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HOMELESSNESS COMMITTEE

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					HOMELESSNESS COMMITTEE
MINUTES OF THE MEETING May 20, 2009
1. CALL TO ORDER The Coachella Valley Association of Governments’ (CVAG) Homelessness Committee meeting was called to order on Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 10:03 a.m. by Chairwoman Lupe Ramos Watson, Councilmember, City of Indio, at CVAG offices, 73-710 Fred Waring Drive, Conference Room 119, Palm Desert, California 92260. 2. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE Councilmember Lupe Ramos Watson with the City of Indio led the pledge of allegiance. 3. ROLL CALL A roll call of the voting members and ex-officios was conducted and it was determined that a quorum of voting members was present. MEMBERS PRESENT Mayor Pro Tem Karl Baker Councilmember Patrick Mullany (Vice Chair) Councilmember Lupe Ramos Watson (Chair) Councilmember Kristy Franklin Councilmember Jean Benson Councilmember Ginny Foat Mayor Pro Tem Alan Seman Leticia DeLara, Legislative Assistant MEMBERS ABSENT Councilmember Chuck Vasquez Councilmember Emmanuel Martinez EX-OFFICIO MEMBERS PRESENT Darla Burkett, Executive Director Dan Bass, Executive Director Linda Barrack, Director Le McClellan, Case Manger John Wolohan, Executive Director Lothar Vasholz, Advisory Board Chair Dale Cook, Community Development Admin AGENCY City of Desert Hot Springs City of Indian Wells City of Indio City of La Quinta City of Palm Desert City of Palm Springs City of Rancho Mirage County of Riverside AGENCY City of Cathedral City City of Coachella AGENCY Coachella Valley Rescue Mission Jewish Family Services of the Desert Jewish Family Service of San Diego The Well in the Desert Martha’s Village and Kitchen The Salvation Army City of Palm Springs

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OTHERS PRESENT Natalie Castillo Claudia Castorena, Co-Founder Linda Hodge, Housing Specialist Joe Nunziato, Pastor Charlene Reck, Admin. Svc’s. Analyst Vincent Yzaguirre, Dir. Of Real Estate SUPPORT STAFF PRESENT Dr. Ron Stewart, Administrative Manager/Homeless Larry Parrish, Interim, Executive Director Aurora Wilson, Director of Community Resources Amanda Keil, Management Analyst Jacob Alvarez, Management Analyst Patty Nevins, Interim Program Assistant Diana Paz, Interim Program Assistant 4. County Homeless Division CVAG CVAG CVAG CVAG CVAG CVAG Catholic Charities Martha’s Village & Kitchen City of Rancho Mirage DHS Ministerial Association County of Riverside County of Riverside Facilities Mgmt

FINALIZATION OF AGENDA / ADDITIONS & REVISIONS - None.

5.

PUBLIC COMMENTS - None.

6.

COMMITTEE MEMBERS / EX-OFFICIOS & DIRECTORS COMMENTS • Administrative Manager Mr. Stewart commented that he had received a call from Community Action Partnership looking for new hosts for the cooling program as their homeless individuals are sometimes a deterrent to those seeking a place to go. • Mayor Pro Tem Karl Baker, Desert Hot Springs, stated writer Dean Grey from newspaper Desert Valley Star is referring to homeless shelters as “homeless warehouse”. Case Manager Le McClellan (Well in the Desert) proposed posting a letter stating purpose of Homeless Shelters.

7.

CORRESPONDENCE Aurora Wilson announced Patty Nevins will be leaving and Diana Paz will be the new Interim Program Assistant. Councilmember Foat inquired if committee could send flowers and a card for Valarie. Following discussion it was agreed that staff will bring a card at next month’s meeting and members may contribute to a floral arrangement for Valarie.

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8.

MEETING MINUTES A MOTION WAS MADE BY COUNCILMEMBER JEAN BENSON, CITY OF PALM DESERT, AND SECONDED BY COUNCILMEMBER PATRICK MULLANY, CITY OF INDIAN WELLS, TO APPROVE THE HOMELESSNESS COMMITTEE MEETING MINUTES OF MARCH 18, 2009, APRIL 15, 2009, & MAY 06, 2009. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.

9.

