November 26,, 2012
Ad-Hoc Homelessness Steering Committee
4:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Ayars, Parker, O’Bryon, Hopkins-Powell, Sohl, Rohde, Lewis, Morris (Council liaison)
Corriann Matthews, Fran Adams, and Loraine
Agenda Item #1: Call to Order
Hopkins-Powell called the meeting to order at 4:05 p.m.
Agenda Item #2: Approval of Minutes
Parker/O’Bryon m/s to approve the minutes with corrections and the clarification that Reid will talk with Chief Holderness about stats on veteran’s arrests. Voice Vote-Motion passed unanimously.
Agenda Item #3: Discussion of Member Recruitment from the School District
Lewis stated that his thought on this topic was that if the Ad Hoc Committee should continue that the committee should look at adding someone from the school district, someone from the counseling center or someone who works with homeless youth. Hopkins-Powell stated that she will follow up with the SOU student government visitor from the last meeting who expressed an interest in joining the Steering Committee. Hopkins-Powell also asked Corriann Matthews, Homeless Youth Street Outreach Worker for Community Works, who was present at the meeting, whether she has considered joining the committee since she attends the meetings regularly and works with homeless youth. Matthews stated that she would look into it.
Agenda Item #4: Winter Shelter Update
The Episcopal Church hosted three people on their first shelter night. The First Presbyterian Church reports that they had between 3 and 9 people (actual # yet to be confirmed) on their first shelter night of the winter. No new update at this time from the Unitarian Church on whether they would be able to host a weekly or emergency shelter. The press release regarding the additional shelter night and the volunteer training went out last week and was picked up by both newspapers. Lewis posted the press release on the Chamber website and Reid posted it on the City website. Sohl was able to get a flyer of the event distributed to all of the interfaith leaders. Audience member Adams announced that Options for Homeless Residents of Ashland, (OHRA) the new non-profit that formed out of the coalition, at their last meeting the board decided to support the shelter efforts initiated by the HSC, the board members have divided up the list of faith leaders and are working on doing some outreach to them. Adams has also been getting the word out about the volunteer training. Hopkins-Powell added that what really helped turn the tide for Trinity in making the decision on whether or not to hold a shelter was the training information. Since a representative from OHRA was present Rohde asked if Adams could provide a quick overview about OHRA and its mission. Adams reported that OHRA came out of the coalition meeting; many of them felt that critical services were missing. A group of people got together and started a non-profit. Currently the non-profit is piggy backing on Peace House’s non-profit status while they are working on attaining independent non-profit status. The mission of OHRA is to assist the homeless and extremely poor residents of Ashland and Talent. The board consists of five people; Carolyn Anderson, Leigh Madsen, Keith Haxton, Adams, and John Wieczorek. The OHRA board is considering initial priorities which may include transitional housing or perhaps a work voucher program. The board would like to support the day/resource center in whatever way they can and they would like to support the winter shelter effort. Ayars asked if OHRA had any plans on working on the annual homeless count. Adams stated that she would not be able to this year but did ask Voisin to bring it up at the next coalition meeting.
Agenda Item #5: Veteran’s Court sub-committee report/update
O’Bryon reported that she spoke with Judge Burkholder briefly about the need and potential for a veteran’s court in Ashland. Judge Burkholder felt that there was not enough need in Ashland and suggested that O’Bryon and Lewis contact Municipal Judge Hutchinson. Reid reported that she spoke with the secretary at the District Attorney’s office to see if the County had any stats on Veteran’s going through the court system. They did not have any information, because that information would be collected by law enforcement not the court system, the secretary also stated that the group would need to decide at what point the intervention would take place. Reid thought that these may be questions to ask of the Klamath program. O’Bryon stated that it might be beneficial to arrange a meeting with both Judge Burkholder and Judge Hutchinson. O’Bryon also felt that a big part of the program would be education; the individual veterans who are going through the legal system would need to apply to be accepted into the diversion program, the intervention would be after arrest and initiated by the individual. Lewis will check with Councilor Lemhouse to see when he would be available to go to Klamath.
Agenda Item #6: Parking Lot item Review and Discussion
An agenda item which was suggested at the last meeting but which Reid failed to include in the agenda as provided was a review and discussion of the proposal items which were not forwarded to the council or acted upon but were placed in the parking lot for potential action. Hopkins-Powell went over the parking lot items which include: Mobile Hospitality Center, Jobs programs, showers, and Car Camping. Hopkins-Powell asked Lewis if he could provide an update at this time regarding the donation boxes. Lewis stated that the donation boxes were expected to be re-installed in about two weeks. Collections will happen at least once a week. Depending on how well the initial re-installed box does the others will be re-installed as well shortly thereafter.
Hopkins-Powell reminded the committee members that the Parking lot discussion was intended to review items that have been accomplished and those which the HSC members might wish to pursuit over the next few months. The Committee members went around the room and expressed their preference. O’Bryon pointed out that across the county there is a lot of support for car camping and it doesn’t take a lot of money. Ayars stated that not all of these activities would require council approval for action; Ayars felt that the best option would be the car park. Councilor Morris stated that he found the car park to be an intriguing idea; he felt that there would be a lot of facilities that need to go with such an activity. He has noticed around town that there are a lot of people who are currently car camping. Morris wondered what impact the resource center would have on this population. Morris also pointed out that a discussion about the porta-potty was on the council look ahead for the December 4th
meeting. Sohl liked the car camping idea, Lewis felt that it had merit as well, but finding the space for it and someone to manage it will be the difficulty. Lewis felt that a car camp would be more complicated than it initially appears. Lewis agreed with Morris, he has seen a lot of people sleeping in their cars around town. Hopkins-Powell has spoken with several single women who are sleeping in their cars and felt that it is a real safety issue for single women. Rohde stated that his priority would be a jobs program, but he would change his priority to support the car camp since that is what the general consensus of the group has been. Parker like the idea of focusing on showers in the interim until the resource center becomes available. Parker also felt that car camping was a good idea, but felt that the jobs topic seems too large. Matthews stated that she felt that a car camp would be a good thing, but her priority would be showers. She felt that showers in the winter time are really important. Finding shower facilities would be her priority at least until the resource center opens. Adams stated that the parking lot at the Grove seems like a great place for a car camp. A porta-potty could be provided if the City did not want to make its restrooms available.
The three priorities for the HSC for the next few months will be:
Veteran’s Court-O’Bryon, Lewis
Showers-Sohl, Rhode, Parker, Matthews
Car Camping-Ayars, Hopkins-Powell, Parker
Hopkins-Powel asked that anyone who has previous research on these topics please try to get that information to the appropriate people.
Agenda Item #6: Announcements/Public Comments
Next meeting: December 12, 2012 4:00-6:00 P.M.
The Jackson County Homeless Task force is planning to meet quarterly in Ashland, Also the Continuum of Care grant applications to serve homeless populations will be coming out soon, those grant applications will be processed through the HTF. Lastly, the annual homeless count is coming up and the HTF will be seeking volunteers to conduct the street and shelter counts here in Ashland.
Respectfully Submitted by Linda Reid, Housing Program Specialist