Agendas and Minutes

Housing and Human Services Advisory Committee (View All)

Housing and Human Services Commission Regular Meeting

Thursday, April 27, 2017


Ashland Housing and Human Services Commission
Minutes April 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
Sue Crader Traci Darrow
Rich Rohde  
Joshua Boettiger SOU Liaison
Tom Gunderson  
Gina DuQuenne  
Michelle Linley Staff Present:
Heidi Parker Linda Reid, Housing Specialist
  Carolyn Schwendener, Clerk
Commissioners Absent:  
Sharon Harris, excused  
The Commissioners welcomed Traci Darrow, their new Council Liaison.
Parker made minor grammatical and typo corrections to the March 16th minutes along with adding a sentence at the end of the first paragraph to read as follows.  However, Harris agreed she would not submit allocations for the Social Service Grants.
Rohde/Crader m/s to approve the minutes of the March 16, 2017 Housing and Human Services Commission Special meeting with amendments.  Voice Vote: All Ayes, minutes were approved with amendments.
Parker asked why City Council received the draft minutes from the March 23, 2017 meeting when this Commission had not reviewed or approved them yet.  Reid explained as part of the deliberation for the two different grant applications we provide draft minutes.  Council has always requested them and we have always provided them, stated Reid.  Parker suggested a future discussion addressing the possibility of having the meeting far enough in advance that the Commission could review the minutes before they go to Council.
Parker made the following clarifications to the March 23, 2017 minutes.
Parker recalled before the meeting was called to order Harris asked where she should sit and both Parker and Rohde conveyed that because she was not participating in the discussion she could sit at the table.  This was not included in the minutes because the conversation took place before the meeting was called to order.
Last sentence of the first page should include Commissioner Linley’s job title.  Resident Manager at Snowberry Brook apartment for the Housing Authority of Jackson County.
Second page spelling correction.  Jason and Vanessa’s last name should be spelled Houk.
Parker asked to include with the minutes the three handouts that were given.  The Staff evaluation, the 2017 Southern Oregon Jobs with Justice Budget and the information from ORHA.
Parker emphasized that almost every organization that applied asked for salaries and help with overhead. At the Council meeting they commented that we don’t use this money for salaries and that is not true, stated Parker.  Rohde remarked this comment would not be a minute clarification but a topic better discussed in the process debrief. 
Parker acknowledged that because ORHA submitted a handout in response to the Commissions questions it was not necessary to ask follow up questions.  The handout clarified everything and was very well done.
Where Mr. Male was written change to Ms. Male.
Change the last sentence before the Community Development Block Grant Application Presentations to read before making final recommendations rather than all the recommendations.
Parker recalled Commissioner Harris asking, May I participate in this discussion?  As the minute taker I could not confirm that statement was made but I offered the audio to Parker and anyone else who wanted to listen.
Under the CDBG discussion list those who were applying for CDBG money at the beginning of the section and state what the staff recommendations were.
Under the Family Solutions discussion, it should say, with energy efficient ones, not energy efficiency one.
Under the Ashland Tiny House Group presentation there were two names misspelled.  Verde is spelled Virdie and Adwin is Edwin.
Capitalize the sentence that reads We are a Housing First and hand up not a hand out Solution.
Change fare to far.
Under the heading Social Service Grant and Community Development Block Grant Recommendation, do not include the Social Service Grant, separate the two.
Second to the last page where it says “we would like to make a commitment as a Commission to explore the possibility of reissuing a Request for Proposal in the future” change to “Reid asked Commissioners if they would like to make a comment as a Commission to explore the possibility of reissuing a Request for Proposal for the remaining CDBG funds.”
At the end of the motion change the voice vote to a roll call.  A roll call was not taken so this should be addressed as a process change that might need to take place in the future  
Typed Parkers name wrong.
On the last motion Parker asked to add that Harris abstained from voting.  Rohde called attention to the fact when the vote was made if was difficult to hear anything other than everyone saying aye. (A roll call was not taken) There had been discussions at earlier times stating that Harris would not vote but it was not made at the point of the voice vote.  Rohde stressed that the minutes need to reflect exactly what happened at what point.  Parker responded that Harris did not vote for the Social Service Grant money but did vote for the CDBG.  Harris was not present to represent herself.
Rohde/DuQuenne m/s to accept the clarifications that Parker made with the exception of the last piece and with the intent to listen to the audio.  Those pieces are still to be determined. Voice Vote:  All ayes
John Wieczorek was present on behalf of the Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Social Justice and Action Committee. Fellow committee members John Lynn and Linden Crouch were present as well.  Mr. Lynn explained their endeavor.  The Committee has started an Overnight Parking Program for homeless individuals who are lucky enough to have a car.  They have allocated three parking spots behind one of the buildings on the property and provide a porta potty and garbage bin. This is a gray area not strictly legal, acknowledged Mr. Lynn. Our hope is that if this program is successful other churches in our Community would participate.  So far none of the neighbors have expressed any concerns but there is always the possibility of being shut down if anyone complains.  Our desire is to have the City Council approve a resolution permitting this activity in places of worship, remarked Lynn.  The City of Eugene has a similar ordinance which permits overnight sleeping.  See Exhibit A at the end of the minutes. If we have the support of this Commission, it might increase our chances of an ordinance passing.  Put this on next month’s agenda.
Mark Haneberg introduced himself to the Commissioners.  Hr. Haneberg has applied to be on the HHS Commission and has an interview with the mayor on May 4, 2017.  Was at the meeting to observe and introduce himself.

