Agendas and Minutes

Housing and Human Services Advisory Committee (View All)

Housing and Human Services Commission Regular Meeting

Thursday, July 27, 2017


Ashland Housing and Human Services Commission
 Minutes July 27, 2017
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 Traci Darrow, absent
Rich Rohde  
Heidi Parker SOU Liaison
Michelle Linley  
Gina DuQuenne, arrived at 4:40  
Joshua Boettiger Staff Present:
  Linda Reid, Housing Specialist
Commissioners Absent: Carolyn Schwendener, Clerk
Sue Crader  
Rohde/Linley m/s to approve the minutes of the June 22, 2017 regular Commission meeting.  Voice Vote:  All Ayes, motion passed. 
No one was present to speak
A sub-committee of Rohde, DuQuenne and Linley met to discuss the possibility of an Affordable Housing Bus Tour.  Reid contacted Rogue Valley Transit District regarding the use of one of their buses.  If we invite an elected or appointed official, we can use the bus for free, added Reid.  We would be responsible to purchase the gasoline and pay the wage of the bus driver.  If we provide them with the address of the tour they will prepare the route.  This is a full size bus not a small shuttle so we can invite many people.  Community Development Director Bill Molnar suggested we invite the City Council and Planning Commissioners as well as the general public, said Reid. 
Reid provided to the Commissioners a list of Affordable Housing Units submitted by ACCESS along with another list she compiled showing the housing units covered by the City of Ashland Affordable Housing Program.  See Exhibit A and B at the end of the minutes.
Rohde reported Southern Oregon Housing for All did a Housing 101 Training which was very successful. At that training Rohde announced this upcoming Bus Tour which was well received and very popular.  Following the Bus Tour will be another Housing Forum sometime in October.  Both these events will be an excellent educational benefit to the public acknowledged Rohde. The Sub-committee is meeting tomorrow at 5:30 at Snowberry Brook located on Clay Street to finalize the details of the Bus Tour.
Boettiger announced that he will be stepping down and Vice Chair Rohde has agreed to be the new Chair if that is the desire of the Commission.  Rohde suggested at the next meeting the Commissioners discuss the decision on who should be the new Chair and Vice Chair in case someone else is interested in those positions.  The Commissioners thanked Boettiger for all the work he has done on this Commission.  Boettiger conveyed that it has been a privilege and joy to work together and be on this Commission.  Everyone wished him well.
With the change in Administration Reid explained the next step is to take our updated Porta-Potty memo back to the new City Interim Administrator John Karns. Molnar has forwarded our Memo to him for his review, stated Reid.  Karns needs to determine what it is we need to do in order to move this forward to the City Council.  The possible locations have been determined what the major issue is “Where will the money come from to pay for it.?” How do we get this from the Commission to Council?  we need guidance regarding the best way to move it forward, stressed Reid.  Our next step is to wait to hear back from John Karns. 
Strategic Plan and Priorities – The Commissioners briefly reviewed the Strategic Goals they identified at their goal setting retreat on December 11, 2016.  Reid mentioned she met with Faye Weisler from the Center for Non Profit Legal Services.  That group offers a Tenants Rights Training. The Commissioners agreed there is plenty of people who would be interested if we offer a training for tenant’s rights in the Ashland area. 
Reid mentioned that the Continuum of Care Grant funding application is currently out.  The Jackson County Continuum of Care receives money each year from Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to work towards homeless issues. There is approximately $250,000 in grant money available.  We do not have a Housing First program in our Continuum so there is a push to fund a Housing First project or we could continue to lose funding through that process, explained Reid. 
The CDBG Action Plan describes the projects that the City will undertake and the manner in which the projects are consistent with the priorities of the Five-Year Consolidate Plan.
Reid reported that HUD confirmed the City will be receiving $153,590 in CDBG money.  This Commission awarded three organizations, St. Vincent DePaul, Family Solutions and Maslow Project.  In speaking with Family Solutions and taking into consideration their timeline we realized they needed the money as soon as possible in order to get the work done while school was not in session, explained Reid.  Consequently, we awarded them the funding out of last year’s grant money.  Reid went on to say they did an amendment to the Action Plan for 2016 adding Family Solutions. Due to this change this year’s Action Plan only includes St. Vincent DePaul and Maslow Project.
After reviewing the Action Plan and making minor corrections the following motion was made.
