Agendas and Minutes

Housing and Human Services Commission (View All)

Housing and Human Services Commission Regular Meeting

Minutes
Thursday, March 24, 2016


   
 
 
 

Ashland Housing and Human Services Commission
Draft Minutes March 24, 2016
CALL TO ORDER
Chair Josh 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
Rich Rhode  
Heidi Parker SOU Liaison
Sue Crader Megan Mercier, absent
Sharon Harris  
Coriann Matthews Staff Present:
Commissioners Absent: Linda Reid, Housing Specialist
Tom Buechele Carolyn Schwendener, Staff secretary
Gina DuQuenne  
Tom Gunderson  
 
 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Parker/Rhode m/s to approve the minutes of the February 25, 2016 Housing and Human Services Commission meeting.  Voice Vote: All ayes, minutes were approved as presented.
 
PUBLIC FORUM
No one came forth to speak
 
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT APPLICATION PRESENTATIONS (CDBG)
Before the presentations began the following Commissioners recused themselves from the presentations and discussions.
 
Sharon Harris - Harris acknowledged that she is on the Board of Options for Homeless Residents of Ashland who is a CDBG grant applicant.
 
Sue Crader - Crader is the Executive Director for Ashland Supportive Housing another CDBG applicant.
 
St. Vincent DePaul- Volunteers Charlotte Dorsey, Alice Nagle and Beth Hill, President of the St. Vincent DePaul in Talent, presented their application. Ms. Dorsey expressed her thankfulness for the opportunity to apply for these monies sharing how it has given them the opportunity to help people with needs they otherwise could not have helped. This money has allowed them to focus on two groups in the community, those who are at risk of homelessness and those who are already homeless.  Our goal is to work with people to help them attain housing or be able to stay in their current housing, said Ms. Dorsey.  Since 2010 the grant has allowed them to work with
298 people, 179 adults and 119 children for a total of 47 households.  Ms. Nagel added they could not do this program if it werenít for the support they get from the local churches and the Ashland Community Resource Center.
 
Questions from the Commissioners
Do you get any CDBG funds from the City of Talent?
No.  The needs are there but they do not as a City have the qualifications that allow them to apply for those funds.
 
How much to you adhere to the Ashland Talent area or do you go beyond Ashland with your service?
This CDBG grant money we are applying for is used only in the Ashland area, the 97520 zip code.  We have created within our own monies some funding in order to help with the Talent area as we do see a need there.
 
With no administrative costs basically its client services the money goes for and itís available per year.  Do you run out of money at some point or do you have carry over money?  How does it balance out at the end of the year?
We usually run out of grant money around December, but then are able to start spending the successive yearís grant funds.  The money tends to overlap a little each year, so far there has not been a time we ran out of money. 
 
What would you do if you werenít awarded the CDBG monies? 
This has become such a passion we just cannot see it ending, the need is substantial and the match is perfect. Itís really unthinkable to see it disappear as it would impact so many people in the City.  If the money wasnít awarded from CDBG it would be a blessing from another agency to take up.
 
Options for Homeless Residents of Ashland (OHRA) - John Wieczorek, President of OHRA Board of Directors and Board member Regina Ayars presented the application.  Ms. Ayars first acknowledged the partnership within the community, especially with St. Vincent DePaul and Maslow, and how each organization works together referring clients back and forth.  Ms. Ayars explained that OHRA is asking for CDBG funds in the amount of $12,664.00 for a portion of the salary of the Lead Resource Navigator for a project entitled:  ďHousing and Jobs for those in Need in Ashland.Ē This is an existing position in which we are adding services, stated Ayars.  The primary responsibilities of this Resource Navigator is case management, volunteer coordinating and job match coordinating.  With the grant money the project would be able to meet three primary goals:
  1. Secure housing for 21 families that are currently homeless,
  2. Prevent 32 presently housed families that are losing their homes and
  3. Secure employment for 21 individuals currently unemployed.
 
Ms. Ayars concluded saying that if OHRA does not receive this funding they will continue with the program using the money out of their general fund which then reduces the amount of money they have for the Family Emergency Fund.  The Family Emergency Fund is used to insure people who have immediate needs can most often be housed.
 
Mr. Wieczorek conveyed that in the past this position had been supported by two private foundation grants.  Because of the additional funding need we are asking for fifty percent of the salary, stated Mr. Wieczorek.   This position is vital to the success of the Resource Center helping the clients navigate through the processes.  Mr. Wieczorek also acknowledged how well the organizations within the community work together, different skill sets all working towards the same goal.
 
