February 6, 2012
February 6, 2012
Approved March 5, 2012
Members Present: Joanne Peters; Christine Ma; Wendy Phillips; Laura Guzman; Kevin Sharps; Erick Brown; Kim Armbruster
Members Absent: Richard Springwater; Rae Suber
The meeting was started by the co-chairs at 11:10am.
II. Review of Minutes from December 5, 2011
Minutes were reviewed by the board members. Edits suggested and will be incorporated into final draft.
Motion made to approve the minutes from December 5, 2011
III. Appointments to the Shelter Monitoring Committee
The LHCB is responsible for appointing four members to the Shelter Monitoring Committee. There were currently two vacancies to be filled. The vacancies were for seats 2 and 4. Each seat has specific requirements and there are also requirements to the application process. There were five people who submitted applications for the two seats. Two of the applicants had completed applications and met the requirements. Those two applicants were also present at the meeting. Kandi Peterson and Kenneth Dotson were given time to speak about their interest in serving on the SMC along with the skills they would bring to the position. The other three applicants were not present at the meeting.
Motion made to appoint Kandi Peterson for seat #2 of the Shelter Monitoring Committee.
Motion made to appoint Kenneth Dotson to seat #4 of the Shelter Monitoring Committee.
IV. Presentation from the Families & Youth in Transition Liaison (FYIT)
A presentation was made by Salvador Lopez Barr who is the FYIT Coordinator of Program Student Support Services Department. Salvador described the students who are offered these services; spoke about what the actual services are; and the coordination done with non-profits that serve homeless families. The services and rights of these children and families are dictated by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act. Students are offered assistance with school enrollment and transportation; advocacy on their behalf; tutoring; uniforms; backpacks; school supplies; and referrals to other agencies. They are also working on getting transportation subsidies that would last the entire school year. Currently their budget doesn’t have enough funds to supply fast passes for the entire year.
Board member Ma asked if it was a challenge to identify the students who needed assistance. Mr. Lopez replied and said that 90% of the kids stand out. If it is not obvious then they look into the student information system. A bigger challenge is to identify the kids who live in doubled up situations as opposed to those in shelter or on the streets.
If students in need are not put into the system he relies on teachers and counselors to identify the students so they get assistance.
He also stated that the trend currently is an increase in students who need assistance, ie: are indentified as homeless.
Mr. Lopez was also asked if there are enough funds to fund fast passes for the entire year. He said not out of the Federal grant but the school district is going to us the "universal life line" to fund the fast passes through the remainder of the year.
Board member Armbruster asked what challenges are faced system wide. Mr. Lopez responded and said that families are resistant to saying that where they live or that they are homeless.
Board member Brown asked what happens when families move into permanent housing and are no longer homeless. Mr Lopez said the kids are allowed to use services until the end of the academic year.
Mr. Lopez also commented on the recent media attention that the school district got regarding this specific issue, homeless kids in SFUSD. The media attention brought some resources.
Carol from United Council asked how often CPS is involved in cases. Mr. Lopez said that whenever there is abuse the school staff reports because they are mandated reporters. (Board Member Ma noted that just because a family is homeless that does not mean CPS is involved)
A member of the public asked if there is funding to also help the students purchase athletic uniforms? Mr. Lopez replied and said the fund is used for academic purposes only.
V. Follow Up: Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG)
A special meeting was held hosted by the Funding Committee and the Mayors Office on Housing to discuss the changes in the Emergency Solutions Grant policies and how to distribute the funding according to new guidance issued by HUD. The staff from the Mayor’s Office reviewed potential funding strategies and also reviewed the comments received at the workgroup meeting. The proposed strategy moving forward would be to maintain existing levels of funding for all shelters that receive ESG monies and not increase the grants. Use the additional ESG funds to off set the CDBG funding cuts which are happening on the prevention side. This would be close to a 50-50 percent breakdown between shelter activities funded and prevention activities funded. So in the end this does not increase the pool of money for HPRP like activities and it does not reduce shelter budgets.
Board member Sharps asked are there funds available to accommodate the cost of doing business increases. Brian stated that they do not have enough funds to accommodate that.
Board member Guzman commented on two points made at the meeting, one being that prevention money being used in PSH building and also how there is not any current program available for rapid rehousing for adults.
