November 7, 2011
San Francisco Local Homeless Coordinating Board
November 7, 2011
Members Present: Christine Ma; Richard Springwater; Rae Suber; Kevin Sharps; Eric Brown; Kim Armbruster
The meeting was started at approximately 11:10. The honoring of Eric Quezada was tabled.
II. Minutes from October 7, 2011 and October 24, 2011
Motion made to approve the minutes from October 7, 2011
Motion made to approve the minutes from October 24, 2011
III. 2011 McKinney Application Wrap Up
A) The 2011 application is complete. It was due to HUD on October 24, 2011 and staff submitted it a few days prior to that deadline. All involved in the process were thanked for their hard work and effort. Award notice from HUD should come at the end of the calendar year.
Nancy Cross demanded to see a copy of the full application. She was directed to do a public documents request.
B) Jason, staff from Homebase, then went over a proposed work plan for the next four quarters. This work plan was derived from the goals and action steps that were included in the 2011 McKinney application. All of these goals and action steps were approved during the application process. The plan is organized by listing the action steps associated with each HUD objective. The action steps are then put into a quarter (timeframe) in which they will be worked on.
Board members reviewed the plan and made comments. Some Board members requested more detail with each action step. In particular assign which committee will be responsible for the work or if it will be for the Full Board, LHCB staff, Homebase staff, etc.
For the goals related to permanent housing, get regular updates (written or verbal) from the Mayor’s office on Housing.
Also, for the action steps related to the decrease in family homelessness, it was suggested to get more information from the homeless student liaison at the school district.
Board members approved moving forward with the work plan for the remainder of 2011 and 2012.
Nancy Cross stated that acronyms should not be used because the public cannot understand them.
IV. Presentation on Family Homelessness in San Francisco
Cindy Ward, Manager of family homeless and prevention programs gave a presentation on family homelessness in San Francisco. The presentation included the following information: background information about current number of shelter beds, transitional housing beds, permanent housing units, rental subsidies, and homeless prevention programs. Cindy also reviewed the current data on need. In particular the numbers and data about families on the Connecting Point waitlist was reviewed. Finally Ms. Ward reviewed with the Board possible strategies involved in addressing the family homelessness issue in San Francisco.
The Board members asked Ms. Ward questions about the presentation and the data provided on the handouts.
Board Member Ma commented on the jump in the number of people on the waitlist for shelter, from documentation presented that lists the numbers in January and August. Is it from people coming from outside the area?
Cindy stated that families do get on the waitlist that are from outside of San Francisco, however the increase during this time period isn’t’ believed to be because of families coming from outside of SF.
Board Member Ma also commented on the data that stated only 18% of families are employed. Employment of families should be a part of our employment roundtable discussions.
Board member Armbruster asked what the impact would be when HPRP expires?
Ms. Ward stated that financially it will be a significant loss because the City was receiving almost $9 million over 3 years. However the structure will stay in place as SF already had rental assistance and prevention programs running before HPRP came along.
Board member Sharps asked if the lack of childcare is a reason why the number of employed families is so low? Or what are the reasons for this being so low?
Ms. Ward suggested that the City’s childcare program manager, Michelle Ruthorford come to speak to the LHCB. Families in shelter should be able to access childcare, but funding from the State has been cut. And there is not one reason that can be attributed to the low employment number.
Board member Springwater asked how many people are being placed? He also commented that there should be an analysis done on the program and their effectiveness, in particular the cost effectiveness of the HPRP program. Having data and information will assist in lobbying for more funding.
Ms. Ward stated that the shelters are always at capacity. On average 2-3 families are placed each weak.
Karen Gruneisen made a suggestion that often times an eviction situation invoices someone having to leave friends or families places. Possibly use subsidy funds to keep these people in these housing situations.
Cindy agreed that looking at shared housing options are a good idea, however we have to be cautious of supporting over crowding situations or put people in a situation where a lease violation might occur.
