Agendas and Minutes

Housing and Human Services Advisory Committee (View All)

Minutes January 22, 2015

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Ashland Housing and Human Services Commission
Minutes January 22, 2015
Chair Joshua 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
Heidi Parker  
Gina DuQuenne SOU Liaison
Regina Ayars Vacant
Sue Crader  
Rich Rohde Staff Present:
Coriann Matthews Linda Reid, Housing Specialist
Commissioners Absent: Leslie Gore, Housing Program Assistant
Connie Saldana  

Approval of Minutes
Rohde/Ayers m/s to approve the minutes of the November 20, 2014 Housing and Human Services Commission meeting and the November 7, 2014 Strategic Plan sub-committee meeting.  Voice Vote:  All Ayes; minutes were approved as presented.
Public Forum
No one was present to speak.
Housing Trust Fund-Update and Discussion
The issue being that the Housing Trust Fund (HTF) has been created but has no ongoing funding.

Linda Reid, Housing Specialist, introduced: A Survey of revenue Tools to Fund Affordable Housing and Services in the Portland metro region, as a guide to what other communities are doing to fund affordable housing trust funds and considerations especially for Oregon. 
Chair Joshua Boettiger opened discussion on “interesting” models of funding. Reid clarified the current revenue sources and discussed the “in lieu of” fees. 
Boettiger suggested an “opt in” program where restaurants voluntarily collect a surcharge for the fund. In return the participating restaurants would be promoted.  It was stated that this program would be a donation rather than a tax.  Reid committed to researching whether a donation to the HTF would be tax deductable. Reid also discussed the vacation rental units as a possible revenue source and its exiting nexus on the impact on the available rental stock.  It was noted that the City Council is currently looking at this issue.  Parker noted in all the successful examples there was a community wide commitment. 
Boettiger queried “what is the process for going forward?”
Commissioners discussed the creation of a sub-committee.  Marsh spoke to the timing of the budget cycle and she noted a proposal would have to move very quickly to be included in this 2 year budget cycle.  Commissioner Rohde proposed that a longer term approach would be better than rushing a proposition for this budget cycle.   Commissioners had additional questions about how the fund was managed which Reid addressed.
Rohde motioned “to form a subcommittee to investigate the (funding) sources and come back with a recommendation.”
Saldana seconded Rohde’s motion
After discussion Council Member Marsh committed to bringing the issue to the council in a study session noting that affordable housing was one of the top concerns in the recent citizen survey and the study session would gage the council’s will.  Additionally saying the budget committee might be a better body to “dive into the money side”.
Rohde withdrew his motion while requesting assurance from Marsh that she would bring the issue to a study session. Marsh reiterated her commitment giving a time line of a “few months”.
There was additional clarification from Reid about the current balance in the fund 179K, and what the fund could be used for: Unlike Community Development Block Grant (CDBG),  HTF can be used for construction and to benefit households earning up to 120% Average Medium Income (AMI). 
Reid also stated that up to 10% of the total annual income of the fund could be made available for pre-development and planning activities through a Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA).  To be responsive to immediate development needs.
Sue Crader announced that her organization will be applying for CDBG. She and Regina Ayars intend to recuse themselves from the CDBG review process.
Reid provided an overview the time table of the CDBG and Social Service Grant timeline: CDBG applications will be reviewed in March and the Social Service Grants in April
Rental Registry Update and Discussion
Leslie Gore, Housing Program Assistant, gave a brief review of the Rental Registry, its purpose of gathering data on the City’s rental stock with an addendum to the Business License. The registry would include a self-certification statement with regards to Smoke Alarm’s and Carbon Monoxide Detector requirements.  Fire Marshal, Margueritte Hickman is contributing to the wording of the questionnaire.  Reid related the history of the Rental Registry and the Ordinance requiring landlords with 2 or more rental units to apply for a business license (a change from 6 units).   There was additional conversation about non-compliance and the need to communicate the new requirement to landlords and the use of the collected data. Reid expressed the belief that the necessary Department approvals for the implementation of the registry would be received by the next time the commission meets.  
Liaison Reports Discussion
SOU – Marsh told the Commission that she had met with Christy Wright who reported that the student fair housing initiative had lost its support and she was “letting the project go” but she offered to compile the information that has been collected and present it at the February Commission meeting.  There was general agreement for her to debrief at the February meeting.
Council – Marsh announced that the State of the City celebration is next Tuesday (1/27/15) at 5:30 at the Community Center (located at 59 Winburn Way).  The Ragland award for volunteerism will be awarded.  Marsh also mentioned that the survey results were available.  She noted that Affordable housing was the “top two or three” on the list of concerns and that the council had taken note.  Marsh stated that Normal Street was “lurching forward”.  Staff had been directed to look at the transportation piece.  Noting that the commission had not met since the council approved the Human Services strategic plan, Marsh mentioned the council was very happy.  The changes made in response to Council’s comments were “spot on” and that it was approved unanimously.   Marsh also updated the commission that the planning commission was looking at a change to vacation rentals.  Marsh announced that she would be the council liaison for the next year.
Staff – Reid reiterated that Grant applications were out and it looked like a competitive round;   The Homeless task force next meeting is February 17th.  
General Announcements – Point In Time.  Heidi Parker reported that the Point In Time homeless count was scheduled for Monday (January 26).  Lee Matson and John Wieczorek were coordinating the count and anybody who wanted to volunteer should contact them shortly. 
Commissioner Ayars mentioned the Homeless task force was looking at ultra affordable housing models such as dignity village, tent city and other mini housing options.  There was a general discussion about the legality of boarding houses.
Commissioner Parker said that the shelters have been very full and related a story about a mother and three kids that highlighted the continuing need for shelter and support services.  Next meeting was confirmed for February 26 and the following March 26.  There was also discussing about filling Michael Gutman’s vacated position.
Adjournment – The meeting was adjourned at 6:00 p.m.  Next Housing and Human Services Commission meeting February 26, 2015, in the Siskiyou Room at the Community Development and Engineering Offices located at 51 Winburn Way, Ashland OR 97520.

Respectfully submitted by Leslie Gore

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