Rhode/Linley m/s to approve the draft CDBG Plan as amended.  Voice Vote; All ayes, motion passed. 
Reid gave a brief overview of the process of updating the Housing Element. The Commission and the City have been working on updating the Housing Element, most recently the goals and policy section.  Two Commissioners from this body and two Commissioners from the Planning Commission got together and created a schedule for a public involvement process including a questionnaire posted on the City’s website and two outreach events.  Reid commented that staff concentrated on language clarification in the document because it was the general consensus that it was confusing and not cohesive.
The Commissioners reviewed the Draft and made suggestions and corrections.
The Commission remarked the document is now a much easier read. 
Excited about some of the concepts but wondered how they translate into practice; the ideals are great but how do they get carried out.
Goal 1d – The verbiage referring to lands North of the boulevard is troubling.  Are we saying up the hill is going to be large and spacious lots and below will be the crowded area?  It’s important to look at a variety of ways to increase housing. Not fair to single out one particular area of the City. 
Like the concept of the minimum street widths. 
Question regarding extending the urban growth boundary. Reid explained that though the City would like to see
Infill, currently there is no policy addressing that. Goal 5 Policy 20 now addresses this issue:  Encourage development of vacant land within the urban area, while providing sufficient new land to avoid an undue increase in land prices.  This shall be accomplished with specific annexation policies.
Reid called attention to a recommendation made by the Planning Commission.  Goal 1 Policy 5 – recommended stopping after “without discrimination” and add “as identified in the local federal and state fair housing laws.”
Goal 1 Policy 7 had a miss-spelled word.  Thorough (through)
Reid mentioned that the Planning Commission also had concerns with Goal 2 Policy 12.  They were concerned in higher density neighborhoods they might need more available parking spots in order to minimize on street impacts. This might be addressed in Goal 4 with the Climate and Energy Action Plan. Should be some sort of flexibility regarding the future use of cars and the need for parking.  Using parking areas for more than just parking was suggested.
Reid also acknowledged that the Planning Commission discussed Goal 2 Policy 13 –There was a concern that we do not have a method for determining what other needed housing types are.  A new housing bill has been passed at the state level, House Bill 1051, removing local barriers to housing development.  One thing the bill does is reduce the process time from 120-day time frame to 100 days for affordable housing so those projects can be prioritized and get through the process faster, helping reducing costs. Planning Commission felt the City’s draft policy was too broad and may not be necessary given the new state law, and wondered how staff would decide who gets that priority? A suggestion was made to include the language to say “as defined by the Housing Commission?”
The commission would like to see Workforce Housing added as another housing need.  An example is the City of Ashland could do Workforce Housing for their employees. Would need to define what is considered Workforce Housing. 
The draft language uses the description “character of Ashland” This commission thought this term might be somewhat negative and discriminatory though the planning Commission felt we did not use those words enough and we need to protect the character of our historic neighborhoods. 
Overall the Commission felt staff has done a very good job of improving the language.  Though we see many barriers out there for affordable housing, said Rohde, there is a lot of positive as well.  Rohde went on to say we had a training around best practices and then moved to visioning.  We can continue that and build support around an Ashland centric affordable housing vision.  There is a Housing forum in Talent next week which confirms we are not the only ones in this process. We can share with other groups of people. 
Staff –Reid has spoken with Student Government at SOU and they will notify their members of the opening for an SOU Liaison for this Commission. 
General Announcements – Parker reported they have not heard anything from the City yet regarding the use of Pioneer Hall for the Winter Shelter.  The meeting has been postponed and we are close to the season. 
Quorum Check- Parker, Boettiger, Gunderson will be gone.  There might not be quorum so Reid will email and get a head count and if necessary cancel next month’s meeting.  She assured everyone she will let them know.
Next Housing and Human Services Regular Commission Meeting – 4:30-7:00 PM; July 24, 2017, 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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