RIVERSIDE COUNTY UPDATE 9A. FACILITY DESIGN UPDATE

Vincent Yzaguirre, County Department of Facilities Management, stated he appreciates all the input on Desert Resource Center and hopes to open the shelter in December. 9B. 2009 HOMELESS COUNT RESULT

Dr. Ron Stewart from County Homeless Division provided a handout which showed the number of homeless people in selected county locations from year 2007 and 2009. He reported that at the end of the count on Jan 28th 2009 they counted 3,366 – county wide people on the streets, which is a 25% decrease over the number counted by consultants in 2007. He stated that HUD provides a formula that allows them to calculate homeless numbers throughout the course of one year. Using the HUD formula, they calculated 11,191 persons who will potentially become homeless in Riverside County in a 12 month period. This translates to a projection that ½ of 1% of County population will experience homelessness in the next 12 months. Dr. Stewart continued with the numbers of homeless people for this year, which shows a decrease across the county with most cities experiencing lower numbers. One reason may be that families who are in “doubling up” housing were not being counted as homeless in 2007. The Office of Education from Riverside County reported the number of children who were living in doubled up situations was 4,889. In 2009, the number jumped to 6,346; that is a 23% increase. He added that in 2007, the number of children of homeless people living with other family members, friends, or foster care systems was 1,271. When adding 1,271 to 3,366 the number counted in 2007 is surpassed. So although we document a decrease, it is not something we can sustain as a true decrease in numbers of homeless people. Looking at the handout Dr. Stewart provided, Councilmember Jean Benson asked how March Air Force Base could have a homeless count; Dr. Stewart responded that March Air Force Base has a transitional housing facility for the homeless. Councilmember Patrick Mullany asked why there was a count of 0 in Thermal for 2007; Dr. Stewart stated there were none seen. Mental Health Desert Outreach counters went out to where people are known to be, but different areas may not have been “combed” as thoroughly as other areas. Councilmember Ginny Foat stated she did not understand why Palm Springs’ homeless number went down, noting that they were receiving an increase in reports.
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She also asked if these reports affect funding received from government. Dr. Stewart stated yes, but added that communities with constantly increasing counts seem to be penalized. Councilmember Ginny Foat inquired about homeless at Sun City; Dr. Stewart responded that this referenced a Sun City area near Indio, not the Palm Desert Sun City development. Lothar Vasholz of the Salvation Army asked if there was any breakdown in demographics. Dr. Stewart responded that there were consultant-derived survey numbers for this which were in and should be ready for distribution soon. 9C. UPDATE ON SAFE HAVEN PROGRAMS

Dr. Stewart stated that he had received an email from Maria Marquez stating that the first two residents had been welcomed. Mayor Pro Tem Karl Baker referenced hearing that Banning is dumping homeless people in the Coachella Valley. Dr. Stewart said that he had not heard anything but is not surprised as he had heard County Supervisor Ashley voice hopes that this facility could reach as far as Banning. Le McClellan said she has tried to send people to the new Safe Haven but patients were denied. Dr. Stewart offered to provide contact information. 10. SOLICITATION FOR HOMELESS DONATIONS Aurora Wilson reviewed concerns and discussions at the Public Safety Committee regarding homeless solicitors. The Technical Advisory Committee had decided that each city could follow its own local ordinances, and had concurred that they cannot legally restrict organizations that do not use the funds in these cities. Councilmember Foat stated money solicitated by the organization does not stay in Riverside County. In some organizations, clients only keep 65% of money made, anything after 65% “the boss keeps”. Darla Burkett from Coachella Valley Rescue Mission said that many of these children are housed in hotel rooms for a few days and then removed once they have collected the amount of money desired. Dan Bass from Jewish Family Service of the Desert suggested contacting the media and getting them to cover story in order to let communities know organizations are misrepresenting themselves. Dr. Stewart said he had already contacted newspapers and had received no response. Councilmember Foat suggested the local police be contacted. Chairwoman Lupe Ramos Watson suggested sending a letter to store managers and letting them know who and what this committee is all about, and copying Chiefs of Police in regards to Code Enforcement. Dr. Stewart suggested educating customers by providing posters or signs for businesses to place in their windows with an explanation of this issue. He added that in Denver, parking meters are also used as coin collection receptacles so that people can deposit change donations if they choose. It was agreed that Dr. Stewart would work with staff to develop a flyer or poster to be posted at area businesses.

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11.

PROGRAM PLANNING 11A. REQUEST TO HOLD RELIGIOUS SERVICES AT DESERT RESOURCE CENTER

Aurora Wilson introduced Pastor Joe Nunziato from the Desert Hot Springs Ministerial Association. Pastor Joe Nunziato presented a request to hold religious services at the Desert Resource Center (DRC), with church volunteers going to DRC to speak with clients to see if the client will be receptive to religion. If the client is “open” to the idea, the volunteers will begin programs with them such as bible readings etc. The goal is to lift the client up and restore them by giving them hope and a change of mind and spirit to not recidivate. Ron Stewart said he appreciated the idea; however he suggested the alternative of churches picking people up and taking them back to church community, stating that people at DRC will want to get out. Pastor Joe Nunziato said not all churches have vehicles and volunteers for the alternative. Jean Benson expressed concern about the church/state separation issue, citing a recent issue in Palm Desert with daycare. She stated that she would not want to jeopardize this facility, and was thus not in favor at this time. There was general concurrence that the operator should be included in discussions and decisions such as this. 11B. OPERATOR PROPOSALS