Deborah Whittle said there should be more inclusionary and affordable housing options for families. Ms. Ward responded and said that the inclusionary units don’t usually ever serve homeless families because the AMI is at 50%.
Nancy Cross stated that women in their third trimester of pregnancy have no where to go.
Rayana from Hamilton stated that emphasis on early prevention and intention is key. Focusing on prevention and rapid rehousing is a good thing.
Devra from Hamilton stated the importance of homeless prevention and shelter diversion, however she also noted the importance and need for emergency shelter. Shelters are in great need and have been operating under the same amount of funding for a very long time. Without increased funding it is difficult to provide safe and stable shelter.
Board member Springwater ended by saying that the Board should advise City lobbyist who work on the Federal level to advocate for continued prevention and rapid rehousing funding for families.
V. Old Business
A) San Francisco Housing Authority
LHCB staff provided an update on the work surrounding the San Francisco Housing Authority. This update included the work that has been done over the years, the recommendations that came from the housing access workgroup, and information on best practice from a recent HUD webinar.
Board members were curious as to who has the power right now to make decisions to influence the work of the SFHA and also is the City still meeting with the Housing Authority.
Joyce Crum Director of Housing and Homeless programs gave an update. She said that Human Services Agency staff does meet with the managers at SFHA. It used to be a director level meeting, but now it is managers. SFHA is on the HUD ”troubleled” list. Being on the list jeopardizes their ability to get Federal grants. They have stated they expect to get off this list in early 2012. They have also recently laid off 22 people in October. It will be up to the SFHA director to decide if he wants his staff to attend and participate in LHCB meetings. Joyce said she would let Trent Rhorer know that the LHCB is interest in having SFHA staff at their meetings. Maybe Trent can assist in making that happen. Finally Joyce stated that the SFHA doesn’t currently have plans to purge the entire waitlist because then there would be expectations to open it back up. They are working on cleaning up the waitlist.
Board member Suber suggested that we get objective, non political, assistance in facilitating a process deal with this issue by seeking TA from HUD. Staff stated she would follow up on this.
Board member Springwater spoke about issues he has experienced with his work with ECS where units have stayed vacant due to SFHA’s slowness in inspecting units or the inefficient waitlist. It would be helpful to eliminate the requirement to have to use the Section 8 waitlist to fill the vacant spots since the waitlist is so old and almost unusable.
Hamilton Center staff also echoed these sentiments about having issues using the Section 8 waitlist to fill their vacancies at the Dudley.
Phil Clark from ECS added that he would like to know what the definition of “purging a list” actually means. Canon Barcus has had issues with the list since 2002. It would be helpful if they could operate their own lists. He also raised the point that although there is argument not to re-open the list because it means that more people will want to get on it, one has to think about all the people who are eligible and in need of being on that list and are not.
Finally Deborah from Glide stated that she is happy that the LHCB and HSA are involved and doing work on this issue. Also noted it is important to not rush the work of possibly purging the waitlist, due diligence must be done. And the SFHA Commission should hear about all these issues.
VI. New Business
A) Federal Update: HEARTH, CoC Assessment, and others
Jason from Homebase went over recent news coming from the Federal budget. There were big cuts to HUD programs. These cuts will have an impact on housing programs. The homeless assistance programs (McKinney funds) was not cut, rather it stayed at the same level. A lack of funding increases means that HEARTH cannot be implemented fully as it was intended. A list of the budget cuts was provided in a hand out.
Jason also did a brief over view of a new HUD “project” that all CoCs are going to be mandated to participate in. The CoC Assessment will be a tool that CoCs use to determine their readiness for HEARTH and review things like CoC structure, policy, and more. The first phase involves stakeholders participating in an online survey. The surveys are due in January. The HEARTH workgroup will discuss this more.
B) Next month agenda items
No agenda items were suggested.
VII. General Public Comment
Nancy Cross stated that there should be a discussion about smoke free buildings in permanent housing. Second hand smoke is very bad and residents should get a chance to choose to live in smoke free building.