March 26, 2012
Ad hoc Homelessness Steering Committee
Siskiyou Room, 51 Winburn Way
4:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Parker, O’Bryon, Hopkins-Powell, Lewis, Rohde, Saldana, Voisin (Council liaison) Slattery (Council liaison) Reid (City staff)
Agenda Item #1: Call to Order
Parker called the meeting to order at 4:10 p.m.
Agenda Item #2: Approval of Minutes
Saldana/Hopkins-Powell moved to approve the minutes as presented. Voice Vote-Motion passed unanimously.
There was a brief discussion about the Subcommittee’s upcoming item on the City Council April 3rd
meeting agenda entitled “Discussion of extending Homeless Steering Committee to allow them to finish final report.” And the upcoming study session item entitled “Discussion of re-chartering of Housing Commission to include Homelessness Issues.”
There was some confusion as to whether the committee should prepare a final report.
Parker asked that each committee member weigh in on their feelings about having the committee’s charge extended.
Slattery felt that the discussion around homelessness should continue forward but maybe not as a city commission. Slattery is meeting with Jackie Agee from the Salvation Army on Wednesday to continue the discussion about implementing a day use center. It is a critical need to move that idea forward and keep the discussion going.
Voisin stated that it needs to be remembered that there was no indication that the committee would end; homelessness is still a council goal.
Rohde stated that he would like each member of the committee to think collectively about the Committee’s goals. The letter that O’Bryon drafted outlines the day center as a priority. Rohde felt that melding the HSC with the Housing Commission will dilute the work of both.
Lewis asked. “Does a group of people have to be sanctioned by the city to continue working on a day use center?”
Rohde stated that the HSC group is a regular sanctioned group that moves ideas to the City Council.
Saldana stated that she didn’t feel as though the HSC has finished their work, the end of an ad hoc committee should be the end of the work, not some timeframe.
O’Bryon stated that her frame for continuing is clarified in the letter. Is this the framework in which the HSC wants to move forward or is there a different route?
Lewis stated that he was not convinced that the ad hoc committee is the best vehicle for establishing a day center. It seems like a 501C is the better vehicle for establishing a day center.
Hopkins-Powell pointed out that if the HSC is no longer a City committee then it will lose staff support. The coalition is probably not the right structure; it is not an advocacy group. Hopkins acknowledged that the committee members could continue to meet on their own, but felt that without City support the membership would dwindle. Powell felt that it was important to leave the council with a list of things that the HSC has accomplished, but to also leave them with a really strong sense of what is left undone. Part of the issue is that Ashland doesn’t have a lot of structure or resources to deal with issues of homelessness. Stopping the committee isn’t going to help anything. Joining the Housing Commission may affect some of the HSC’s charge.
Parker stated that she thought the issues are much bigger, much more complex. They take time and more resources than we have been given. Parker stated that she was inclined to say to the Council “This is what we have done; this is much bigger than we thought. You are the elected officials; you have to decide how to deal with these issues. Here are some issues that you need to address.”
Saldana stated that is seems odd to end the HSC at this point if homelessness is such an issue in Ashland.
Voisin added that what she didn’t want to see happen is the idea that the coalition can take over the work the HSC. They are not the body to accomplish that work, though the work that they are doing is good work, it is not the same kind of work. Voisin felt that is would be better to use an existing 501C to create a day center rather than to create a new one 501C.
Slattery stated that it was important to keep working on these issues and felt that people who care about these issues will continue to work on them.
Agenda Item #4: Sub-Committee Meetings.
O’Bryon handed out the letter that she and Rohde put together (as part of Goal #2) to present to the Council on extending the term of the committee in order to complete their work.
Parker updated the committee on the work that she, Committee Member Ayars, and Council Liaison Voisin have done toward Goal # 3 Identify a day center location; identify an agency to run the day center.
Rohde /Hopkins-Powell moved to adopt the letter provided by O’Bryon with stated adjustments:
The removal of the sentence that contains: “renew for a minimum of one year.”
Add bullet points titled “unfinished business” about the specific subcommittee work
Hopkins-Powell volunteered to edit the letter before sending it on to the Staff Liaison to be included in the council packet. Voice vote-Motion passed.