Agendas and Minutes

Housing and Human Services Advisory Committee (View All)

Housing and Human Services Commission Regular Meeting

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Ashland Housing and Human Services Commission
Minutes June 22, 2017
Vice Chair Rohde 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 Traci Darrow
Rich Rohde  
Heidi Parker, left at 5:25 SOU Liaison
Michelle Linley  
Gina DuQuenne  
  Staff Present:
Commissioners Absent: Linda Reid, Housing Specialist
Joshua Boettiger Carolyn Schwendener, Clerk
Sue Crader  
DuQuenne/Linley m/s to approve the minutes of the May 25, 2017 regular Commission meeting.  Voice Vote:  All Ayes, motion passed. 
No one was present to speak
Reid explained that the mission of this Commission is to do outreach and education to the Community. The Commission discussed many possibilities for outreach programs one of which was a bus tour.  Reid reported that the Fair Housing Council of Oregon has done bus tours within the State.  Reid acknowledged that years ago the Housing Commission did a bus tour of affordable housing projects within the City.  The tour included a discussion of funding sources that went into each project and how the City supported them in various ways. 
If the Commission decides to do a bus tour it might be a good idea, stated Reid, to invite developers to discuss what went into their projects. The tour would be open to the public with pre-registration.  It might be necessary to do two tours one in the morning and one in the afternoon.  The tour would consist of affordable housing projects.  What do we want the community to know about our affordable housing stock, inquired the Commission?  It was agreed that a sub-committee should be formed to work on this outreach.  Linley and DuQuenne volunteered to be part of that sub-committee. 
John Limb gave an update on the Car Camping program started by the Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Social Justice and Action Committee. Currently they offer three parking spots and have three people using them.  One spot is being used by a lady with two children, one spot is used by a transient man on the way to Portland and the third spot is used by a couple.
We have encountered some challenges along the way acknowledged Mr. Limb.  Keeping track of people is one challenge.  We donít always know when and who is going to be there.  Since we only have three spots we always want to be sure the people who are using the program are the ones who truly need it, remarked Mr. Limb.
What is the cost to you? asked Councilor Darrow. 
Our only cost is for the Porta Potty that we provide.  That cost is approximately $1,000 a year.  We took up a collection on Sunday morning to cover that expense.
Linley asked Did you have any pushback from the neighbors when you started the program?
Mr. Limb explained when they began the program they wrote up a narrative explaining what would be happening and addressed any concerns.  They sent that flyer around to the neighborhood.  They did have one neighbor concerned who called and they were able to explain the program and answer her questions.  In the end she agreed it was basically a good program. 
Reid asked, how do you get your people? 
Itís just random, we donít have a good process yet, responded Mr. Limb.  We are not quite plugged in to the right people.  We would like to make contacts with others in the Community who can give us names of those in need.  We did receive some publicity in the Ashland Tidings which has brought in a few people.  Parker suggested contacting the Maslow project who serve homeless teens and younger students in our Community. They may be able to provide some names.   
We have no legal standing and if a neighbor complained the police would have no choice but to ask us to stop the program, so our next step is to pass an ordinance. The Commissioners reviewed the draft ordinance provided by Mr. Limb.  The Commissioners provided some suggestions to Mr. Limb regarding potential changes.  Mr. Limb will be making some revisions to the ordinance and then will resend it to the Commissioners for their review once again.  If we come up with an ordinance that this Commission agrees with Mr. Limb would then approach the City Council with the draft ordinance, commented Mr. Limb.
It was suggested to welcome Mr. Limb back to future meetings with updates.  He was encouraged to maintain some of evaluation process recording issues they might be having, feedback from the neighbors and a methodology for the vetting process.  If anyone has future thoughts or comments about this program Mr. Limb provided his email address.
Darrow is happy to do some legwork with Reidís help and the City Attorney and then speak with the Mayor about getting this on a future Council Study Session.  Darrow feels there is definitely interest in this program as well as other churches who would like to participate.
Reid reviewed the timeline for the Housing Element Policy update reminding the Commission that at each stage it will come back to them for their review and feedback.  The draft policies will be brought to the Commission for review at the regular HHS July meeting. See exhibit A (Housing Element Update) at the end of the minutes.  Reid read the goal statement:  Is an attempt to illustrate what the City is striving for, i.e., it sets City direction.  It has a direct effect on future planning as a City cannot legally be in opposition to its own goals.  Programs should be directed toward achieving those goals. 
Reid pointed out that staff worked very hard on the draft language making it more user friendly and understandable.  Rhode made the comment that definitions are the key piece of the explanations.  Email out to the commission the link to the map with the zoning on it.
Before the next meeting Reid will send out the most current draft for their review.  The Commissioners will come back to the meeting with their recommendations.
Liaison Ė Darrow reported that the budget committee adopted the motion made by Councilor Lemhouse that the City collected marijuana tax will be designated to the Housing Trust Fund.  The amount of that money is unpredictable and capped at no more than $100,000 per year. Itís currently estimated to be anywhere from $30,000 to $60,000.  Rohde thanked Darrow and the Council for dedicating funding to the AHTF.   Darrow suggested that the Commission should be thinking about strategies they would like to develop in relationship with what the Council wants to see.  What are some possible uses for those funds?  The City has two options for distributing the funding; a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) process, and/or a Request for Proposals (RFP) processA NOFA process may not be feasible at this time because it is limited to 10 percent of the available funding.  Reid explained that an RFP would run in January concurrent with the CDBG applications.
Darrow was asked about the proposed electric bill increase percentage.  The increase in funding is for five new police officers.  That percentage has not yet been agreed upon and will be decided at the June 30, 2017 Council meeting. It was also suggested that the monies be accessed through an increase in the property tax rate.
Staff Ė Reid has not heard back yet from SOU regarding a Liaison.  The City currently has two applicants for the vacant commission seats, Mark Hannenberg and Linda Repond, whom the commission may remember from the Tiny House CDBG presentation. 
Quorum Check Ė Everyone should be able to attend.
Agenda items; Allocation of CDBG funds. ($153,000), The Action Plan, review of the policies, the sub-committee will set a time for the meeting, Porta Potty update. 
Next Housing and Human Services Regular Commission Meeting Ė 4:30-7:00 PM; July 27, 2017, in the Siskiyou Room at the Community Development & Engineering Department located at 51 Winburn Way.
The meeting was adjourned at 6:10 p.m. Respectfully submitted by Carolyn Schwendener


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