Agendas and Minutes

Housing and Human Services Advisory Committee (View All)

Housing and Human Services Commission Regular Meeting

Thursday, February 22, 2018


Ashland Housing and Human Services Commission
Minutes February 22, 2018
Commission Chair Rohde 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  
Sue Crader SOU Liaison
Michelle Linley  
Gina DuQuenne  
Jackie Bachman Staff Present:
Absent: Linda Reid, Housing Specialist
Linda Reppond, excused Carolyn Schwendener, Clerk
Heidi Parker, excused  
Bachman/Crader m/s to approve the minutes of the January 18, 2018 regular Commission meeting.  Voice Vote:  All Ayes, motion passed. 
Willow Denon, 132 Sixth Street, introduced herself. Ms. Denon spoke about her concerns surrounding the Senior Center.   Many people who came to the Senior Center consider it their family, stated Ms. Denon.  For some it is their only contact with other humans.  Ms. Denon inquired as to why the Senior Center is under the purview of the Parks and Recreational Department rather than being under the jurisdiction of the Housing and Human Services Commission?
Commissioner Bachman is the Chair of the Ad Hoc Senior Program Advisory Committee and offered some answers to Ms. Denon.  The decision was made to lay off some of the staff and reorganize the entire program.  It currently is a very vibrant program with a lot of services offered, acknowledged Bachman.  In 2007 the City had some financial problems and didn’t have enough money in the budget to do everything they needed to do. Parks and Recreation Department had additional money that was coming in from property taxes and took over the Senior programs at that time. Throughout the country it is very common for the Parks & Recreation departments to be overseeing these services.  Senior Services will now be its own division and have its own superintendent, conveyed Bachman.
Ms. Denon commented the current people working with the seniors have no awareness or concern or consideration for the seniors or what the changes are doing to them as well as those who have lost their jobs. That familiar feeling has left and the main purpose of the program seems to be to make money not the welfare of the seniors, stressed Ms. Denon.  
Reid explained that in regards to the Housing and Human Services Commission having purview over the Senior Center it isn’t written into their mission and this Commission is a recommending body not an administrative body.  Reid went on to say it would be up to the City Council whether to make changes to the program or not.
Reid reported there are three CDBG applications and three HTF applicants which represent five applications. OHRA’s application is really three separate ones.  Staff will provide their evaluation in the packet before next months meeting.  Reid confirmed with only three CDBG applications there is plenty of money for each of the requests.  Everyone could be funded and we will still have money left over, pointed out Reid.
We have $366,000 to award in HTF money but the applicant’s requests have exceeded that amount.    Columbia Care is asking for $366,000, Habitat for Humanity is asking for $250,000, ORHA is asking for $83,000, $19,000 and $100,000. Reid is going to give Columbia Care a call this week and ask if they would be interested in taking some CDBG money because their project meets CDBG eligibility requirements.  That would give the potential of shifting around some of the money.
The Commissioners discussed the conflict of interest issue once again.  We need to be very cautious, acknowledged the Commissioners.  Though we may be within the bounds of the law, appearance is just as important.  Reid will speak with the City Attorney and get a written document explaining the conflict of interest and how it applies to the Commission.  It was suggested to read the document at the beginning of next month’s meeting and then each Commissioner would declare any bias.
The Commissioners discussed some additional questions they might like to ask the applicants.
What would you do with partial funding?
How many people in Ashland did you serve in the past? 
The Commissioners will send any questions they would like the applicants to answer to Reid and she will compile them.  Reid will send out the evaluation sheets for CDBG and HTF to the Commissioners.  She will also send out the HTF RFP so the Commissioners can review what the applicants will be addressing in their application. 
Reid did mention that if the Commissioners do not recommend to fund an applicant there is the possibility in the interim they can apply for the Social Service Grant money next year. 
The Commissioners decided to have a special meeting next Thursday, March 1st at 4:30 in the Siskiyou Room to discuss the merits of each application.  They felt it would be beneficial to have an informal discussion regarding the applications before seeing their presentations at next month’s meeting.  The meeting notice will be sent to the Daily Tidings.
Next month’s meeting will be as follows:
CDBG will go first
            Each applicant will have ten minutes for their presentation and question and answer period.
            The Commission will deliberate for ten minutes
HTF – Each applicant will have ten minutes for their presentation and question and answer period.
           The Commission will deliberate an undetermined amount of time.
The Commissioners concluded by saying “We would like to fund the project/projects who is most clearly success bound.  We need a project that stands out and shows what the money can really do.  We need a success and the City needs a success.”
Brandon Goldman will present the final draft to the HHS Commission when it is ready. 
Council - Darrow was not present, no report. Reid is trying to contact Darrow to express the importance of being at next month’s meeting but has not heard back from her yet.
SOU – Reid will encourage the administration staff to speed up the process for appointing new commissioners. 
Staff – Reid reported last month was the Point-in-time Count.  Volunteers collected fifty-nine surveys representing sixty-two people.  Because we didn’t have enough volunteers, stated Reid, we were not able to do a street count only the shelters.  The information collected goes to George Jarvis at ACCESS who will take the information and enter it into the State and Federal data base.  The State will tally it and in April they will release their number count. We cannot release our numbers until the State does.
Rhode announced House Bill 4007 could raise thirty-five to forty million dollars a year for affordable housing.  It adds a new component for letting individuals create their own first time buyer accounts.  The accounts could accumulate tax free and be applied to first time home buyers. Great step forward for affordable housing.
Housing and Human Services Commission Regular Meeting – 4:30-6:30 PM; March 22, 2018, at 51 Winburn Wy.
The meeting was adjourned at 6:05 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by Carolyn Schwendener 


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