained the Housing Authority does not provide care management. Rhode does not like the SRO model. Saldana thought On-track could be a partner for Housing First. Parker feels these are complex options that need more explanation and discussion.
Next meeting dates
Thursday, June 9, Thursday, July 14 in the Gresham Room at the Library and Thursday August 18 in the Guanajuato Room at the Library/
The meeting adjourned at 5:30 p.m.