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Housing Commission Regular Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

May 22, 2013
Chair Regina Ayars called the meeting to order at 4:00 p.m. at Council Chambers located at 1175 East Main St. Ashland, OR  97520.
Commissioners Present: Council Liaison
Regina Ayars Pam Marsh
Michael Gutman  
Barb Barasa SOU Liaison
Gina DuQuenne Andrew Ensslin
  Staff Present:
Commissioners Absent: Linda Reid, Housing Specialist
  Carolyn Schwendener, Admin Clerk
Gutman/Barasa m/s to approve the minutes of the April 24, 2013 regular Housing Commission meeting. Voice Vote:  All Ayes; minutes were approved as presented. 
Marsh – Marsh gave a report summarizing the discussion that City Council had regarding the merger of the Ad-Hoc Homelessness Steering Committee and the Housing Commission.  The Council renewed the Ad-Hoc Committee for up to twelve months. The City Administrator has requested an update at the July Council meeting on how the prospect of a merger is proceeding.
The City of Ashland requires a business license for property owners who have six or more units.  In the process of amending the business license registry it was suggested to incorporate more landlords. The desire would be to include property owners who have less than five units as well as property owners who have more than one property that total over six units when added together.  The Council at this time is focusing on just the issue of illegal Visitor Accommodations. Marsh explained that when the Visitors Accommodation issues come back to Council with changes to the Business licenses she will make a motion at that time for this issue of rental registry to come forward.
Council is working on the budget process but Marsh did not believe there were any housing issues associated with that. In the draft money there is money designated for a Homeless Day center request for proposal (RFP).  Deadline for submittals is this Friday May 24th.  A compliance officer has also been added to this year’s budget with the intent to increase the ability to deal with code compliance. 
Reid – Reid mentioned that at the Homeless Task Force meeting yesterday they discussed Project Community Connect which is coming up at the end of this month. The Medford police department has donated quite a few bicycles as well as receiving the left over bicycles from the Ashland Bike Swap (approximately 19 bikes).  From that meeting volunteers came forward to offer their assistance with any bicycles that might need repaired. Reid informed the Commission that Peter, the man from Portland with the program called “Showers to the People,” will not be able to attend.  He is no longer operating due to lack of donations.  He also had some issues surrounding where he parked.  It was determined the cost to bring Peter down to the event would exceed five hundred dollars and the planning committee did not budget for that.  Reid reminded everyone that the event takes place at the Medford Armory which does have showers.  The committee will check into seeing if using them would be a possible next year.  
Ensslin – Ensslin met with Evan Lasley, past Housing Commission member who developed the questions for the Student Fair Housing Survey that will go to the Student Body.  Ensslin is working with ASSOU student government to have the Communications Director get the survey out to the student body. We should be able to get the feedback from the students who respond by the end of the term, stated Ensslin. The survey will be open for about three weeks.   Ensslin will bring back the results and present at the June 26th Housing Commission meeting. 
No one spoke
Ayars summarized the May 8th joint Homeless Steering/Housing Commission meeting and explained that an action item came out of that meeting.  Each group will select two people to work on a subcommittee.  Reid received direction to put together a draft ordinance.  The ordinance is currently being reviewed by Bill Molnar, Community Development Director. After his feedback the ordinance will go to the subcommittee for their review and then the ordinance will come back to each of the individual groups.  The Legal department will also review the ordinance before it goes to Council.  The goal is to see the ordinance make it to City Council by August.  Both Ayars and DuQuenne have agreed to be part of the subcommittee. 
Ayars called attention to an article she read in the paper regarding the proposal for the Eugene homeless village. They are planning a hundred and twenty day pilot program.  The idea is to create something comparable to Opportunity Village in Portland.
Barasa is interested in putting together a brochure for tenants to help answer specific questions regarding tenant rights and responsibilities. A website is a good choice but Barasa is somewhat concerned for those who do not have access to computers or the internet.  The Commissioners discussed other ways to get the information out to the public.  Reid suggested reproducing the website page as a handout with the resource information. Reid and Barasa will work together to create a page on the City’s website.  This page will offer information that deals with issues that come up most frequently with tenant and landlords giving them resource information.  Reid and Barasa will give an update at the next Housing Commission meeting. 
Louise Dix works for Fair Housing and Reid will ask her to come to the June Housing Commission meeting.  Barasa wrote a letter addressed to the Budget Committee in support of reinstating the position of a code compliance officer.  The Commission agreed it was important to show their support.   
Gina/Gutman m/s to approve the letter that Barasa wrote to the Budget Committee.  All Ayes, motion passed unanimously. 
Ensslin survey results
Reid and Barasa will give an update on the landlord tenant webpage
Report from the joint subcommittee meeting with recommendations and ordinance review
Reid will give an update on the Project Community Connect event
Reid will give an update on the RFP and check to see if Lousie Dix can attend the meeting
Next Housing Commission Regular Meeting
4:00-5:45 PM; May 22, 2013
ADJOURNMENT - The meeting was adjourned at 5:15 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by Carolyn Schwendener

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