Agendas and Minutes

Housing and Human Services Advisory Committee (View All)

Housing and Human Services Commission Regular Meeting

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Ashland Housing and Human Services Commission
Minutes October 22, 2015
Vice Chair Coriann Matthews 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, arrived late Pam Marsh
Rich Rohde  
Heidi Parker SOU Liaison
Sue Crader Megan Mercier
Regina Ayars  
Coriann Matthews Staff Present:
Tom Buechele Linda Reid, Housing Specialist
Tom Gunderson  
Commissioners Absent: Carolyn Schwendener, Admin Assistant, absent
Gina DuQuenne  

Parker/Rohde m/s to approve the minutes of the September 24, 2015 Housing and Human Services Commission meeting.  Voice Vote: All ayes, minutes were approved as presented.
No one spoke.
The Commission welcomed two new members.  Tom Buechele is retired and has lived in Ashland for almost two years. Tom Gunderson is also retired and came to Ashland in 1995 as the Director of Southern Oregon Child Study and Treatment Center which is now Family Solutions. Both men are looking forward to working with the Commission.
Commissioner Matthews along with other members from the Housing and Human Services Commission presented their annual update to the Council at the October 20th City Council meeting.  Matthews read the memo that the Commissioners had drafted highlighting the four areas of accomplishments for the past year. 
The Commissioners welcomed new SOU Liaison Megan Mercier.  Mercier is the SOU student government Director of Public Relations.  Mercier recognized that Student Fair Housing is a topic that the students have been working on for quite some time.  Mercier gave a brief history surrounding student housing discrimination explaining that this Commission has been looking at drafting an ordinance to include students as a protected class. 
The Commissioners discussed the possibility of offering the “Ready to Rent” training class provided by ACCESS acknowledging that landlords do recognize the certificates that are obtained upon completion of the class.  It was shared that Portland has recently experienced a huge increase in rents.  The City of Portland has responded by declaring a housing emergency and passed an ordinance that does help renters in a small way.  The ordinance says landlords must give ninety days notice before they can evict or raise the rent (depending on the percentage of increase.)The Commissioners discussed the different possibilities of how to protect students such as; students as an occupation or as an age group.  Reid reminded the Commissioners that if they added students as a protected class the City of Ashland would be the one that investigates and processes any complaints.
It was suggested to do some fair housing testing for students.  Reid will speak with Louise Dix from the Fair Housing Council to see if she can help with this.  Landlords in the City who own two or more units must now register as a business owner which enables the City to track the housing stock.  This registry has provided a list for future questions and surveys to landlords and property managers.  The Council will want data from both sides of the equation so a survey to landlords and property managers was encouraged.  Reid offered to go to a monthly meeting of the Southern Oregon Renters Association to solicit their advice. 
The Commissioners asked the question “How do we get enough affordable housing in Ashland?” Put this topic on next month’s agenda along with Housing Trust Fund and inclusionary zoning.
This letter was prompted by the Normal Neighborhood Master Plan and the fact that the HHS Commission was not actively involved in that process like the planning and transportation Commissions were.  The Commissioners reviewed Ayar’s letter suggesting the following changes. 
First paragraph “addressing the need for Housing that is available, accessible and affordable as well as the human services needs of the communities to enhance health and well-being.”
Last paragraph “Housing and Human Services Commission requests that in the future be included in the review and public hearing process on legislative actions that include any changes to housing related elements of the Ashland Land Use Ordinance.”
Reid will update the draft and bring it back to next month’s meeting.
The Commissioners reviewed the meeting and agenda items for the next year that Reid had included in the packet.  Reid will add a column for the social service grant second year assessment.  Put on next month’s agenda to review the United Way evaluation form.  Discuss at next month’s meeting whether to meet in December.
Rhode reported that the sub-committee has been addressing an outline of Community needs that could be addressed by the Housing Trust Fund funding and determine what amount would need be to generated to address the identified need. The Committee is working on their second draft but is missing a critical piece which is the economic analysis from the Finance Director Lee Tuneberg.  Reid explained that Mr. Tuneberg is putting together funding sources and what they generate and will provide the report by the end of the month.  After the sub-committee reviews Mr. Tuneberg’s report they will report back to the full Commission.
Put on next month’s agenda the review of inclusionary zoning.  Reid will research and give a status report from the Oregon legislation house Bill 2564.
Council - Marsh reported that at the last Council meeting Councilor Voisin requested an update to the language and matrix to the resolution that describes our Social Service Funding.  Voisin also requested that the HHS Commission recommend a percentage of the general fund that should be spent for Social Service Funding.  After the Council discussion it was decided not to support going forward with changes to the language and they were reluctant to tie up pieces of the general fun to any specific use. 
Marsh stated that the Normal Master Plan approval is in process and should be completed by the end of the year.  She acknowledged that the traveler’s or homeless population issues are going to be very public over the next couple of weeks as the Mayor is scheduling a meeting to discuss this topic.  
Staff - Reid reported that the Continuum of Care grant application process is underway. Reid explained that there is an additional $55,000 in bonus money available above and beyond what the Jackson County Continuum of Care (which is made up of Ashland, Medford, and Jackson County) already receives in grant funding to support services and housing for homeless populations.  Central Point Police Department is interested in having an emergency shelter for those on the streets. 
Affordable Housing in Ashland
Inclusionary zoning
Housing Trust Fund
Regina’s letter regarding the planning process
United Way Evaluation Form
Date for the December meeting
Next Housing Commission Meeting – 4:30-6:30 PM; November 19, 2015
The meeting was adjourned at 6:40 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by Carolyn Schwendener


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