Agendas and Minutes

Housing and Human Services Advisory Committee (View All)

Housing and Human Services Commission Regular Meeting

Thursday, July 28, 2016


Ashland Housing and Human Services Commission
Minutes July 28, 2016
Chair 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
Tom Gunderson Pam Marsh, absent
Rich Rohde  
Heidi Parker SOU Liaison
Tom Buechele Megan Mercier, absent
Sharon Harris  
Sue Crader Staff Present:
Joshua Boettiger Linda Reid, Housing Specialist
Commissioners Absent: Carolyn Schwendener, Staff Secretary
Gina DuQuenne  
Parker/Rohde m/s to approve the minutes of the June 23, 2016 Housing and Human Services Commission with a correction (Buechele was not on the Porta-Potty sub-committee). Voice Vote: All ayes, minutes were approved with correction.
No one spoke. The audience members introduced themselves but were present to speak on this evening’s up- coming agenda items.
Jason and Vanessa Hauck shared how their organization helps in our community.   Mr. Hauck explained they are a residential outreach options team with a focus on organizing the Community to primarily provide shelter for those in poverty.  Outreach activities range from making safe places for those that camp all the way up to transitional housing.  The group meets every Sunday at the Pony Espresso located in Washington Federal Bank with the primary focus on housing.  Other topics include homelessness, assisting with court watch on Tuesday’s, plaza watch and nighttime checks at our local parks to be sure bathrooms are not being abused.  The organization also provides a Community meal on Fridays at the Railroad Park.  
As winter approaches one of the things they would like to focus on is a safe place for woman and children.  Often women and children are parking and sleeping in their cars at night.  The group is looking at partnerships with local churches. Mrs. Hauck conveyed they welcome any help and ideas the Commission might have.  They consider themselves to be the bridge that works together with others in the Community because they hear firsthand from the homeless Community and those who suffer most from instability. They have been successful building relationships with Community groups, the Ashland Culture of Peace Commission, City Council and the Mayor. The face book page for the group is Ashland Village Community Effort. 
Those present from the Culture of Peace Commission were Sky, Joyce Segers and David Wick.   This is a Citizens Commission that was launched last September.  Prior to that they worked with the City Council and the Mayor to develop the idea and what the Commission would look like. The Commission is supported by the related United Nations Culture of Peace Initiative, to begin the work of developing a community that promotes and supports a Culture of Peace at all levels.   The focus is looking at all aspects of the community and how we move from a culture of violence to a culture of peace.
Ms. Segers involvement is in the aspect of humanity, how we treat each other and our willingness to have the conscience and forwardness to see what is going on around the world.  Though we can’t fix the world we can do a lot in our own town, remarked Ms. Segers.   We need the Commissions help and strength to take the next step to help the people in need. 
Sky is predominately involved in the circling of the square, talking and sharing at the listening circle on Fridays at the peace meals offered at the Railroad Park.  This committee helps to serve a bridge in our community and invites dialogs from all segments of our Community.  Sky feels very encouraged by the great dialog that has taken place.
Debbie Neiswander, audience member, is also very involved in the Culture of Peace Commission.  She participates in the Tuesday Courts observing those who are there and offers her assistance informally. 
The Commission is working with Chief O’Meara looking to bridge communication and relieve tensions.  This Commission is also concerned about having a safe place for people to park and sleep over night.  They had a meeting with Parks and Recreation Director Michael Black to discuss the possibility of using a parking lot in the park. A meeting with Community Development Director Bill Molnar is scheduled to discuss this possibility with the consideration to land use.  Commissioner Harris informed the group of the Jackson County Task Force meetings and encouraged them to attend.  The meetings are held once a month on the third Tuesday of the month at 10:30.  There is an overwhelming number of people in this community who are doing good things stated Harris.  The Culture of Peace Commission meets every Wednesday from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm at 33 First Street across from the Post Office.  Everyone is welcome to attend.
Commissioners Rohde acknowledged they are doing amazing work. 
Commissioner Rohde explained the purpose of this forum is to arrive at positive solutions for affordable housing.  A group of people will be acting as facilitators and leaders during that forum.  The collaboration has been between Unite Oregon, the Interfaith Coalition and this Commission.  The forum will take place in the Gresham Room at the Ashland Public Library on August 10, 2016 from 6PM to 8PM. Reverend Ann White from the Unitarian Church will be the overall moderator.  Three break out session topics will be discussed; housing trust fund (solutions), policy solutions, (renters’ rights to exclusionary zoning and what new policies will be proposed in the upcoming legislative session) and positive solutions around homeless issues. 
Harris has been working on contacting Eric Chaddick the General Manger at Shop-n-Kart.  He has been difficult to reach but there is a definite need to have a porta-potty on the south end of town.  Ms. Neiswander mentioned that sleeping in the open air at the Trinity Episcopal Church is allowed but not having a porta-potty there is obviously a problem.  Ms. Neiswander stated that everybody who sleeps there is very grateful and is concerned that one or two individuals could ruin it for everyone.  Neiswander parks her bike out front and allows the people to use her bike to ride down to the porta-potty outside of the Community Development building. Is it possible to have a porta potty in that area, could one be placed on a trailer?  Buechele will check with members of the church to get their thoughts and ideas.
Reid reported that she and Goldman met with Sandra Slattery from the Chamber and invited them to the Housing and Human Services Commission meeting to discuss the Change with a Purpose program.  Ms. Slattery asked to come to a meeting after the end of the tourist season maybe late October or early November.  They would like to get some measurable outcomes first?
Harris inquired as to how the Chamber chose the two organizations to donate the Change with Purpose money to. Harris went on to say there are four City Councilor’s who are on the Chamber. The Chamber is given about $400,000 by the City of Ashland which pays mostly salaries and basically funds the Chamber, added Harris.  She commented that City Councilor Pam Marsh is the Executive Director of the Ashland Emergency Food Bank and St. Vincent DePaul isn’t even based in Ashland.  Though Harris acknowledged they are both wonderful organizations there is also a lot of other good organizations in Ashland that might have been overlooked.  The Commissioners agreed there should be more transparency of the process. Reid will speak with the Chamber and ask how they arrived at the organizations to donate to. 
Council – Councilor Marsh was out of town and sent an email to Reid with her Liaison Report.  Reid read her email to the Commission.  Marsh invited the Commissioners to the second annual Volunteer Celebration on Sunday August 28 at 3:00 pm at the Oak Knoll golf course.  The Council has concluded their series of goal setting meetings and Housing emerged as an area of strong focus.  The Council discussed the Housing Trust Fund focusing on identifying new sources of funding.  The marijuana tax has not been allocated yet.  Marsh said that the Council approved the Fair Housing changes at their last meeting and shared their appreciation for the work the Commission and SOU representatives did on the ordinance.  The Council approved placing a resolution regarding health care options on the November ballot for consideration by City voters.  Regina Ayars and the AAUW are encouraging the Council to adopt a resolution supporting a UN effort called CEDAW (the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women) the resolution is tentatively scheduled for the August 14 meeting.
Staff – Reid reported the Geos meeting was really good. Everyone had concerns about different special needs populations and in the case of a region wide emergency we would like to find ways to have more resources for these vulnerable populations not less. 
Quorum Check –
Agenda item:  A follow up from the Housing Crisis Forum and include a more in depth look at what the construction excise tax possibilities are and specific options could be. 
Next Housing Commission Meeting – 4:30-6:30 PM; July 28, 2016 in the Siskiyou Room at the Community Development & Engineering Department located at 51 Winburn Way.
The meeting was adjourned at 6:30 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by Carolyn Schwendener


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