|Ashland Housing and Human Services Commission
January 23, 2014
CALL TO ORDER
City of Ashland Housing Specialist Linda Reid called the meeting to order at 4:32 in the Siskiyou Room located in the Community Development and Engineering Department at 51 Winburn Way, Ashland Oregon.
WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS
Reid welcomed the Commissioners to their first meeting. Each member introduced themselves giving a little background as to why they joined the Commission. Christy Wright, Communications Director for the Associated Students of SOU and manager of the Fair Housing campaign was present as a guest.
COMMISSION BUSINESS DISCUSSION
The Commissioners discussed the different options for when, where and what time to have the regular Commission meetings. The group decided to hold the regular meetings on the fourth Thursday of every month at 4:30 pm in the Siskiyou Room at the Community Development Building located at 51 Winburn Way. The March 27th meeting will be held however at Council Chambers located at 1155 East Main Street, Ashland due to the already published legal notice regarding the Community Development Block Grant presentations.
INTERIM CHAIR AND VICE CHAIR ELECTION
The Commissioners agreed to postpone the election of officers until the next meeting on February 27, 2014.
SOCIAL SERVICE GRANT PROJECT OVERVIEW AND DISCUSSION
Marsh explained that the City allocates money biennially for Human Service projects. When the Council discussed what the function of this new Housing and Human Services Committee would be one question that came up was whether or not to hand that Human Services funding process to this group. Currently it is handled by a budget sub-committee process. The Council would like feedback from this new group and recommendations for the social service grant process. The money available is $140,000. The Commissioners discussed different ideas on how to accomplish this task and make it a better process. Marsh conveyed that the Mayor would also like to see this Commission do an inventory of human services within the City identifying gaps.
It was the consensus of the group that a strategic plan with measurable goals and objectives needs to be put into place. It was determined that there needs to be a sub committee formed and a timeline and process put together by March. Ayars and Rohde will work with Reid on developing a timeline for the process and bring it back to the next meeting
Parker, Saldana and Crader will work together to do a survey of what Social Services are currently available in the Community. They will bring a report to the February meeting.
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT OVERVIEW AND DISCUSSION
Community Development Block Grant funds (CDBG) are funds that come down from the Federal Government though the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The City receives a direct allocation from HUD and Reid administers the monies. Staff writes a five year Grant application looking at the needs of the Community doing an inventory and setting goals. In January of every year a Request for Proposal goes out on the Cities Website the local newspaper as well as a mailing to interested parties.
Reid is not sure the exact amount of money available this year but is assuming it’s around $130,000 to $160,000. The majority of CDBG funds are to be used for capital improvements with 15% available to provide direct services to people. In March the applications will be submitted and Reid will write a review and send staff’s recommendation to the Housing and Human Services Commissioners. In March the applicants will have the opportunity to attend the Commission meeting and speak about their projects and answer questions. The Commissioners will make a recommendation which Reid will send along with staff’s recommendation to the City Council. The Council will have the opportunity to speak with the applicants and then make an ultimate decision about funding. At that time Staff will draft a report to HUD explaining what the City is doing with the money and how it meets the City’s needs. HUD will either approve or disapprove of the use. After HUD’s approval staff will move forward doing contracts and the release of the monies. The grantees will report quarterly on their activities and at the end of the program year Reid will draft a new report called the Consolidated Annual Performance Evaluation (CAPER) explaining what the City did with the money and how it met the Cities needs.
LIAISON REPORTS DISCUSSION
Council – Marsh acknowledged that she is very excited to be the Liaison to this Commission and sees a potential for the opportunity to expand in the human services area and maintain and expand the work that has already been done with Housing. She is available for any assistance the Commission might need.
SOU- Ennslin expressed his happiness to be on this Commission. Ennslin called attention to the fact that last year he brought forward to the Housing Commission a student survey analyzing student’s experiences while looking for housing within the City. The survey was to find out if students felt they were treated fairly or experienced any discrimination because they were a student. Approximately two hundred surveys were turned in showing that the majority felt they were unfairly discriminated against because of their student status. Ennslin expressed the desire to get some feedback and recommendation from this body to forward on to the City Council in hope of getting an ordinance passed making students a protected class.
Staff – Matthews reported that the annual Point in Time count will soon take place. The Federal, State and local government is trying to determine how many homeless people are in the County. The one night shelter count will take place on January 29th. A week long count is also done at different human services areas; meal sites, shelter sites and warming sites. In the past camp sites were visited but it was determined that was not a consistent way to count so they are no longer doing that.
General Announcements – Ayars gave an update on the Ashland Community Resource Center located at 570 Clover Lane (located in a portion of the Masonic Center). There will be an open house inviting the Community on Thursday February 6th from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. The Center will be open for business on Monday February 10th. Because of a $15,000 donation the Resource Center was able to purchase a shower trailer. The trailer has two showers two washing machines and two dryers. The Center needs volunteers and is open Tuesday through Saturday between the hours of 9:00 am to 1:00 p.m. Ayars said the center is in need of towels.
Parker mentioned there was training for Homeless Shelter volunteers with CERT. The training went well and they were able to get a number of volunteers however more volunteers are needed to spend the night in the shelters since another weekly night has been added.
AGENDA ITEMS FOR NEXT MEETING/COMMISSIONER ITEMS SUGGESTED
Timeline for social service grant process/Consolidated Plan/Election of officers/Barbara Christenson regarding Commission meeting guidelines/revisit survey on student Housing
UPCOMING EVENTS AND MEETINGS
Housing and Human Services Commission regular meeting – February 27, 2014, 4:30 pm in the Siskiyou Room at 51 Winburn Way, Ashland Oregon.
ADJOURNMENT - The meeting was adjourned at 6:15 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by Carolyn Schwendener