April 11, 2012
Ad hoc Homelessness Steering Committee
4:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Ayars, Parker, O’Bryon, Hopkins-Powell, Lewis, Rohde, Saldana, Voisin (Council liaison) Slattery (Council liaison) Reid (City staff)
Agenda Item #1: Call to Order
Parker called the meeting to order at 4:05 p.m.
Agenda Item #2: Approval of Minutes
Rohde/Hopkins-Powell moved to approve the minutes as presented. Voice Vote-Motion passed unanimously.
Agenda Item #3: Debrief from the Council Meeting
Parker congratulated the committee members on the great presentation and asked the committee members if they would like to speak about the meeting.
Ayars commented that the council was much more receptive to the HSC than the first time that HSC came before them. She felt that the HSC now is a much more cohesive group and were given sufficient time to speak.
Rhode stated that he thought that the strongest piece of the presentation was the organization, but also felt that the quality of the presentation really reflected the hard work that has been done by the Committee members over the past year.
Lewis felt that the balance of sentiment and rational was great.
Hopkins-Powell thanked Council Slattery for the great statement that he made.
Slattery stated that anything that we continue to do is better than doing nothing. He felt that they did a very nice job of telling the story. The quarterly report will be really important.
Lewis stated that the HSC should start writing things down for the quarterly report as they go rather than rushing to put something together at the last moment.
Agenda Item #5: Joint Study Session with city council
Parker stated that she spoke with City Administrator David Kanner, who was looking at the June 4th
date to hold the joint Homeless Steering Committee/City Council study session.
Both council liaisons encouraged the HSC members to bring forward questions/items for discussion at the study session.
Hopkins-Powell stated that in the first meeting the HSC was unclear in their role, now the HSC is beginning to get some clarity as to the charge. This study session should help the HSC and the council clarify their responsibilities and expectations so that they can move forward in concert.
Agenda Item #4: Adding new members
Parker asked each member to think of some people who might be good candidates to fill the vacant seats in the Committee. Parker will then submit those names to the Mayor. The committee discussed the process for being appointed. The original members were recruited directly by the Mayor. Those names submitted by the Committee members will be considered by the Mayor, however, if someone wanted to join the Committee they could submit a letter of interest to the Mayor. They would have to be approved by the City Council before being appointed.
Rohde mentioned that it was important for the applicants to understand the amount of work and commitment involved in the work that the committee is undertaking.
Item not on the agenda: Frequency of Meetings
Parker asked whether the committee members wanted to continue on the same twice monthly meeting schedule or move to a once a month meeting schedule going forward.
Rohde stated that he would like to continue meeting twice a month as the Committee has good momentum at the moment and if they met less frequently they might lose some of the momentum.
A majority of the committee members were in agreement and it was decided to continue with the existing twice monthly meeting schedule.
Agenda Item #6: Reports
Agenda Item #7: Sub-Committees
Salvation Army- No update at this time
Day-Use Center- Ayars feels that the group has exhausted the all of the potential properties for a day use center in the commercial zones and would like to start looking at properties in mixed use zones. If they could find a property in a mixed zone then they could have retail/day use center space on the ground floor and the residential space can be used as transitional housing which would have the added advantage of allowing the non-profit that runs the day use center to apply for a Housing Trust Fund grant. Ayars reminded the Committee that they couldn’t go too far without a provider. Hopkins-Powell added that the HSC has been so focused on the downtown rather than the South end of town. There are issues of homelessness on the South end of town as well; maybe the Committee should look at getting some people on the Committee who live and work on that side of town.
Community Service Option/Judge interview- Voisin and Coyner met with Judge Pam Burkholder and Assistant City attorney Doug McGeary regarding the diversion program. They explained that recently the State reduced the fee that they charge for citations from $125.00 to $40.00. Judge Burkholder commented that community service is always available and that she has been giving more community service hours in the last year. The city cannot waive the State’s fee.
Community Forum- Audience member Seles has looked into hosting community forum with a panel. Mary Ferrell, Executive Director of Maslow Project has stated that she would be available to be on the panel. Other agencies/organizations which could be represented on the panel could be the VA, Mental Health, Police dept., faith based community and the Chamber. The forum would look at breaking down the myths of homelessness. It would be nice to hold it in mid or Late May. Parker suggested looking at creating a subcommittee to work on planning a forum.
Outreach to the Faith Community-Hopkins-Powell stated that there is already a group working within the faith community to convene a meeting of the various church groups. Rohde mentioned that this is how ICC began, from a place of listening to the various church groups on what they are experiencing. There was a suggestion that the committee could put together a questionnaire to poll the various groups to see what services they would be willing to offer.
Exclusionary Zone Recommendation- During a meeting with Judge Burkholder and Assistant City Attorney, Doug McGeary, Councilor Voisin got some feedback on the proposed Exclusionary Zone. The City of Medford’s ordinance does not trespass for citations from camping. It was stated that any exclusionary zone ordinance will have to be revised to work for Ashland. Committee members agreed that they would like to review the draft ordinance before it goes to council and wondered if the HSC would have the opportunity to review the draft ordinance and make recommendations to the council regarding the language. Rohde stated that he would like to see a more public process in the development of such an ordinance. To bring together groups within the community to come up with a solution, would like to see a broader public process with such a controversial topic. O’Bryon stated that maybe that is the frame that the HSC should put forward regarding the development of the Exclusionary Zone Ordinance. That the HSC would like to see a broader community based input. O’Bryon also suggested that a name change would be preferable like a “Downtown Code of Conduct” rather than exclusionary zone.
Parker and Seles had a meeting with Mary Ferrell, Executive Director of Maslow Project. Their Medford location serves as a day use center for homeless youth. It has laundry facilities, clothing, and an area for food preparation. Maslow employs social workers that offer counseling services to clients. Maslow only works with homeless populations under 21. They work with clients on average for 18 months to two years. Maslow has not seen good results from mixing homeless youth under 21 and older homeless populations. Recently Maslow has been coordinating with the Medford police dept. with regard to ticketing homeless youth for camping. Instead the police will put the youth in contact with Maslow who will then work to find a temporary home for that youth. Maslow has found that the youth that they are working with do not want to stay in the shelter; they prefer to find a temporary placement within the community. Maslow is seeing more clients who used to be donors. Maslow recently added a case worker at the Ashland School District with funding from an anonymous donor. Ferrell cautioned the Committee members about starting a new 501C due to the high administrative responsibilities of staffing a board and fundraising. Instead she suggested looking at umbrella organizations like the Jackson County Community Services Consortium or the RV through the Medford Chamber.
Parker also attended a presentation put on by the founders of Hospitality House in Grass Valley which is a roving sleeping shelter. The presentation was very informative. More information can be found at their website: www.hospitalityhouseshleter.org
Next meeting: April 30, 2012 4:00-6:00 P.M.
Lithia Room, Community Development Building 51 Winburn Way
Respectfully Submitted by Linda Reid, Housing Program specialist