November 9, 2011
Ad hoc Homelessness Steering Committee
Guanajuato Room, Ashland Public Library
4:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Ayers, Parker, Lewis, Saldana, O’Bryon, Hopkins-Powell, Rohde, Slattery (Council liaison), Seltzer (city staff)
Voisin (Council liaison
Call to Order
Parker called the meeting to order at 4:05 p.m.
Approval of Minutes
Rohde/Lewis m/s to approve the minutes of the October 26 meeting.
Review City Proposals from last spring
Seltzer referred to the minutes of the HSC meeting on May 26, when the committee discussed the City proposals. The committee commented that each of these ideas requires a space and it was suggested to ask the community on how these programs might work.
Prioritize the “Parking Lot” issues
Parker asked each committee member to comment on how they would like to move forward with the work of the HSC.
Rohde would like to craft a package that moves toward helping homelessness in Ashland.
Hopkins-Powell want to focus on one or two projects and engage current providers to determine if these ideas could be championed by providers and fit with their mission.
O’Bryon want to know what other groups are doing before the HSC determines which projects to work on.
Ayers would like to see closure on the projects brought forward. She wants to “get something done”.
Saldana does not want to put energy into programs that the homeless won’t use (e.g. a day use center) and doesn’t want to put energy into something the Council will say no to (e.g. allow camping)
Lewis feels that anything the committee brings forward to Council needs to be well thought out and he supports educating the community and focusing on current ideas.
Parker spoke of her visit to the St. Vincent DePaul urban rest stop in Medford and was impressed. She noted that her research indicates that most rest centers start small. The St. Vincent DePaul has individual dog kennels, family shelter and provides hot lunches a few days a week, on other days a different group might provide food.
Education and media strategy
Katie asked the committee if Ashland wanted more homeless in Ashland town. “How do you want Ashland to look”?
Helga asked the committee to focus on sleeping and shelters
David thinks Jackson Well Springs could be an Urban Campground. The committee should not make Ashland too attractive for homeless. He thinks there are 43 actual homeless people in Ashland, not the masses we see downtown in the summer
Keith thinks the most important thing is to provide shelter and need more than the emergency weather shelter because they are not open often enough.
Rhode wants to develop an education strategy and suggests beginning with touring a day use center and arranging transportation for council and citizen. He suggested a sub-committee be formed to work on education and media.
M/S Hopkins-Powell/Rohde to form an education and media strategy sub-committee. Rohde, O’Bryon and Lewis will serve on this sub-committee. Motion passed.
M/S Saldana/Ayers to form a sub-committee to work on establishing a day use center. Saldana, Ayers and Parker will serve on this committee. Motion passed.
There was also interest in working on short term temporary shelters to accommodate people in need during the winter months. Saldana will work on this and later help on the day use center committee.
Parker reported on her recent tour of the Grove building. Most recreation classes are held before 9:00 a.m., a few afternoon classes and some evening dance classes. There is a large lobby, a kitchen and one shower. The group touring the building discussed whether the building could be separated to serve both as a recreation area and as a day use area. Parker commented that it could be a problem for elderly people to walk around to the back of the building to access the door to get into the classroom.
Parker also made mention that the St. Vincent DePaul does not proselytize. Slattery noted it is worth exploring the use of the Grove as a day use center but that it will be complicated.
The committee discussed ideas for potential committee members. There are two open slots. Slattery thinks someone from the business community would bring a good perspective to the committee and mentioned Annie Hoy from the Food Co-op and/or Denise Brakman from Liquid Assets.
Meiwin Richards of the the Chamber and Rohde are trying to connect with each other.
A portable toilet should be in place on the Calle by next week.
Meeting adjourned at 6:00
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