March 13, 2013
Ad-Hoc Homelessness Steering Committee
4:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Ayars, Parker, O’Bryon, Sohl, Soldana, Rohde, Lewis, Hopkins-Powell
Marsh (Council liaison), Reid (Staff)
Sue Crader, Wendy Eppinger, Corriann Matthews, John Wieczorek, Keith Haxton, Fran Adams, Veronica Harnish
Agenda Item #1: Call to Order
Sara Hopkins-Powell called the meeting to order at 4:00 p.m.
Agenda Item #2: Approval of Minutes
Parkers/Saldana m/s to approve the minutes with the corrections, Voice Vote-Motion passed unanimously.
Agenda Item #3: conceptual RFP overview and discussion:
Newly appointed council liaison, Pam Marsh gave a brief overview of the City’s recent RFP process and how she came to work on drafting the conceptual RFP for the HELP center. Councilor Marsh went over the main points that were taken into account in developing the conceptual RFP:
The 50K is intended to be flexible-not just for space.
The center is seen as coordinating rather than providing the services identified within the RFP
The RFP contains a non-facility option because it seemed like finding a site in this real-estate market seemed to be a huge obstacle. This option can be a non-one site, one unit, maybe a mobile model or could utilized borrowed facilities not unlike the current winter shelter model that has regular church and city locations. This option would help to get something started that could evolve over time and potentially acquire a regular site, instead of stopping the forward momentum.
The council asked that it come back to this group and to service providers to get feedback.
Hopkins-Powell provided a brief recap of what she believes the conceptual RFP is looking for; potentially a distributive model, seeking an organization that can be a coordinator of services rather than having the staff to provide services.
Saldana added that she continues to hear that there is a need for showers but that in general she likes this model.
Audience member Haxton commented that he liked the new conceptual RFP, but suggested that the language regarding hours of operation read “not less than 20hrs a week.”
Audience member Harnish stated that she believes that this would be possible for under 50K, that there are a lot of resources that could be utilized differently. People could register through the service provider and receive a flex pass radio frequency card that could be used to provide the various resources such as showers and laundry or whatever service. Using a card of this sort would create a track-able metric. The post office has general delivery for mail, the library has internet access, and phone charging, referral to other agencies could be done with a board at the DHS office, with 211 homeless people can access services with one or two clicks.
Rohde stated that he felt that this RFP is a good step forward, but feels that there is still more to do, maybe this should be a transitional transition facility that will evolve.
Audience member Wieczorek advocated for a day use center that is site based, because sometimes people just need a place to get out of the weather and sit down for a while.
Audience member Sue Crader spoke about her history with the former Interfaith Care Community of Ashland (ICCA) and the establishment of that organization. Sue shared her perspective because she couldn’t help but notice that there were a lot of similarities to the original impetus for establishing ICCA. ICCA was established by local faith based organizations to pool funds in order to streamline the process of addressing requests by community members for assistance. ICCA started in a space donated by Trinity Episcopal Church for 20 hours a week. It quickly became apparent that 20 hours a week was not enough; people would be waiting outside the door before ICCA opened. The program was then moved to Seventh Day Adventist Church and was open 40 hours a week. Sue was the only staff member initially; she was the case manager and wrote grants, including CDBG grants that eventually helped ICCA purchase a permanent location. She felt like 50K is low end for this type of activity, that the activity really needs to get someone who has some case management experience because they will be seeing a wide variety of people. The individual is key, one question is; does this activity have the support from the faith based community?
Hopkins-Powell replied that she didn’t think that there was as much support for this sort of activity currently as there was back then.
Staff Liaison Reid read some e-mail responses received regarding the conceptual RFP (see attached). Reid also stated that she spoke with Jackie Agee from the Salvation Army, earlier this week and that Jackie indicated that Salvation Army did not intend to respond to an RFP at this time citing the need to focus on their existing programs.
Ayars felt that the term qualified non-profit needed to be clarified. Ayars agreed with Wieczorek that there really needs to be a location and pointed out that even a mobile unit needs to have a location.
O’Bryon stated that she is really pleased to see this framework put forward and that the day center option is being kept open. O’Bryon thinks that it is important for people to have a place to go where they can connect with community members and with peers.
Audience Member Corriann Matthews stated that she spoke with Ginger Hawn, the CEO of the organization that Corriann works for, Community Works, (CW) and that CW would be interested in putting forward a proposal. CW is already offering some of the services identified in the RFP through their Street Outreach program. Matthews also stated that there would be some interest in having a mobile unit, the 50K would be tight but could be doable.
