Ashland Housing and Human Services Commission
Minutes February 25, 2016
CALL TO ORDER
Chair Josh 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.
||Pam Marsh, left at 6:00pm
||Megan Mercier, absent
||Linda Reid, Housing Specialist
||Carolyn Schwendener, Administrative Assistant
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Parker/Rohde m/s to approve the minutes of the January 28, 2016 Housing and Human Services Commission meeting. Voice Vote: All ayes, minutes were approved as presented.
Lindsay Gerkin introduced herself. Ms. Gerkin is a local insurance agent at Reinholdt & O’Harra Insurance in Ashland and is a 2003 SOU graduate. Ms. Gerkin was also a member of the City of Ashland Conservation Commission. Ms. Gerkin addressed the issue of increased rent rates in the City of Ashland. She is particularly concerned about the management company, Pacific Properties and the way in which they are treating their clients. Once her property was sold to Pacific Properties her rent as well as the others in her building increased by $200.00. Everyday working people are becoming homeless, stated Ms. Gerkin.
DRAFT FAIR HOUSING REVIEW AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Reid reported that she attended a monthly meeting of the Southern Oregon Rental Association. Her purpose was to explain the Commission’s desire to get feedback from both landlords and students about changes that the City could make to the Fair Housing Ordinance to further protect students as well as ideas on how to help students become more desirable renters. Reid acknowledged she did not get a great deal of positive feedback and there appeared to be some confusion regarding the language in the ordinance. Reid emphasized at the meeting that the City is not requesting that students be a protected class and nothing in this ordinance would preclude them from going through the regular application process such as checking rental history, credit, and criminal background checks.
The Commissioners discussed the ordinance changes and agreed it was ready to move forward to the Council. The changes in the ordinance language addressed income and age. The Commissioners agreed the University needs to take more of a responsibility at developing resources for their students insuring that they can be housed. One of our recommendations is that we continue future outreach with the college to see if they can mitigate some of these issues or create programs to help to eliminate some of the concerns of the property owners, stated Reid.
Reid said that this ordinance change goes to the City Council Study Session on March 14, 2016.
Buechele/Rhode m/s as a Commission we propose the ordinance of the Ashland Municipal Code Chapter 10.110 Fair Housing as amended.
Motion was discussed
Motion was amended as follows; 1) that Council consider the alternate language of State and Local laws. 2) Further recommend working with the college to look at Housing options and look at programs addressing those barriers. Voice Vote: All ayes, motion passed unanimously.
It was suggested that in the memo that goes to Council to mention that the value of amending the Fair Housing Ordinance is the educational component.
The Commissioners will try and attend the City Council meeting and Rhode volunteered to co present with Reid.
STRATEGIC PLAN PRIORITY UPDATE
Boettiger gave a brief update from his meeting with Daniel Murphy and Ben Morgan regarding Mr. Murphy’s proposal “Ashland Connects.” This program is about training volunteers who would engage with anyone on the streets who might need assistance (directions, mental health needs, etc.) connecting them with the appropriate resources. Boettiger went on to say that the Peace Commission is working on a similar project and the two streams are coming together to work on this. Councilor Marsh conveyed she is very supportive of this program and it fits right in with other programs currently being discussed. This Commission is happy to help with this program in any way they can.
Reid spoke with Reverend Norma Nakai Burton from the Ashland Unity Church. Ms. Burton explained she is working with a group of people who are interested in doing a co-housing project. They are discussing having some kind of affordable housing component with the project. Currently the group does not have enough people to make this goal happen. The Ashland property that seems to meet their needs is the Verde Village property located on Nevada by the dog park. Reid gave Ms. Burton some suggestions of agencies to contact who might be interested in a partnership.
- < >Neighborworks Umpqua in Roseburg
- School District (work force housing)
- Senior Co-Housing - Melanie Mindlin
HOUSING TRUST FUND UPDATE
Rohde and Parker met to discuss the next steps in revenue options for the Housing Trust Fund (HTF). Some of the potential sources of revenue are; food and beverage tax, hotel/motel tax and property tax. After Rohde and Parker reviewed the budget they acknowledged there are some opportunities in the budget for money for the HTF. One suggestion was the potential to put a cap on the food and beverage tax revenue then use the tax growth monies above that cap each year which may be a large enough contribution for the HTF. Currently that tax money is dedicated to purchasing open space for parks and the waste water treatment plant utilizing the funds received above the capped amount would ensure that HTF contributions would not be taking funding away from identified uses but rather capturing funding above that which was expected. Other suggested sources were; the newly proposed marijuana tax, a construction excise tax, a surcharge on building permit fees. It was mentioned if a number of multiple sources were used for smaller amounts of money it would be less of an impact.
Michael Anderson, the National staff person for the HTF is willing to discuss his ideas and thoughts with the Commission. Perhaps the Commission could do a conference call or skype with Mr. Anderson rather than have him drive down from Portland. Our role is to present several options to the council for their decision.
SOCIAL SERVICE GRANT PROCESS EVALATION LETTER REVIEW
Reid composed a letter to Social Service Grantees informing them that like the United Way, the City of Ashland will also be requesting a mid-cycle report from all grantees. Reid included the mid cycle report from the United Way with one modification. Reid removed the tally on the backside of the form for all the different areas. The Commission liked the letter and Reid will mail it out to the Grantees in the next week.
DISCUSSION ABOUT RENTAL HOUSING FORUM
Reid and the Commissioners agreed it would be appropriate for this Commission to endorse a Rental Housing Forum. The Commissioners discussed the different venues that might be available and decided the Unitarian Church would be the most appropriate as it has plenty of parking.
Rohde/DuQuenne m/s that the Housing Commission sponsor and reach out to other housing groups to sponsor a Rental Housing Forum in April and that we set up a committee to do the planning. Voice Vote: All ayes, motion passed.
Council - No report, Marsh left the meeting at 6:00
Staff – Reid reported that the Community Development Block Grant applications were due last Friday. The City received four applications
- Maslow Project $10,000
- St. Vincent DePaul Home Visitation Program $25,000
- Options For Homeless Residence of Ashland $12,700
- Capital Improvement project - Ashland Supportive Housing $70,000
Reid confirmed that the allocation was reduced this year to $158,700. We do have some carry over funds in the amount of $101,000, stated Reid. She emphasized the importance of awarding the capital improvement money this year.
Parker announced that the Jackson County Homeless Taskforce has proposed Hope Village. A tiny house is on display at the Rogue Valley Mall.
Next Housing Commission Meeting – 4:30-6:30 PM; March 24, 2016 4:30-6:30 in the Siskiyou Room at the Community Development & Engineering Department located at 51 Winburn Way. -
Both Buechele and DuQuenn will not be able to attend next month’s meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at 6:25 p.m. respectfully submitted by Carolyn Schwendener