January 23, 2012
Ad hoc Homelessness Steering Committee
4:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Ayers, Parker, Lewis, Saldana, Rohde, O’Bryon, Hopkins-Powell, Voisin (Council liaison), Slattery (Council Liaison) Reid (City staff)
Call to Order
Parker called the meeting to order at 4:05 p.m.
Approval of Minutes
Hopkins-Powell/Rohde m/s to approve the minutes of the January 11th
meeting; minutes were approved with no corrections.
Agenda Item #3: Committee Member provide updates on various issues
La Clinica Mobile Clinic- Lewis reported that the board of the Methodist Church approved hosting the Mobile Medical Clinic at their location once a week and added a budget for the installation of an exterior 220 outlet to run power to the van. Parker mentioned that there was one snag. Parker has volunteered to provide intake services for the patients but found that she needs to be covered by liability insurance in order to perform that service. She has contacted two non-profits to see if they could provide that insurance. Community Works may be able to, but she has yet to hear back from them. Ayers said that she would speak with the Peacehouse board about it and Reid suggested that maybe the Community Health Center or the Jackson County Community Services Consortium could be approached. Parker stated that there was some urgency since there are only a couple of weeks until the first clinic on February 14th. The Mobile Van is planning to be available at the Ashland Location every Tuesday from 1:00P.M. to 6:00 P.M. The La Clinica staff would like to have 14-16 patients lined up for each clinic date. Dental services will not be available on the 14th. Voisin stated that the Presbyterian Church may be able to supply 3 to 4 volunteers with Medical experience to assist with the Mobile Clinic. Advertizing and flyers will be circulated to get the word out about the Mobile Clinic.
Annual Homeless Count-Reid reported that the Jackson County Homeless Task Force is completing the annual county wide homeless Point- In- Time Shelter Count this week as part of a State and National Homeless Count. The County is mandated to complete a shelter survey annually and a shelter and street count every other year. The survey results are directly correlated to State and Federal funding for homeless assistance. Voisin reported that the Citizen’s Coalition is conducting the state provided survey here in Ashland as well as conducting a second survey that they developed in order to get a better picture of Ashland’s homeless population and their needs. The coalition has twenty volunteers going out in pairs. They will be counting all week.
Donation Boxes- Lewis reported that the Chamber Board is planning on having a meeting about the boxes, the chamber needs to decide on the language for the signage, and bring that back to the HSC for approval. The goal is to have them installed by Memorial Day. Mei Win is the contact person at the Chamber.
Interviews with Community Leaders-Parker stated that she interviewed Chief Holderness and felt that he had a wealth of knowledge and experience with homeless populations and programs. He has a lot of information about a very successful program instituted in Fontana California in which he was very involved. Information about the program is available at http://www.fontanacap.org Chief Holderness has some ideas and directions that the committee could look at in seeking to address the downtown problem. Chief Holderness is available to speak with the committee at their next regular meeting. Parker felt that there should be a representative from the police force on the committee. Councilor Voisin interviewed Alan DeBoer. DeBoer felt that the faith community needs to be engaged in the issue and needs to be organized. Currently there is no unifying body for organizing the pastors. However, Voisin pointed out, the pastors are very busy and they are experiencing the same issues that the community service and volunteer organization face. They need the same resources. DeBoar also thought that a monthly column in the newspaper advertising the needs of the impoverished and homeless would be beneficial. He felt that if the general public were made aware of specific requests then they would step up to provide those items. Lewis noted that the church newsletters are also a good place to put out a call for goods, Currently, that is where a lot of donations come from. Aaron Reed from Community Works has agreed to provide a story for the first newspaper article about a specific homeless person’s experience.
Lewis suggested that someone could talk to the Mayor about calling the faith community leaders together, a “Mayor’s Conference”.
