Homeless Steering Committee ad hoc meeting minutes
Wednesday, February 08, 2012
February 8, 2012
Ad hoc Homelessness Steering Committee
Ashland Public Library
4:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Ayers, Parker, Lewis, 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 with corrections of the January 23rd meeting.
Agenda Item #4: Chief Holderness gave a presentation on the Fontana California TEN-4 program and the Community Assistance Program
Chief Holderness noted that the issues are different in Ashland than the issues that these programs worked to solve in Fontana. The TEN-4 model came out of a problem solving methodology. The effort began with officers meeting with churches to find out what they were seeing. The Methodology that they used was known as SARA:
Scan: What is the nature of the problem?
Analysis: Why Fontana? Talked extensively to the homeless, found that Fontana was not usually their ultimate destination. But, because of the major transportation hubs in Fontana it was easy to get to and that there were a lot of churches offering free (maintenance) services to the homeless. It was easy to be homeless in Fontana so they stayed.
Response: Went to the churches, let them know that they were empowering the homeless to remain homeless. Asked those offering services what their goals were, what they were trying to accomplish as a community. Everyone agreed that it was to get people off the streets. They pooled their resources. Designed and developed a processing center and established a committee to develop guidelines and procedures for the program.
Assess: Used baseline information from before the implementation of TEN-4, i.e. the number of complaints, crime states, and the # of homeless. Then Compare those numbers annually to rate the success of the program. In the first year the TEN-4 program assisted 652 people with their program. 54% of those assisted remained in housing, 10% dropped out of the program.
The TEN-4 program was eventually replaced by the Community Assistance Program (CAP). This program utilized a $20,000 grant from the City of Fontana and was hosted by a partner church that provided office space and a meeting room. The CAP program applied the same philosophy as the TEN-4 program, providing Rehabilitation programs to help move participants out of homelessness. The CAP program specializes in connecting people’s needs with the people who have the needed resource or service. The CAP program worked to get people registered with services, held an annual resource fair, and held monthly meetings with service providers and community partners to network and work on finding solutions to their participants problems. The CAP program also offered several life skills classes, most of which are taught by volunteer police officers. The CAP program operates on an annual budget of approximately $40K.
Hopkins-Powell asked what about the participants with issues of mental illness, how did 10-4 deal with them?
Holderness answered that when possible the program tried to get those participants with issues of mental illness some counseling, and tried to connect them with the necessary resources. Often those with mental illness were allowed to go through the program multiple times, unlike others who where only allowed to participate in the program two times.
Slattery asked whether the Fontana programs received any resources or support from the County, or were they just instituted/maintained alone by the City.
Holderness replied that the Fontana programs did utilized county resources, mainly in the form of services and program coordination. Employment Department representatives and other County and State service providers provided outreach efforts on site weekly.
Both programs came out of the police dept. then were run by community volunteers only requiring on average approximately one hour a week of staff time to maintain the program after initial set up.
Agenda Item #3-Report from Regina Ayars, RE: Plaza Merchant Interviews and Discussion
Ayars interviewed several of the plaza merchants to find out what the merchants were seeing as bad behavior on the plaza. Some specific comments were: that aggressive panhandling was when the people panhandling spoke. Many of the merchants mentioned that they would really like to see more police presence downtown. Many people had high praise for former officer Terry De Silva who formerly patrolled the downtown and worked out of the downtown police annex. Some felt that the downtown annex is being underutilized. Everyone interviewed stated that they have had to call the police at least once about an issue with the homeless.
Ayars asked Chief Holderness if there is a plan to get someone, like former officer De Silva in the downtown again.
Chief Holderness replied that at the beginning of last summer there were a lot of complaints and once that second person came on board the complaints went away. Once the budget is passed there will be funding for two officers in the downtown, but it won’t be implemented for a while. There will be community service officers in the park/downtown this summer.
Agenda Item #5-Discussion with Chief Holderness about possible ways to address bad behavior in public areas
Slattery asked Chief Holderness how an exclusionary zone would work.
Chief Holderness replied that an exclusionary zone would apply to individuals who have recieved a certain number of violations, after reaching that number they would then be trespassed from the downtown area for a specified period of time. Based on police data, this would apply to a small group of repeat offenders; the vast majority of the homeless population has no interface with the police department. Chief Holderness stated that currently the issue for the police with regard to behavior in the downtown is that there are very few repeat offenders, but of those offenders there is no reprimand to deter them from engaging in bad/unacceptable behavior. Currently the only tool that the police have to use is to issue class B violations, which do not carry jail time, only fees and fines. Most of the repeat offenders do not pay the fines or have any intention of paying the fines or completing community service to work off the fines. An exclusionary zone may provide enough of a negative consequence to compel better behavior in the downtown.
Hopkins-Powell stated that lately she has been hearing a lot of stories and hearing a lot of mental illness. If a person is clearly mentally ill, and the police get called and they find that the individual has a warrant, then the police are required to take them. How do we deal with these people, who suffer from mental illness, trespassing wouldn’t seem like a deterrent to them.
Chief Holderness replied that the mental health system is terribly broken, there are not enough resources for those experiencing mental illness, currently there are only 16 beds throughout Jackson County to house people experiencing mental illness. Chief Holderness did state that in his experience even mentally ill people have a sense of right and wrong. They would be able to understand what being trespassed would mean.
Audience Member Coyner stated that the community needs to come together to tell the problem people that this behavior is unacceptable. Coyner expressed concern as to whether there might be room for abuse should an exclusionary zone be enacted.
Agenda Item #6-Goal Setting exercise
The Committee members made suggestions as to what goals they would like the Committee to focus on over the next two and half months, and then ranked the goals individually using dot stickers.
Goal #1: Identify specific behaviors that are not welcome in Ashland, Identify a strategy to help people change their behaviors and develop a plan for consequences.
Goal #2: Ask the Council to extend Committee, develop a narrative through community outreach and information.
Goal #3: Identify a day center location; identify an agency to run the day center.
Goal #4: Identify a management plan and what facilities/services a day center will provide.
Community Works has offered to sponsor Heidi as the volunteer for the La Clinica Medical Van. The Van is scheduled to be at the Methodist Church on February 21st, from 1:00 P.M. to 5:30 P.M. rather than February 14th as originally scheduled. It will be first come first serve.
A 3rd listening post site will be operating at the UCC church on Mondays from 8:00 A.M. to 10:00 A.M.
Meeting adjourned at 6:10
Next meeting dates
February 27- City Council Chambers, 1175 East Main 4:00-6:00
March 14th –Ashland Public Library 4-6 PM