Questions from the Commissioners
How are the numbers recorded because clearly the need is huge and St. Vincent DePaul has a number goal in mind they will house and are the numbers you report different?
All of our numbers are put into Service Point which is a national data base.  The numbers have some overlap because we are helping the same clients.  Out of the 60 plus St. Vincent was probably a partner on two thirds of that. 
 
Love this hire program. Will this navigator person continue to work with people you connect with because just getting a person a job isnít really enough they need to continue to check in?
It is our intent to follow up with our clients said Mr. Wieczorek.  We are not however sure how long we will be able to follow up with them.  It probably will be determined on a person to person basis.  Lee Madsen acknowledged that meeting with clients on a regular basis offers a better chance of keeping them employed.  Tina is very good about working with the clients usually meeting with them twice a week.
 
Maslow -Karen Phillips the Development Director of the Maslow Project and Cheyenne Nichols the Ashland Case Manager gave a brief overview of what they do.  Our proposal, stated Ms. Phillips, helps us provide our wrap-around support service to homeless youth and their families in the City of Ashland.  The overall goal is to bring enough stability into the lives of the youth so that they can remain in school or complete at least their secondary education.  We roughly serve approximately 100 homeless youth in Ashland each year and provide case management service to approximately 45 youth.  One hundred percent of the individuals we serve are low income.  The money we are requesting is roughly thirty percent of our budget for Ashland and will provide the salary of our Ashland case manager.  We do not use volunteers for this work because homeless youth face a lot of risks and barriers and our staff is highly trained to be able to provide appropriate services, state Ms. Phillips. We are successful because of the support of the City.
 
Case manager Ms. Nichols called attention to the success rate of the students on their program.  One hundred percent of those students graduated.  Ms. Nichols explained she does goal based case management.  Her goal as a case manager is to work with youth and their families to make sure they have basic needs; food, clothing, shoes, glasses, hygiene supplies, etc.  Ms. Nichols asks students what goals they want to accomplish; go to college, improve their attendance, find a safe place to stay, etc. I am here to help facilitate that empowerment within themselves, stated Ms. Nichols.    She emphasized they could not do what they do without St. Vincent DePaul and the Resource Center. There are over sixty-seven kids identified in Ashland, the need is there.
 
Questions from the Commissioners
Where is your office located?
My office is located at Ashland Senior High School.  This seems to be an easy place for families to meet me.  We have a food pantry there, clothing closet, hygiene products etc.  I do check in at the elementary schools as well as the Middle school. I can use the counseling offices at the middle school to meet with students and parents if necessary.   
 
I noticed there is $6,300 from individual donations. Is that money that comes from Ashland or part of the general fund?
Part of the general fund from Maslow.  If people donated and want specific money to go to Ashland we honor that but we try to encourage donors to allow us to use the funds where they are most needed. 
 
CDBG funds this year are limited and everyone is doing great work, all three agencies. We would love to fund everyone but if we canít totally fund you what would the repercussions of less than complete funding be for you?
We are committed to being a presence in Ashland. Depending on other grant funding sources this year we may be able to maintain our hours or if itís necessary we will scale back the level of the program but we are still committed to being a presence in your community. 
 
Does the school district increase your allotment as the numbers go up?
No itís not based on numbers but service. We also help the school district identify the kids that are available for Mckinney-vento funding
 
How many days are you in Ashland?
Two and Iím available by appointment.
 
Ashland Supportive Housing - Judy Beyer, Assistant Director and Sue Crader, Executive Director of Ashland Supportive Housing gave a brief overview of their application.   We are a small private nonprofit corporation in Ashland that provides housing to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, stated Ms. Beyer.  We are applying for capital funds for an installation of a solar energy system including a hot water system and attic insulation upgrade.  The total request is for $70,000 and total project cost is $77,125.00. 
 
Ms. Beyer added that ASH opened its doors in 1982 and has three homes.   All of our residents in the homes are considered low income and require twenty-four hour support which our staff supplies.    The main source of our funding is Medicare dollars a small portion from donations and a little bit from the Respite program.  This project is important to us because our electrical needs are very high, said Ms. Beyer. Our utility costs are up forty percent since 2008.   A grant would help keep our utility costs down and give us more leverage to pay for staff wages.
 
Crader added that their funding from the State of Oregon has been relatively flat since 2008 with no cost of living increase. We need to increase revenue in other ways and reducing our net operating costs will allow us to maintain current staffing.
 
