Agendas and Minutes

Housing and Human Services Advisory Committee (View All)

Housing and Human Services Regular Meeting

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Ashland Housing and Human Services Commission
Minutes April 23, 2015
Chair Joshua Boettiger called the meeting to order at 4:30 pm in the Siskiyou Room at the Community Development and Engineering Offices located at 51 Winburn Way, Ashland OR 97520.
Commissioners Present: Council Liaison
Joshua Boettiger  Pam Marsh
Coriann Matthews  
Heidi Parker  SOU Liaison
Regina Ayars Vacant
Sue Crader  
Rich Rohde Staff Present:
Connie Saldana  Linda Reid, Housing Specialist
Commissioners Absent: Leslie Gore, Housing Program Assistant
Gina DuQuenne  

Approval of Minutes
Saldana/Ayars m/s to approval of minutes of the April 2, 2015 Housing and Human Services Commission meeting.  Voice Vote: motion passed unanimously; minutes were approved as presented.
Public Forum
No one was present to speak.
Review Council’s CDBG Funding Decision (added to agenda by request of Commissioner Rohde)
Linda Reid, Housing Specialist reviewed the Council’s allocation of CDBG funds. Commissioner Parker acknowledged the impact of the grant process on individuals on the commission, and expressed the hope that there were no hard feelings. She also had concerns, echoing Councilor Lemhouse, that the commission’s and staff’s recommendations were very different.  Parker wanted to know how often commission’s recommendations were overturned by the council? How much communication is there from staff to the council and if the staff’s recommendations outweigh the commissions and if so, what is the roll of the commission?
Council Liaison Pam Marsh spoke to Parker’s concern speaking to the importance of the commission’s work in the final outcome of the awards. 
The councilors generally accepted the final conclusions but had concerns with the process, and felt the commission’s recommendations were not well represented at the council meeting.   It was noted the commissioner scheduled to be at the meeting was not able to make it.  It was suggested that in the future staff allocate more time for the Commission to review and make recommendations for the CDBG grant award process.
Crader said she appreciated the award for Ashland Supported Housing (ASH).  Crader also mentioned that Interfaith Care Community of Ashland (for which Crader wrote the initial application and received CDBG grant funds to establish a day center for homeless populations) undertook a similar path to that that ORHA is embarked on now and offered to help with grant writing for ORHA. 
Housing Trust Fund Subcommittee Report
Rohde presented the subcommittees’ Housing Trust Fund (HTF) Presentation (to the council’s study session).  The commission reviewed the document.  Rohde explained that the essential piece missing from Ashland’s HTF is a dedicated funding source. He noted that House Bill 2564, regarding inclusionary zoning, has been passed in the house and might provide mechanism to promote a permanent funding source. 
It was concluded that Boettiger would make the presentation to the study session.  The commission discussed edits, generally concerning the order item in the presentation.
Rohde/Matthews m/s, the adoption of the presentation with edits as discussed. Voice vote: motion passed unanimously.
(Matthews offered to attend the Council Meeting in June to represent the Commission when the Social Service recommendations were reviewed)
Report on Inclusionary Zoning Legislation  (Item added to agenda by request of Commissioner Rohde.)
Liaison Reports : 
Council (Pam Marsh): (Marsh had to leave at 5:30 so the liaison report was advanced in the schedule.)
Marsh related the following council actions;
-Set regulations regarding “AirBnB” short term rentals with the hope that they would not displace long term renters.
-The Clay Street property was intended to develop low income housing.  There is public concern about the removal of a “tree of the year” tree.  The council has moved forward with the commitment to sell the parcel of land to the Housing Authority.  The City has been notified that the tree is in failing condition, and while there is conflicting expert opinions, now that the City has been notified about the condition of the tree it is unlikely to be able to stay in public ownership.  Marsh recognized there is a conflict of community values.  There was discussion about the where the revenue for the sale of the property would go, and while the revenue would not be a continuing source the approximate $300,000 would be a good kick start for the HTF.
-The developer of the Normal neighborhood has made a statement that he cannot do the 25% affordable housing requirements, and they are at an impasse at the moment. 
Rental Registry Update:
Leslie Gore, Housing Program Assistant, gave an update of the Rental Registry.  The form presented will be a supplement to the business license renewal.  It requests basic information that will be used to build a database of the rental inventory.  The database would then be used to do additional surveys. 
Review of Council Direction regarding the Student Fair Housing Issue
Reid met with Kristy, the SOU liaison.  Kristy will be moving on but believes Megan is committed to moving forward with applying for the student liaison position and with continuing to work on the student fair housing issue.   Reid advised creating an implementation plan with a time line for presenting to the council.  Including, what other options might mitigate the impact of housing discrimination based on student status other than including student status as a protected class under the City’s fair housing ordinance.  What are the issues for property owners and can anything be done to address these issues.  What are the potential unintended consequences of any suggested policy changes.
Kristy will be submitting the original survey, mailing lists and research.  Reid believes that many of the items the council asked the commission to explore have been addressed but need to be consolidated into a presentable form.  For example; a potential “Ready to Rent” training program for students that could be offered by Louise Dix from the Fair Housing Council of Oregon and Jenea Hass, the SOU professor who deals with landlord tenant law. 
Commissioner Boettiger observed that it was difficult to progress on this issue with the continual turnover of the SOU students, and the commission might proceed without direct SOU involvement.  Parker thought that the trainings would be an effective measure.
Liaison Reports (continued):
Staff (Linda Reid):  Consolidated Plan was adopted. Reid noted that Rich Rosenthal was very complementary. 
General: Boettiger announced that he would be unable to attend the Mayor’s brown bag lunch, and asked if any other commissioner would like to go in his place.
Process of Social Service Grant: (Item added to the agenda at the request of staff)
Reid discussed the process of assessing the Social Service Grants.  There is a spread sheet that the commissioners will fill in the amount of their award, in advance of the meeting.  An average will be taken, with a tentative recommendation.  After the presentations the recommendations will be reviewed.  Reid will also provide a matrix to evaluate the applications.  The matrix will reflect the Strategic Plan priorities.  
It was noted that the United Way application was not very in line with the Strategic Plan and should be redone going forward. 
Quorum Check:
There was discussion about the scheduling and it was decided to add and additional meeting for presentations on May 27th and reserve the regular meeting date (May 28th) for deliberation and recommendations.   
Additional Discussion about the Social Service Grant:
There were questions and replies including:
-This process is for two years. 
-There will not be a staff recommendation and the Commissions will be the only recommendations before the council.
-There are fewer requirements for the Social Service Grants as opposed to the CDBG grants
-There is a restriction on the amount of funding dedicated to public service activities with CDBG grant fund, so the Social Service Program is a better option for many organizations.
-The Strategic Plan states: 20% of the overall grant allocation will be made available to small grants, under 5K. ($26,000)
- The intent was to have grants with bigger impacts.
- The commissioners would like to know the history of the awards.
The meeting was adjourned at 6:00 p.m.
The next meeting will be May 27, 2015 in the Gresham room of the Ashland Public Library, and the regular meeting will be May 28, 2015 in the Siskiyou Room of the Community Development building at 51 Winburn Way .

Respectfully submitted by Leslie Gore

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