August 27, 2012
Ad-Hoc Homelessness Steering Committee
Siskiyou Room, Community Development Building
4:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Ayars, Parker, Sohl, Hopkins-Powell, Lewis, Rohde, Morris (Council liaison), Reid (Staff)
Call to Order
Parker called the meeting to order at 4:10 p.m.
Agenda Item #1: Approval of Minutes
Saldana/Ayars moved to approve the minutes as presented. Voice Vote-Motion passed unanimously.
Agenda Item #2: Review proposal from Community Works (CW)
Ginger Hahn, CEO/President of Community Works, gave an overview of the CW Grove proposal (attached). Hahn gave a brief background of the Grove building and Community Works’ historic involvement with that building. CW spends 2 ¼ million dollars on services for youth who are homeless or adjudicated. Currently CW provides outreach services, hygiene products and two meals a week to homeless youth in Ashland. Hahn felt that a youth center in Ashland would work well for the Clients that CW Serves in Ashland who currently have to travel to Medford to receive services. The Day-use/Drop-in Center would offer showers; storage lockers and the current meals served in Ashland would move to the center. The Lithia Springs School would move to the Grove location and would offer other services after school hours. The Gordon Elwood foundation and the Ashland Arts Council have provided a grant to CW to offer a music program to youth. CW would also coordinate with other groups who provide services for youth.
Committee Member Lewis stated that he worked with former CW Director Arnie Green on working to develop the Grove as a youth center. Lewis asked Hahn why this concept would work now when it did not work then.
Hahn replied that the HUD funding used previously to build the Grove mandated that 51% of the clients served at that location qualify as low-income. Without using HUD funding there will not be a 51% clientele requirement. This will allow CW to serve a larger population. By moving some of the youth services currently based in the Medford office and the Lithia Springs School CW will be offsetting any extra costs.
Bryce Brooks, Director of Youth and Family services, added that the case managers and outreach workers have built trust with many of the street youth and street involved youth in Ashland. These relationships help staff build relationships and establish individuals’ goals. These relationships help the street youth to feel comfortable using the services offered by CW and will help to acclimate them to utilizing services at the Grove. Brooks stated that Ashland has a unique cultural dynamic where youth culture is really integrated with street culture which provides a unique opportunity to provide a drop in center where the youth who may have difficult home lives can have a safe place to hang out and access resources. CW offers a life skills component which is really fun and teaches youth valuable skills. The curriculum is developed by the Youth Council and is youth driven.
Committee member Rohde asked if there were any cultural differences between youth travelers and indigenous youth.
Brooks replied that there is a population of youth that cycle through seasonally. CW staff works with those youth as well. CW has built stronger relationships with Ashland Police Department to work to keep youth safe.
Ayars Asked how CW differentiates between homeless youth and “street involved youths” How will those two groups become involved with the Center.
Brooks answered that there are many definitions out there, but that “street involved youth” are not necessarily homeless but may be experiencing bad home situations. Domestic violence and poverty are often involved. These populations are at high risk of becoming runaway or homeless youth. Hopefully the youth who most need it will use the services. For youth who are street involved CW staff has been trained to address those interfaces and to help connect youth with resources and assistance even if they are not homeless. These programs are designed to help prevent crime and teach youth how to utilize resources.
Corrianne Mathews, Street Outreach Worker for CW, has talked with street youth in Ashland about what services they would like to see offered locally.
Hopkins-Powell asked if Parks was willing to allow the Grove to be used for this service.
Hahn replied that Parks has indicated that they needed time to relocate but would be willing.
Currently the Parks department offers 29 community classes at the Grove.
Parker asked if CW had any housing opportunities that they could offer homeless youth.
Brooks replied that there are a few different housing options for youth in Community Works programs. The various programs target specific age groups and have different requirements.
CW offers housing at the two homes located in Ashland for Adjudicated youth through the Lithia Springs program, the Transitional Living Program (TLP) is a rental subsidy program that requires that youth have or be working to obtain a GED and employment. The TLP program can serve up to 24 youth a year. The Independent Living Program (ILP) for youth 14-21 offers housing offers in home placement with a family, and life skills training classes. All of the housing programs include weekly meetings in the home, close communication with landlords and life skills training classes.
Parker stated that because of issues with victimization, homeless youth and homeless adults should not mix. Parker asked if CW would allow Maslow to use space at the Grove for counseling.
Hahn and Brooks replied that CW and Maslow have a very strong collaboration. Maslow youth are invited to come to CW life skills classes, and staff from both agencies go together to do street outreach. Often youth do not distinguish between the two agencies.