Board member Phillips asked about the decisions to not use a majority of the funds towards Rapid Rehousing since that is the direction HUD wants, what impact will this have? Brian responded that since the funding distribution is still within the requirements and caps there shouldn't be a problem. SF is still aligned with actual regulations.
One member of the public asked for clarification on what rapid rehousing is.
Felicia from A Woman's Place asked for clarification on how the ESG funding impacts the CDBG funding. Brian replied by saying that they would work things so the increase in ESG funds would be used to offset the decrease in CDBG funding. The CDBG services that are eligible to be paid for by ESG funds would go under ESG, however this results in no increase for anyone rather things remaining under the same amount of funding.
Teresa from VLSP noted that their agency spends time, and funds, on preventing evictions from permanent supportive housing sites, some of these sites are even funded by Mayor's Office on Housing. Therefore it would make sense to work with the landlords of these housing sites to not start eviction processes on these people, this would save money and allow services to be shifted elsewhere.
Brian stated that he would bring this message back to his office and it would be a good idea to get landlords and eviction prevention attorneys together for a meeting.
Rayana from Hamilton commented that she agrees with the proposal for funding distribution because it is a good balance. While there has been success in both prevention and rapid rehousing, shelters are not in a position to take any more funding reductions.
Keith, member of the public, said that cost of providing services is increasing and the demand is also increasing. Is there funding to accommodate this? Brian replied and said unfortunately not. The department fully understands that both cost of doing business are increasing and so is need for services, however there is not additional funding to give. And it is expected that more funding reductions are coming.
Karen from ECS suggested and strongly supported the idea and importance of planning ahead and understanding all the funding sources that are out there and what they pay for. It is necessary to coordinate all funding sources so they are used most effectively during this time when cost of business is increasing, demand is increasing, and money is so limited.
Marlon from Dolores Street said that the possible shift in priorities generates a lot of good discussion. While he understands the concept that a more prevention and rapid rehousing would lead to decrease need in shelter services he does not believe it would impact occupancy rates at all. The shelters would still be full. Although some people would be diverted from shelter there are still plenty of people who need shelter.
Charles Pitts asked what should be funded to prevent people from cycling in and out of shelter and to help the long time homeless? Brian replied that as a department they are looking at long term outcomes, who gets permanently housed coming from the shelter system. This was the idea of having a priority for those who provide case management, however he understands that agencies don't have the financial resources right now to provide those services.
The final ESG funding decisions will be presented to their Citizens Advisory Committee. The LHCB funding committee will also continue this discussion.
VI. New Business
A) Information regarding finger imaging system in CHANGES shelter reservation system
Scott Walton from HSA gave a presentation on the updated finger imaging machines at the shelters and shelter reservation stations. The machines were updated to be more effective and easier. The equipment was changed and the system was upgraded. The policies have not changed at all. This was done to reduce duplicated and speed up the check in process. Mr. Walton noted that the person's finger prints are never taken, it is a scan of the finger image. A unique number, not the person's personal information, is linked to the scanned image of the finger.
Board member Ma asked if there is any variability statistics on how often the computer generated number is generated incorrectly. Mr. Walton replied that the scan won't take if it is done incorrectly, the stem checks itself. It checks itself multiple times to ensure it is done correctly.
Board member Guzman commented that the process is going very well and was thankful that the shelters and resource centers got new computer equipment.
Charles Pitts asked what happens if the information collected is subpoenaed? Mr. Walton replied that they have been subpoenaed and they don't produce it. And he also reiterated that all the computer generates is a numeric value attached to the finger scan, a finger print is not produced and personal information is not attached to the scanned image.
A member of the public asked if good stamps used the same model and why they have decided to stop doing it the way that they do it (details not provided). Mr. Walton responded and said that the model that is used for shelter reservations was started in 2004 as part of implementation of care not cash. Food stamps do things differently and there are no plans for the finger imaging process done at shelters to change.
B) Agenda for next months meetings
Board member Phillips reiterated a desire for the LHCB to get a meeting with the Mayor. She also asked staff to get a meeting with Bevan Dufty and invite him to the Full Board meetings.
Karen from ECS stated that it was a great idea to invite Bevan Dufty to attend and to educate him and get him more involved in the role and work of the Continuum of Care.
VII. General Public Comment