The Commissioners discussed ways in which they could improve the relationship and clarity their role with the City Council. Chair Boettiger acknowledged there is a lot of strong emotions and upset Commissioners due to the decision from the Council to reduce funding to ORHA from the amount recommended by this Commission. 
Rohde gave an overview of what happened at the Council meeting in which he gave the presentation for the Social Service and CDBG grant recommendations.  Rohde brought the recommendations forward and described the process this commission took in order to arrive at their recommendations.  Rohde went on to say that the question arose as to conflict of interest.  Rohde explained to the Council that this Commission asked for direction from the City of Ashland legal department [regarding Commissioner Harris’ position as President of the OHRA board] and felt that Commissioner Harris understood the Commission’s concerns about how her participation might appear. The Council continued with a broader discussion surrounding their concerns of the conflict of interest ending with Councilor Lemhouse recommending a different set of recommendations that appeared to be stemming from the notion that the conflict of interest made the Commission’s recommendation mute. The new set of recommendations passed four votes to two.  Rohde expressed his surprise and disappointment in their decision.
Reid emphasized what a great job Rohde did with his presentation to the Council.  Before the Council meeting began Reid reviewed the audio from the March 23, 2017 HHS Commission and confirmed that Harris did participate in both the CDBG as well as the Social Service Grant presentations by asking a question.  Like Rohde, Reid could not recall if Harris voted because it was difficult to pay attention to who was giving a voice vote.  Reid stressed to the Council the process this group took was a really valid process and they worked really hard at it.  The conflict of interest issue was dealt with in a good way and we did what the City Attorney told us we could do, stated Reid.  The rest was up to Harris.  Reid went on to say in hindsight either she or Boettiger should have asked at the beginning of the meeting if anyone has a conflict of interest to declare.  We also should have done a roll call vote. 
Parker remarked that she went back and reviewed the minutes from the prior two months’ HHS meetings and they showed this Commission had been discussing the conflict of interest issue and received an opinion from the City Attorney long before the process actually happened.  When the meeting was actually happening we didn’t state the outcome of the research.  That was a mistake, declared Parker. 
Boettiger said that though this isn’t a perfect process it’s a good enough process.  With clarity from the Council we can improve on it but we did our best.  Seems to me, said Boettiger, what the Council did was make Harris the bad guy because they didn’t want to fund ORHA.  We have always tried to be above board and support the council’s goals, it feels like a hard place we have come to and somewhat frustrating, conveyed Boettiger. 
DuQuenne responded that this Commission has learned a lot through this process but it doesn’t have to be terrible. 
Parker said If the City Council had called me out like that… it felt like a witch hunt.  Parker also stated that it is ironic that on our agenda this evening is zero tolerance and hate speech.  Parker added she was appalled and it was disgraceful and will make it hard for Harris to come back into this Community.  She is a younger woman in an old Community.  I was so excited, said Parker, to have a younger person on our Commission who has gotten so involved in our Community and to vilify her like that is inexcusable. 
Rhode commented we don’t have a big choice, our work is so critical and our job is to continue to repair and rebuild the work we do with the City Council.  How can we improve the situation and go forward?  We need to be united in upcoming work and do it with the notion that we are united in that movement.  Our biggest goal is to have solid support from the Council. 
Gunderson suggested sharpening up the process so that a different group can see we are doing this by the standards that we uphold.  This is the group that should evaluate proposals, not the Council [because they don’t have the time].  If we have a very formatted process that we don’t deviate from we should be able to get the Council to agree. Gunderson said as a new member he recognizes that having a Board President sitting on this group who doesn’t recuse themselves is a set up for the Community at large and might look suspicious in some people’s eyes. 