Questions from the Commissioners
Your grant was very clearly stated and it helped me understand why your needs are so great.  I was surprised to read how many employees you have.  Are all those fulltime employees?
The majority are fulltime employees.  We try not to have many part time positions, we offer full benefits.  People canítí live in Ashland on a part time wage.  Employees are happier and long term when they are fully supported.  We provide support seven days a week twenty-four hours a day to our clients.  None of our clients can be home alone or in the community alone. They require a high level or support and it takes a lot of people which also increases the utility use in the homes.
 
Saw the chart of your utilities and it is huge. Once you put in the solar system what will you reduce the amount by, do you know?
It is expected to reduce the utilities by sixty-three percent at one site. We do not have the numbers for the hot water system. Ms. Crader said they have gone through many energy audits and are continually looking at ways to reduce our utility bill and this is the best solution we have arrived at.
 
Reid brought to the attention of the Commissioners that this is a part of an application that was brought forward last year. Last year the City did fund the majority of the remodel but removed the solar portion of the project.  This year they are applying again to fund this portion of the project. 
 
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT DISCUSSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Reid reviewed briefly the numbers and restrictions with the CDBG funding.  Reid explained that she mailed out a score sheet to the Commissioners and emphasized that the staff completes the same score sheet.  Commissioners DuQuenne and Gunderson were not able to attend tonightís meeting but did receive the applications in advance and completed their scoring.  Reid stressed that staff recognizes the applicants are doing amazing work and it takes all of these people to do the work that needs to be done in order to get these great outcomes. Reid said this has been a difficult decision to make.
 
Staffís recommendation was based on evaluation of CDBG eligibility, the Cityís five year Consolidated Plan Goals, agency experience and capacity and readiness to proceed. The following is staff recommendation;
∑      $70,000 to Ashland Supportive Housing for residential home rehabilitation
∑      $16,665 to St. Vincent DePaul Home Visitation Program
∑      $7,143 to Maslow Project School Based Services
 
The Commissioners discussed the different applications and agreed that all three social service applicants should be funded as well as the capital improvement project for Ashland Supportive Housing.
 
Rhode/Matthews m/s to recommend funding in the amount of fifty percent of the requested amount for each social service applicant and full funding for Ashland Supportive Housing.  $5,000 for Maslow, $6,300 for Options for Homeless Residents, $12,508 for St. Vincent DePaul and $70,000 for Ashland Supportive Housing.
Voice Vote; all ayes, motion passed.
 
The Commissioners thanked all four organizations and expressed their appreciation for the work they do in our Community.  
 
HOUSING TRUST FUND SUB-COMMITTEE UPDATE
Reid reported that the Housing Trust Fund sub-committee has been meeting for a while and met with Finance Director Lee Tuneberg to look at different funding sources.  The subcommittee will be going before the City Council at their Study session on March 18th to discuss the needs of the Housing Trust Fund.  Committee member Rhode, Reid, Tuneberg, City Administrator Dave Kanner and Bill Molnar the Community Development Director will meet on March 29th at 4:00p.m.  The purpose for the meeting is to go over their basic ideas with them and get some feedback before going before the City Council. 
 
LIAISON REPORTS
Council Ė Marsh reported that the City is applying to do a land partition at 380 Clay Street where the 2013 Fremont Cottonwood Tree of the Year was determined to be saved.  This gives the City the opportunity to have up to sixteen or seventeen affordable housing units developed.  The parcel with the tree will be sold separately.  Marsh commented that capital improvement money in the past has been used for economic development and the Council is discussing ways in which they may be able to utilize the remaining CDBG money.  Reid confirmed that she could issue another RFP for the use of the remainder of funds.
 
Marsh said that the Mayor is putting together a meeting addressing the downtown issues and human services.
 
GENERAL ANNOUNCEMENTS APRIL 28TH 2016 METTING AGENDA ITEMS
Quorum Check Ė Boettiger will be gone
Next month will be election of officers
Next meeting is the last meeting for Commissioner Matthews
Reid will be attending Senator Merkleyís Round table on Affordable Housing next week.
 
UPCOMING EVENTS AND MEETINGS
Next Housing Commission Meeting Ė 4:30-6:30 PM; April 28, 2016 4:30-6:30 in the Siskiyou Room at the Community Development & Engineering Department located at 51 Winburn Way. -
ADJOURNMENT
The meeting was adjourned at 6:25 p.m. respectfully submitted by Carolyn Schwendener
 

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