March 25, 2013
Ad-Hoc Homelessness Steering Committee
4:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Ayars, Parker, Saldana, Rohde, Lewis, Marsh (Council liaison), Reid (Staff)
Hopkins-Powell, OíBryon, Sohl
Wendy Eppinger, Veronica Harnish
Agenda Item #1: Call to Order
Rohde called the meeting to order at 4:20 p.m.
Agenda Item #2: Approval of Minutes
Ayars/Saldana m/s to approve the minutes with the corrections, Voice Vote-Motion passed unanimously.
Agenda Item #3: Committee Restructure and Name Discussion:
Council Liaison Marsh spoke to the committee about a proposal to merge the Homelessness Steering Committee with the Housing Commission (HC). This idea is proposed for a few reasons; the ad hoc committee cannot continue to be renewed on an annual basis indefinitely, and there is a lot of opposition to creating another permanent commission. Marsh gave three main ideas around transitioning the sub-committee into the housing commission. Ask for a one year extension to accomplish three tasks and work on the transition of the committee/commission.
Act as a sounding board throughout the RFP process, and work with the agency that is awarded the RFP.
There are current and ongoing projects; the next year would be used to further or complete those projects.
Work with the Housing Commission on a transition, to expand the scope of the HC to include new powers and duties that address the charge and scope of work of the restructured Homelessness Steering Committee. Marsh proposes a one year period in which the committee and the commission get together.
Lewis stated that he thinks whatever the structure, homelessness not be the focus of it; the issues of poverty in the community, and the in world are more complex than homelessness. The word homeless has come to have a negative connotation. There are a lot of people who qualify for services who should be connected to services without being stigmatized.
Saldana suggested creating a human services committee.
Rohde liked the idea of a gradual phase in-but isnít sure about the third year piece. Rohde wondered how the HC might feel about this; they seem to have a lot to do as it is.
Committee member Ayars who is also the current chair of the HC, stated that this idea has been talked about a few times with the HC. Ayars stated that most of the current HC members are on the commission because they have an interest in issues of affordable housing. The HC does seem like the most logical commission for this committee to merge into. Currently the HC has two vacancies. The Housing Commission has set goals for this year, some of the current HC members may have concerns that homelessness issues would take over, but Ayars thinks that the merger may be a possibility.
Rohde stated that is seemed to him that the best part of the proposal would be the transitional year, which gives that committee members the opportunity to oversee the new agency as the project gears up and which would give the HC and the HSC committee a year to blend their mission and charges together.
Parked stated that the she felt that the restructured committee/commission should focus on issues of poverty. The Eugene St. Vincent De Paul works with the City of Eugeneís Housing and Human Services Committee. This committee also works on employment issues. Parker does have one concern; it took the HSC two years to get clear direction on a scope of work. If the two groups get put together, there will need to be clear direction.
Saldana has been involved in a number of processes where two groups were combined where the two groups didnít necessarily want to be combined. A helpful process was to get the groups together to discuss their worst fears about merging and their best hopes for merging. If the goals of the groups are two dissimilar then the merge isnít a good idea, but Saldana believes that it is important to maintain good communication throughout the process.
Marsh stated that the HSC renewal was scheduled to be discussed at the Council Study Session on Monday April 1. If this group has an interest in this transition it would be great to have a statement from this group.
Rohde summarized the proposal for the group; a one year transition to bring together two groups, the Housing Commission and the Homelessness Steering Committee, into a Housing and Human Services Commission.
Lewis/Saldana m/s to direct staff to draft a statement and send it out to the group for approval. Motion passed unanimously. The group could provide feedback and editorial suggestions before Reid forwards it on to Marsh to bring to the Study Session.
Audience member Eppinger wondered if the efforts of the Committee would be diluted by joining the other commission.
Audience member Harnish added that other Cites have similar committees, from a homeless perspective; having a group at the City continuing to work toward providing resources is better than not having one.
Reid mentioned that the issues of poverty, homelessness, and affordable housing have many intersections.
Saldana added that one strategy identified in Jackson Countyís 10- Year Plan to end Homelessness is the provision of affordable housing, further the main reason cited for homelessness in the annual point-in-time count is the inability to afford housing.
Marsh anticipates that the transition process would take between 6 to 12 months.
Agenda Item #4: Sub-Committee Reports:
Winter Shelter report/update
Parker presented the invitation letter that she drafted to send out to the shelter organizers and volunteers. The letter was approved by the committee with minor alterations, including the time: from 3:30 to 5:30 with refreshments from 5 P.M. on. The committee discussed what items should be on the agenda; Final shelter numbers, feedback, good stories, concerns and what could be done differently next year, evaluation, next steps, plan a start date for next year and how the community could get to seven shelter nights a week. It was suggested that Rohde facilitate the meeting.
Veteranís Court sub-committee report/update
Lewis reported that the sub-committee has decided not to have lunch with Judge Turner. She has provided her opinion, that a veteranís court is not necessary at the City level, but would be more appropriate for the county. Saldana suggested that a next step may be for the sub-committee members to get in contact with the Veterans subcommittee of the Jackson Co. Homeless Task Force to talk with them about what is going on with the Vetís court at the county level.
Car Park report/update
The Car Park Sub-Committee (Ayars, Parker, and Hopkins-Powell) met with Chief Holderness to discuss the proposal of having a pilot program where single women and single women with children can park in the Police Station Parking lot. Chief Holderness felt that the only issues would be the legality of the program only serving women, liability insurance, Chief Holderness suggested that the sub-committee check with the City attorney. The sub-committee also felt that the program would need a coordinator, that there needs to be some hard data on the number of single women and women with children who are living in their cars. The Point in Time count data suggests that there are two women with children and eight to ten single women currently living in cars. The sub-committee will continue moving forward with this proposal.
No update from the sub-committee- Audience member Harnish suggested that the committee look at a portable shower program in Portland called shower to the people.
Additional item on the agenda:
Conceptual RFP additions-Councilor Marsh has made some alterations to the initial conceptual RFP presented to the HSC at their last meeting based on the feedback she received from the committee members and from agencies. Marsh went over the proposed changes with the committee members and stated that the final proposed RFP will be discussed at the council Study Session this coming Monday (April 1st
Agenda Item #5: Announcements/Public Comments
Next meeting: April 10, 2013 4:00-6:00 P.M.
Respectfully Submitted by Linda Reid, Housing Program Specialist