Agendas and Minutes

Housing Commission (View All)

Housing Commission Regular Meeting

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

January 25, 2012
Chair Regina Ayars called the meeting to order at 4:30 p.m. at the Council Chambers located at 1175 East Main St. Ashland, OR  97520.
Commissioners Present: Council Liaison
Regina Ayars Mike Morris
Brett Ainsworth  
Barb Barasa Staff Present:
Richard Billin Linda Reid, Housing Specialist
James Dills Carolyn Schwendener, Admin Clerk
Commissioners Absent:  
Ben Scott, excused  
Billin/Dills m/s to approve the minutes of the October 26, 2011 regular Housing Commission meeting. Voice Vote:  All Ayes, minutes were approved as presented. 
Ayars made a change to the agenda moving the RVTD project discussion to the February 22nd meeting.
Evan acknowledged that he is interested in becoming the SOU Student Liaison.  Evan is actively trying to get students more involved with student government though he finds it a challenge.  There is a Student Senate meeting next Tuesday and he will discuss with the President and Vice President about his desire to become the Housing SOU Liaison.  Reid explained he needs to write a letter of interest to the Mayor who will then make the appointment.   
The following goals were identified by the Housing Commission on December 17, 2011 in an effort to forward to the City Council specific items for consideration in establishing the Council goals for the coming year. 
  • Education and Outreach – RVTV Project
  • Preservation of vulnerable properties
  • Landlord Tenant Brochure
  • Housing Trust Fund Innovative Funding Source
  • Implement Action Plan steps based on the results of the Updated Housing Needs Analysis
The Commissioners discussed the goals and determined which Commissioner would work on which goals.  
  • Billin will work on a Landlord Tenant Brochure
  • Dills and Barasa will work on the RVTV project focusing on gaining funds for the Housing Trust Fund
  • Ayars will work on preservation of vulnerable properties
  • Ainsworth will work on the Housing Trust Fund funding source
  • Reid and Brian Cole, SOU intern,  are working on the Housing Needs Analysis
The City Council will be getting together on February 11, 2012 to do goal prioritizing but will not be addressing new goals at that time. Reid is not sure when these Housing Commission goals will be forwarded. Morris explained that Larry Patterson, interim City Administrator, has asked the Councilors to work on tightening up their prior goals narrowing them down in order to quantify them.
Ayars will contact Don Robertson, City Parks Director, to get the Housing Commission on the agenda to address the issue of the $125,000 from the sale of the Clay Street property. 
Reid stated that last week the Southern Oregon Housing Resource Center invited Diane Hess from the Fair Housing Council of Oregon to speak about how the SOHRC people could coordinate around Fair Housing. Currently everyone in the group is required to do various Fair Housing activities but is working independent of one another. It was suggested to create a regional coordination group so as not to duplicate each others’ efforts in the region. April is Fair Housing month and it was suggested that a Public Service Announcement about Fair Housing could run on public television such as RVTV.  Reid thought this would be a good project for the Housing Commission.  Suggested topic was to interview people about their experience around housing discrimination.
Reid explained that the Housing Work Plan is a document that was recommended by the Zucker report, an organizational audit, done for the City of Ashland in 2006.  The Housing Work Plan is intended to identify specific housing activities that have been initiated by the City to be completed in the short term.  The Plan will provide direction to City staff and provide measurable outcomes for elected and appointed officials to monitor the objectives and the success of the housing program.  This plan should be approved and adopted by City Council. 
The Commissioners discussed the Housing Development Projects in the City for the years 2004 thru 2011.  The total of all Deed Restricted Affordable and Subsidized Units in the City is three hundred seventy-four.  Five properties that are designated for preservation are Ashley Garden, Ashley Senior, Donald E. Lewis-Senior, Star Thistle-Disabled and Sun Village.
Reid encouraged the Commissioners to submit any changes or corrections regarding the Housing Work Plan to her before the February meeting.  After the final draft the plan will go before the Council probably in March. 
Reid stated that the last time the Housing Needs Analysis was updated it was contracted out to Fariani and Associates.  The Action Plan was also sent out to consultants to be completed.  It was not within the City’s scope of work to do an Action Plan for the Housing Needs Update.  Reid anticipates that the completion of the Needs Analysis will be April in order to help inform the consultants that are working on the Normal Street Master Plan. The narrative draft needs to be completed by the first part of April and then will go to the Housing Commission as well as the Planning Commission for their review. 
Reid gave an overview of the Community Development Block Grant program.  An RFP was made available on January 3, 2012 with completed applications due the 25th of February.  Reid will review the applications and make recommendations to the Commission at their regular March meeting. The applicants will give presentations at that meeting also. The Commissioners will then make their recommendation to the Council.  Though Reid has not received any applications yet she has had two inquires.
CDBG funds can be used for a variety of activities including: Historic Preservation, Housing Rehab, Public Facilities, ADA accommodations/architectural barrier removal even in public buildings.  All activities must meet one of the three national objectives: elimination of slum and blight, predominate low income benefit, and urgent need. The City of Ashland generally addresses low income benefit rather than urgent need or sum and blight.
CDBG does have the capacity to fund economic development. Examples of activities are employment related day care, micro enterprise loans, as long as the workers qualify as 50% low to moderate income, or the activity is an area wide benefit that benefits low to moderate income people. Grantees themselves also can be low to moderate income. 
City Council- Morris said the interviews for the new City Administrator will be taking place on Friday and Saturday.  Tomorrow night at 5:30 there will be a meet and greet at the Plaza Inn and Suites.  The liaison commission change will be happening soon and there most likely will be different liaisons on each of the Commissions. 
Staff - Reid said the Homeless task force is currently working on the Point in time Homeless count this week.  The Ashland Citizens Coalition is conducting their own survey in conjunction with the task force.  The landlord survey for the housing needs analysis went out in the mail this week. This is a business reply mailer attempting to gather information about rental rates for different bedroom size units and vacancy rates for Ashland.   The purpose was to get a better idea of the private market inventory out there, and find out which units are in the most in demand.  480 people received the mailing. 
Morris asked how the Commissioners felt about the idea of the Homeless Committee joining the Housing Commission. After a discussion the consensus of the Commissioners was that they did not feel it was a good idea.
Perhaps a joint meeting might be appropriate regarding specific topics that might apply.
Quorum check for next meeting.  Possibility that Billin might be absent.  
Dills and Barasa will discuss RVTV
Final Housing Work Plan
Billin will try and put together a draft regarding foreclosures
Homeless Task Force Meeting-February 21, 2012:  10:30-12:00 Housing Authority Conference Room 2231, Table Rock Road, Medford
Next Housing Commission Regular Meeting
February 22, 2012 4:30-6:30 PM
ADJOURNMENT - The meeting was adjourned at 6:00 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by Carolyn Schwendener

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