Sohl asked if there would be volunteer opportunities for community members at the drop-in center.
Hahn replied that CW has a process in place for vetting volunteers which includes a back ground check. Hahn stated that there has already been a lot of interest in volunteer opportunities from the community. Hahn sees this drop in center as a model of collaboration; a partnership between the City, a non-profit and community volunteers.
Rohde asked if CW refers youth to Job Council programs.
Hahn replied that CW offers a jobs class for youth. The class covers basic presentation, resume writing, interview skills, and does volunteer placement to build work history and gain experience. CW is also looking at adding a shift at their candle factory which could serve as an opportunity for youth to gain work experience and references.
Council Liaison Morris asked what CW needed from the City in order to make this proposal a reality?
Hahn replied that CW needed a lease agreement for a set period of time so that they could develop a multi-year plan.
Hopkins-Powell/Rohde m/s: The Homeless Steering Committee Endorses the Community Works Grove Day-use/ Drop-in Center proposal in concept knowing that there will be some changes.
Lewis stated that he likes the proposal but would like to hear from the parks department about how they will deal with the 29 classes that are currently offered at the Grove. Lewis feels that that will be the biggest impact to the community and that is where the pushback will come from.
Rhode stated that he strongly backs the proposal, but cautioned the committee members not to lose sight of the other goal of creating a day use center for homeless adults. Rohde sees the committee’s ongoing involvement with this program as a way to advance the other day-use center.
Parker stated that she would like to see added to the plan an exit strategy should the concept not succeed and maybe some evaluation criteria for the program and a time period for that evaluation.
Hopkins-Powell stated that she has been asking to have more done with the Grove- it would be appropriate for the Grove to be used for youth populations as it was originally intended. At Uncle Foods the youth keep themselves separate from the adults, they really need a separate space.
Roll call vote-Motion passes unanimously.
Parker will send the Mayor a letter Morris will talk to the City Administrator.
Agenda Item #3: Review and comment on charge for HSC from Mayor Stomberg:
Ayars had a question about charge number three; (Recognize that homeless issues in the Downtown Area overlap with, but are distinct from, behavior issues in the Downtown
.) Ayars asked if the charge’s interpretation is that the HSC should only deal with the homeless issues, not the behavior issues?
Rohde asked if the charge belonged in the scope of work. It comes back to the discussion about dealing with behaviors rather than populations.
Hopkins-Powell wondered if it had anything to do with the exclusionary zone. Did it mean that the HSC should leave behavior issues aside?
Lewis stated that he felt that the behavior issue is a legal issue regardless of where they sleep.
Parker stated that what she is hearing is that the other committee members feel that charge number three does not apply to the committee.
Hopkins-Powell/Rohde m/s to adopt the scope with the omission of charge number three.
Motion passed unanimously.
Agenda Item #4: Report from Sub-committee on winter shelter:
Morris made some calls to find out what the various groups/individuals were planning to provide a cold weather shelter for this winter. Ruth Coulthard stated that right now they (Ruth and the Presbyterian Church) are planning on it but it is still early, they have yet to have an organizational meeting about it. They plan on meeting sometime in November.
Hopkins-Powell mentioned that her church is considering offering another shelter night but that they have some plumbing issues to work out before committing to anything.
Parker asked if the committee members felt that the concept of moving the shelter forward would be a good topic for the next Faith Based Organization (FBO) meeting.
Rohde stated that one thing that was brought up from the last FBO meeting was that there was a need for an organizer to coordinate volunteers for shelters.
Ayers stated that just getting one more church to provide a shelter night this winter would be a great accomplishment.
Hopkins-Powell felt that even that may be challenging to accomplish by November.
Reid suggested that there may be other buildings within the community that are not churches which may be used as an overnight shelter.
Rohde suggested that the committee make a modest suggestion to the FBO’s to see if one church group could step forward for one day and say that the HSC would find the volunteers.
It was decided that the HSC would look at arranging another FBO meeting prior to the Council study session update in October. A discussion will be on the agenda for the next meeting.
Update on the donation boxes: Lewis stated that the chamber is reviewing designs and a change has been proposed. As soon as a new box design is agreed upon and they are reinstalled the Chamber will do a bigger P.R. campaign around them.
Parker reported that she has not had any updates about the shower truck.
Hopkins-Powell reported that the listening post has added a second day at the library so Listing Post volunteers will be available at that location on Monday’s from 10:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. and Wednesday’s from 3:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M. There also looking at adding some time at the senior center.
Next meeting: September 12, 2012 4:00-6:00 P.M.
Respectfully Submitted by Linda Reid, Housing Program Specialist