Parker stated that there are a lot of new faces since ICCA closed and that the community needs to mobilize more volunteers, the churches are really busy and the usual volunteer pools consisting mainly of seniors and retirees are already stretched thin, it is unlikely that they could be doing more than they are already doing. The community needs to work on getting other players involved, young people and other groups not already volunteering.
Rohde cautioned that any outreach effort that went forward without a clear long term plan may not be well received. Rohde stated that ICC’s first step was to complete a survey of the faith community about their self interests and then they came together around those issues.
Slattery stated that the chamber uses a model that includes a questionnaire/needs assessment that looks at weaknesses and strengths.
O’Bryon volunteered to do some research on questions/needs assessment from other communities.
Saldana supported Rohde’s earlier assertion that the questionnaire should appeal to the churches self interest. “How does homelessness in Ashland impact your churches and what resources do you have to address their needs”
Parker invited the committee members to send her potential question via e-mail.
Focus Group/Downtown Business involvement/Education and Outreach
Ayers suggested that Peace house sponsor a “Community Conversation” to facilitate a discussion on the issues of homelessness and poverty on the Ashland community. Peace house produced an hour long video on homelessness last year. The discussion could be held once in the evening and once in the morning to facilitate differing schedules. The conversation could begin by watching the video then breaking into world café style groups for discussion. The Gresham room at the Library would be a good size for the event. Ayers was looking at March 24th
as a potential date but could do it earlier as long as there was two weeks lead time to prepare.
Rohde posed the question, how do we reach out to folks who have a different perspective than those already represented at the table?
Lewis and Slattery suggested specifically inviting individuals to come to share their views on poverty in Ashland.
Saldana asked, what do we hope to gain from more conversation, we have had a lot of that already. What do we want to gain from the conversation?
Slattery replied, possibly solutions to help lead to the resolution of some of the downtown issues, addressing is different than solving; there is still some room to identify solutions.
Parker, quoting Chief Holderness, stated that you must identify your goal before you can solve the problem.
Hopkins-Powell stated, that the committee is running out of time and wondered at this point would it be better to address the issues currently on the table or to address the continuation of the committee. Hopkins-Powell felt that the committee needs to decide what is important.
Reid suggested holding a short goal setting session using the dot exercise at an upcoming meeting to set group priorities.
Agenda Item #4 “Parking Lot” Proposals
Mobile Restaurant: Audience Member Sandra Coyner spoke on this proposal since it was her proposal. Coyner stated that she felt one of the advantages of this proposal was that its services were not in a fixed location. It would be just and RV where people can come and sit down have some coffee and get out of the weather.
Hopkins-Powell stated that the mobile restaurant seemed like a doable interim step to a day center.
Parker stated that she envisioned a day center that serves the relief/rehabilitation model, where people can access services that help them out of homelessness.
Voisin agreed that the community should invest their time and energy in getting people out of poverty.
Lewis wondered if the committee would be able to find the agencies to connect together to create a day use center.
The Committee discussed the Palo Alto Downtown streets employment program model and agreed that it fit much of what they have been looking at implementing already. Such a program would address issues of employment, could incorporate several aspects of the relief/rehabilitation model that Chief Holderness has spoken of from the Fontana Program, and provide a day center where the meetings could be held and which could be used to connect program participants with support services. The model also provides a non-monetary incentive system that would assist with housing, food, and other goods.
Reid mentioned that the City’s CDBG funds could be used to support an economic development activity such as the Downtown Streets program.
Agenda Items for the Next Meeting
Chief Holderness Presentation
Goal setting exercise
KSKQ 89.5 Wednesday the 25th
, interview with Committee members on the Community Connections show.
listening post site will be operating at the library in the study room upstairs on Wednesdays from 3:00-5:00 P.M.
Uncle Foods served the most people it has ever served last Tuesday, 90 people, 40 of which were families with children.
Meeting adjourned at 6:10
Next meeting dates
February 8-Ashland Library
February 27-City Council Chambers, 1175 East Main 4:00-6:00