Ms. Keil commented on the 3 agencies who submitted proposals for the operations of Desert Resource Center: Bridges of Hope and The Well in the Desert for food service and Jewish Family Services of San Diego for program operations. She noted that in reviewing the proposal from The Well in the Desert, they did specify that they wish to continue to operate independently and serve as a partner to Desert Resource Center. She added that the subcommittee included Councilmember Ginny Foat from Palm Springs, Mayor Pro-Tem Alan Seman from Rancho Mirage, Leticia de Lara from Riverside County, and Councilperson Patrick Mullany from Indian Wells. Councilmember Foat said there was not a great response from agencies. Chair Ramos Watson asked if the Committee is in a position to enter into contract negotiations. Aurora Wilson said the special meeting on June 1st should address funding. Jewish Family Services proposals matched most of the needs specified in the request for proposals, but some adjustments will be needed. Councilmember Foat stated that there were still a few things to be addressed with Jewish Family Services, such as the lack of full-time oversight at the location, and there will still be changes before the final contract is ready. Ms. Keil stated that there were a couple of things that were not included in the Request for Proposals (RFP): these were salary for a full-time Center Administrator (who will oversee the two components), and other issues such as pest control, security, and maintenance costs.

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A MOTION WAS MADE BY MAYOR PRO TEM KARL BAKER, CITY OF DESERT HOT SPRINGS, AND WAS SECONDED BY COUNCILMEMBER JEAN BENSON, CITY OF PALM DESERT. DISCUSSION ENSUED. Dr. Stewart said county won’t be able to transfer funds until Nightingale Manor and CVSOS closes. This will be by Dec. 1st but the DRC operator will need to start in August or September. He added that if cities are ready to fund, they should start transferring funds into the account. Alan Seman said that he was uncomfortable with discussions at the subcommittee meeting that he attended as there was nobody there from Well in the Desert and Jewish Family Services. Councilmember Foat and Dr. Stewart both confirmed that it was appropriate for the first meeting to include the subcommittee and staff only. Mayor Pro Tem Baker clarified that the purpose of the motion was to recognize that the process has been gone through twice and there is only one operator that will meet all needs, and that the proposal with Jewish Family Services of San Diego be finetuned to ensure all questions are answered, and move forward. Amanda Keil stated that if approved today, the contract will come back to the Homelessness Committee June 17th meeting and will go to the Executive Committee meeting June 29th meeting. A financial update will be provided at the June 1st Executive Committee meeting. Chair Ramos Watson stated that the Committee should be cautious with contracts, and nothing should be signed until the financial commitments needed are in hand. CHAIR RAMOS WATSON CALLED FOR THE QUESTION, CLARIFYING THAT THE MOTION IS TO MOVE FORWARD WITH THE STAFF RECOMMENDATION THAT JEWISH FAMILY SERVICES OF SAN DIEGO BE CONSIDERED FOR THE OPERATORS OF THE DESERT RESOURCE CENTER, THAT CVAG COUNTY STAFF BE DIRECTED TO START NEGOTIATIONS AND ASKING QUESTIONS THAT THE COMMITTEE HAD AT THE RFP MEETING . THE MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.

12.

FUNDING 12A. CONTRIBUTIONS FROM MEMBER JURISDICTIONS FOR THE DESERT RESOURCE CENTER Lupe Ramos Watson gave an update on the City of Indio and stated that she brought the issue up at her council meeting and that Indio will hold a special study session regarding contributions. Aurora Wilson stated that this was brought up at a Technical Advisory Committee meeting; they are aware of the issue. The special meeting with the Executive Committee would be one hour only. Lupe Ramos Watson reminded members that this will be June 1st at 4:30pm. Ginny Foat encouraged the full committee to be there.

