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Housing and Human Services Commission (View All)

Housing and Human Services Regular Meeting

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Ashland Housing and Human Services Commission
Draft Minutes November 20, 2014
Acting Chair Heidi Parker called the meeting to order at 4:30 pm in the Lithia Room at the Community Development and Engineering Offices located at 51 Winburn Way, Ashland OR 97520.
Commissioners Present: Council Liaison
Joshua Boettiger-arrived at 5:20 Pam Marsh-absent
Heidi Parker  
Connie Saldana-arrived at 5:15 SOU Liaison
Regina Ayars Andrew Ensslin-arrived at 4:45
Sue Crader  
Rich Rohde Staff Present:
Gina DuQuenne Linda Reid, Housing Specialist
Commissions Absent: Carolyn Schwendener, Admin Clerk
Coriann Matthews Leslie Gore, Housing Program Assistant
Michael Gutman  
Approval of Minutes
Rohde/Ayers m/s to approve the minutes of the October 23, 2014 Housing and Human Services Commission meeting and the November 7, 2014 Strategic Plan sub-committee meeting.  Voice Vote:  All Ayes; minutes were approved as presented.
John Wieczorek was present but requested to speak on a later agenda item, Housing Trust Fund-Update and Discussion.
Marianne Degoede brought in pamphlets about small sheds to share with the Commissioners. She emphasized they would be a good option for the homeless to live in on public areas. The sheds are 10 x 12 and currently on clearance at Home Depot for $2,700.  They come assembled with free delivery. Ms. Degoede would like to see a permanent solution for the homeless and these sheds would provide that possibility.
The Commissioners commended her for her innovative idea and acknowledged it is something worth discussing in the future.
The City Council requested that the Commission make a few revisions to the language in the Strategic Plan priority goal and implementation sections. The following are the items the Commissioners discussed along with their suggested changes.
  1. With regard to identified priority goals:
The Council asked that the language be less specific and broader to be more inclusive of other housing related activities that may come forward for the use of the grant money.
    Instead of using the word subsidies for housing use assistance to obtain or maintain housing.
Language around the Transportation Service; the Council wanted the Commission to be more specific as to whether the priority goal was specific to the expansion of RVTD services and/or bus passes or whether the goal includes other transportation related services, such as transportation offered through agencies.
Supports to increase accessibility and availability to transportation
  1. With regard to identified implementation strategies:
The Council suggested including language about Community collaboration including services that    exist elsewhere in the valley to enhance partnerships. Support proposals that leverage Community collaboration or enhance existing regional services.
The Council would like reporting of the outcome measurements to happen more frequently.
Suggested that the applicants report both annually and at the completion of the grant year.
The Council expressed a preference for larger grants rather than small grants and wanted the Commission to revise the document to reflect this preference.
Though the Commission explored the option to not offer the smaller grants after a discussion it was determined that they were necessary because many agencies have benefited from them.  The question was proposed, “Do applicants apply for small grants because that’s all they think they can get or do they really need more?  Currently there is no minimum or maximum amount that an applicant can apply for.  The Commission thought it would be a good idea to host a grant open house when the Request For Proposal (RFP) goes out in order to explain the grant process to prospective applicants.  Another suggestion was to send an informative letter out with United Way when they solicit for applications. 
Rohde motioned “to have a small grant application process of twenty percent of the total amount open to grants up to $4000.00.”
After a discussion he amended his motion to say “grants up to $5000.00
A discussion followed whether to include the remaining 80 to 100 percent for large grants in the motion.  It was determined that was not necessary because the Commission has the discretion to allocate 100 percent of the monies to any applicant. 
Saldana seconded Rohde’s amended motion
Another discussion followed and Rohde amended his motion once more.  The new motion reads as follows;
Twenty percent of the overall grant allocation is available for small grants.  Should the Commission not receive enough applications for large grants the Commission has the discretion to award any remaining fund balances to the small grants.
Saldana accepted the amendment to the motion.  Voice Vote: All Ayes, motion passed
John Wieczorek, real estate broker and board President for Options for Homeless Residences of Ashland spoke.  Mr. Wieczorek is very interested in the use of the Housing Trust Fund for the purpose of increasing affordable housing.  He stressed there were many options that can be done with the monies, Transitional Housing as well as non profits and private developers.  Mr. Wieczorek recognizes that the fund is lacking a revenue stream.  He suggested the use of a percentage of the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) be devoted to the Housing Trust Fund.
Reid briefly outlined that the Housing Trust Fund was created in 2008 but never had a sustainable funding mechanism.  The Housing Commission worked on this in the past but were not able to find that mechanism.  One suggestion from them was the use of the Business License Rental registry monies.  This has not materialized at this time.  The commission asked Reid to put that topic on the January Agenda. 
Reid offered to send out the TOT Ordinance to all the Commissioners so they could be familiar with what the money is dedicated for at this time.  Generally speaking the TOT money is dedicated to tourism related activities. Reid acknowledged that the City of Bend also has a Housing Trust Fund.  She will do some research on their process and bring the information back to January’s meeting.  Reid will speak with Lee Tuneberg in the City’s Finance Department to find out more about the TOT as well as to see if he would like to come to a future meeting to discuss it.
SOU Liaison Andrew Ensslin reported that though he put together a list of property management places in the Rogue Valley to survey he has been exceptionally busy and not been able to complete the project. He presented a list of eight different property management agencies and some of the Commissioners volunteered to help him with the surveys. 
Ensslin announced that he cannot keep his commitment to the Commission and will be submitting his resignation. His graduate program at SOU has been very intensive and he needs to concentrate on school.  He is hoping that Christy Wright will step into the position on the Commission.  Ensslin hopes to be able to still participate with Christy in other capacities. 
The Commissioners thanked Ensslin for his service on the Commission and the support that he offered. 
Reid conveyed that part of the process of developing the CDBG Consolidated Plan is community engagement.  Reid acknowledged that generally she goes to Agencies and Grantees for input but this year would like to concentrate on the beneficiaries of the grant funded activities.  Flyers will be put in public places, an article was placed in the utility mailer called the City Source to advertise the event and direct mailings will be sent to several beneficiary groups including: mutual self help developments, Snowberry, Wingspread, and Hyde Park.  The event is taking place at the Grove located at 195 E Main on December 5, 2014 between 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm.  Reid is hoping to get feedback from those residences that may be unfamiliar with CDBG and how it has benefited the community.  Reid and Gore (Housing Program Assistant) will take pictures of the projects that CDBG has benefited from as well as a brief synopsis of each project.  Each Commissioner will have a survey and do a one on one with those that attend. 
December Housing and Human Services Commission regular meeting will take place at the Grove located at 195 E Main on December 5, 2014 from 4:00 pm to 6:00pm.
Commissioner Ayars announced there will be an art show at the Ashland Community Resource Center located at 572 Clover Lane  Kay Hagen is the artist and all proceeds will go to support the Resource Center. 
Commissioner Parker said that they are in need of more volunteers for the winter shelters, especially at Pioneer Hall.  The Shelter cannot be open if they don’t have at least two volunteers each night.  Those that would like to volunteer for Pioneer Hall do need to have a background check first.   
ADJOURNMENT - The meeting was adjourned at 6:30 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by Carolyn Schwendener

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