Councilor Darrow summarized that the Communication with the Council and forming those relationships is very important.  She encouraged the Commissioners to do that.  She reminded the Commissioners in the future to declare the conflict of interest and to do a roll call vote.  If the person who has declared the conflict of interest is still active in the meeting the appearance can be taken in a negative way, elaborated Darrow. 
Reid received a call from Councilor Seffinger who explained she is going to bring the Social Service Grant allocations back to the Council to see if they can have a reallocation of the funds.  Seffinger was not satisfied with the process that took place at the meeting and will be proposing something closer to what this Commission proposed.
This item was on the agenda because the presenters for the Tiny House application felt at some point they would be better able to put forth a solid proposal for tiny houses.  They asked City Council if it would be possible to open up the process again.  Rhode asked if we open it up in the future would there be others interested in applying. Reid stated that she is aware of four organizations who are interested in applying, ORHA, ACCESS, Tiny House Village and The City of Ashland Public Works Department.  Reid told the Commission from the City’s point of view they do not need to reissue an RFP, HUD is not requiring it.  Reid commented she does not know yet if the City will be getting an allocation this next year and if we did what that amount would be.  At this time, we could only reissue money that we know we have.  Perhaps we could make the decision whether or not to reissue an RFP after we hear from HUD and find out how much money we will get. 
Reid reminded the group that they have money that can be used to do education outreach or training.  We could address these issues with the Fair Housing Council, The Center for Non Profit for legal Services or some other organization.  The training we offer could be just for this group or for the entire Community.  Reid announced the Fair Housing Council of Oregon will be having a training Wednesday May 17, 2017 at the Community Center located at 59 Winburn Way.  See exhibit B at the end of the minutes.  The focus of the forum will be for landlord/property managers.  Reid will speak with Louise Dix while she is here and get her ideas on what kind of training they might want to do. Put on next month’s agenda.
Reid handed out staff’s revisions to the Housing Trust Fund Menu and reviewed the changes with the Commissioners.  See exhibit C at the end of the minutes.  This draft will go to the City Council Study Session on May 15, 2017.  Reid put together a Council Communication outlining the work this Commission has done with the Housing Trust Fund.  Reid will email that Communication out to the Commissioners for their review.  They may comment individually to Reid with suggestions.  Both Rohde and Gunderson determined it would be a good idea to meet with Council members Darrow and Slattery to give them a preview.
Rohde/DuQuenne m/s to accept the changes to the final draft to the Housing Trust Fund Menu.  Voice Vote:  all ayes, motion passed unanimously.
Staff – Reid announced Project Community Connect will be held Friday June 2, 2017 from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm.  They still need volunteers to work at the event. 
Reid provided the Commission with a brief update on changes to the Continuum of Care grant money from HUD that goes to support services to the homeless.
Housing Element went to the Planning Commission on Tuesday to discuss where we are with the public process.  Reid will give a larger presentation at the next month’s meeting. Reid will share the feedback from the Community Outreach event and from the questionnaire that was posted on the City website.
Quorum Check – Everyone should be present
On May 17 there will be the end of the winter homelessness shelter potluck and recognition of volunteers.  It will be held at the Trinity Episcopal church.  Everyone is invited.  Parker will send out an announcement.  She is not sure of the time yet. 
May 23, 2017 is the ACCESS Senior Fair at the Medford Armory.  See exhibit D at end of minutes. 
Next Housing and Human Services Regular Commission Meeting – 4:30-7:00 PM; March 23, 2017, in the Siskiyou Room at the Community Development & Engineering Department located at 51 Winburn Way.
The meeting was adjourned at 6:20 p.m. Respectfully submitted by Carolyn Schwendener

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