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12.B

HOMELESS PREVENTION & RAPID RE-HOUSING PROGRAM

Ms. Keil stated that staff was seeking direction from the Committee regarding pursuing Homeless Prevention & Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP) funds from the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) through a multi-agency application. HPRP is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, distributed from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to HCD at the state level using the emergency shelter grant formula. Funds will go directly to the County; the Economic Development Agency plans to sub-grant funds to the County Housing Authority. Staff is looking at how to ensure that appropriate funds are used in the Coachella Valley. One avenue being explored is for Housing Authority staff to work out of the DRC. Ms. Keil stated that the cities of Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, Rancho Mirage, and Coachella are considered “Non-Entitlement” areas under the ESG formula. These cities and agencies serving these cities, can apply directly to the state HPRP funds, which have been allocated to the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). Although the Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) will not be released by HCD until June 30th, the information currently available indicates that multi-agency applications can be filed by “local units of government and non profit organizations serving these cities” for up to $1.2 million to be administered over a two to three year period. Single agency applicants could apply for up to $600,000. It appears that these funds could only be used for the case management component at the Desert Resource Center. The total cost for this component is currently budgeted at about $215,000 per year. A notice of funding availability is expected to be released by HCD on June 30th. Dale Cook noted that a joint application could be a stronger application. A MOTION WAS MADE BY MAYOR PRO TEM KARL BAKER, CITY OF DESERT HOT SPRINGS, AND WAS SECONDED BY COUNCILMEMBER PATRICK MULLANY, CITY OF INDIAN WELLS. DISCUSSION ENSUED. Dale Cook stated that state money should be in addition to what is coming in locally. He felt that it is important to keep an eye on the funding to ensure that the Housing Authority includes this group when dispersing funds. Leticia De Lara noted that the Economic Development Agency had clearly stated its intent to include the Continuum of Care. In response to a request from Chair Watson Ramos, Ms. De Lara indicated that she would help watch this. CHAIR RAMOS WATSON CALLED FOR THE QUESTION, TO MOVE FORWARD WITH THE STAFF RECOMMENDATION THAT THE HOMELESSNES COMMITTEE CONSIDER THE POSSIBILITY OF FILING A “MULTI-AGENCY” APPLICATION FOR HOMELESS PREVENTION AND RAPID RE-HOUSING PROGRAM FUNDS FROM THE CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT (HCD) AND DIRECT STAFF TO FILE THE APPLICATION UPON ITS RELEASE. THE MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY. 12.C FUNDRAISING FOR FURNISHINGS

Ms. Keil noted that in meetings with the architects’ alternative funding for items previously considered as tenant improvements had been discussed. Rizaldi Baluyot (Facilities Management) has contacted GM Business Interiors – they will help search for furnishings at no cost. Ms. Keil stated that they have sent letters to Rotary and
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Soroptimist club Presidents/Directors requesting donations. Councilmember Foat met with the Hotel Industry Representatives and pointed out that if every hotel in the Coachella Valley donated 4 pillows for the shelter there would be more than enough for the DRC; she had also presented to the Convention and Visitors Authority, and was scheduled to speak at the Hotel and Restaurant Association meeting in Palm Springs. She added that the hotels may also be a resource for toiletries. This community seems to be very willing to assist. Councilmember Foat stated that she had been well received, and now needs to meet with staff to figure out how intake of donations will work. 12.D GRANT APPLICATIONS

Ms. Keil reviewed grant applications that had already been submitted, along with groups that she was planning on submitting applications to. Chair Ramos Watson stated that any additional funds that were being researched, including stimulus funds, should be on the list to demonstrate all sources that were being looked at. 13. BUS PASS PROGRAM UPDATE Amanda Keil reviewed the bus program and the jurisdictions that have funded this program. Councilmember Jean Benson asked if agencies were performing any follow up to ensure that the passes are being used appropriately. Darla Burkett (Coachella Valley Rescue Mission) stated that her agency and other use forms so that recipients can indicate where they have gone (e.g. employment interview) and how they have utilized the passes. 14. ANNOUNCEMENTS Chair Ramos Watson reviewed the following announcements: CVAG’s General Assembly will be held on June 29, 2009 at 6:00 pm at Spotlight 29 Casino, 46-200 Harrison Place, Coachella, California. The cost is $40.00 per person. RSVP to Joanna Stueckle by emailing jstueckle@cvag.org or calling 760-346-1127. There will be a Special Joint Meeting of the Homelessness Committee and the Executive Committee on June 1, 2009 at 4:30 p.m. at the CVAG offices, 73-710 Fred Waring Drive, Suite 119, Palm Desert, California. The next regular meeting of the Homelessness Committee is scheduled* for 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, June 17, 2009 at the CVAG offices, 73-710 Fred Waring Drive, Suite 119, Palm Desert, California.*(The Homelessness Committee has a standing meeting
date and time of 10:00 a.m. the third Wednesday of each month, with the exception of months August and December when CVAG Committees are dark.)

15.

ADJOURNMENT - Being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 11:53 a.m.
Respectfully submitted,

Diana Paz, Interim Program Assistant Department of Community Resources (DCR) COACHELLA VALLEY ASSOCIATION OF GOVERNMENTS

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