Hopkins-Powell stated that she likes the idea of a distributive model for services. She went on to state that maybe this is the way that this activity could grow in Ashland. Hopkins-Powell also believed that the person who will be working with the service users is the important piece, even if there was just some office space to meet with people to do deep case management; at this point Hopkins Powell is really looking for a small victory.
Lewis felt that the HSC should let the council know that they like the conceptual RFP, and that the group would like to see a more complete RFP to better evaluate it. Something with a basic job description for the case manager/help center coordinator.
Rohde would like to support the concept and move it forward.
Parker stated that the group needed to remember that a help center is not the end to all of the needs that there is still a lot of work to do. Parker felt that if the committee is still in existence, that the group would be glad to be part of the review of any proposals submitted in response to this RFP.
Agenda Item #4: Debrief from the Council meeting:
The Committee members thanked Lewis for presenting the quarterly report to the Council on behalf of the committee: All felt that Lewis did a great job. Overall the members felt that the report went well.
At the Council meeting, the Council asked Lewis if the Committee wished to be renewed. Lewis was unable to answer that question and speak for the other members as this topic had not previously been discussed.
Hopkins-Powell stated that the question was; is there any desire to speak up as to whether the committee should continue?
Rohde stated that he thought the group should continue, but stated that he does not need to personally continue.
Ayars, stated that she believed that there needs to be a group to work on these issues, but agrees with Rohde, that it may be time to appoint or re-appointing new members.
Saldana thinks that the work should continue, doesn’t see why it shouldn’t continue.
O’Bryon stated that the group should reflect on all of the work that the committee has accomplished. O’Bryon stated that the group needed to recognize and help the city recognize that the accomplishments are the result of taking on the challenges presented by the City Council, the group has been dedicated. We have seen a lot manifest
Parker stated that when she thinks back on all of the work that the group done, she would hate to see it go, but to add to what has already been done would be great. It has taken a lot of energy; it feels really important to have the value of the work be acknowledged by the community and by the Council. Parker thinks the work is valuable.
Lewis agreed with O’Bryon, felt that group could be restructured, felt that there is a need in Ashland for social services and a way to connect people to services. Lewis felt that the focus of the committee needs to be broader than just homelessness.
Hopkins-Powell feels that the City needs more capacity for social services and needs to collaborate with Medford agencies. Something needs to continue.
Agenda Item #3: Sub-Committee Reports:
Winter Shelter report/update
Audience member Wieczorek reported that Pioneer Hall hosted a record number of overnight visitors last week, 19. Hopkins-Powell reported that Trinity has been steadily hosting 19 to 20 overnight visitors. Parker reported that the Presbyterian Church also been seeing an average of 20 people a night. Parker also reported that there were still volunteer slots available at Pioneer Hall, but that all of the other sites are filled for volunteers for the rest of the shelter season (Nov.-Apr.).
It was suggested that the HSC schedule a debrief meeting for all of the shelter providers and volunteers to talk about what was accomplished, compile all of the shelter reports, and plan for next shelter season. Parker will draft a letter. Reid will reserve the Gresham Room, and reschedule the last meeting in April from Monday April 22nd
to Monday April 29th
Veteran’s Court sub-committee report/update
Lewis, O’Bryon, and Councilor Lemhouse had a breakfast meeting with Paul Skinner from the VA. O’Bryon spoke with Judge Turner over the phone. Judge Turner has been talking with Municipal court Judge Haberlack in Medford who has office hours set aside for Vets. Turner believes that there is a need for a vet’s court at a municipal level but not necessarily at the local level. O’Bryon wanted to add that Judge Turner in their phone conversation stated that the community needed to find a place to send the Vet’s for follow up.
Car Park report/update
After visiting Eugene, sub-committee members felt like the group needs to go in a different direction, something more decentralized. The Eugene SVDP people felt that the City would need to start small, three cars, some facilities; bathrooms, trashcans. Parker wondered if the committee is not going to be renewed is there any reason to move forward with this proposal? Maybe the focus should be on a program just for women or families with children and maybe at the police station parking lot. It was stated that there would still need to be a bathroom facility though.
Parker made some progress on contacting the school district regarding hosting a shower program at Lincoln school. Parker needs to talk to the facilities manager. Saturday would be the best day, volunteers and liability insurance would need to be coordinated. Parker estimates that it would cost several hundred dollars to rent the use of the showers plus insurance, and some organization to enter into a contract for the facility lease.
Agenda Item #5: Announcements/Public Comments
Next meeting: March 25, 2013 4:00-6:00 P.M.
Siskiyou Room of the Community Development Building
Respectfully Submitted by Linda Reid, Housing Program Specialist