Minutes, February 21, 2017

Minutes, Clarksville CDC Monthly Meeting

February 21, 2017

Board members present: Aubrey Carter, BJ Friedman, Malcolm Greenstein, Paula Hern, Kim O’Brien, Mary Reed, Teri Taylor, Chris Thomas, Gregory Tran

Others present: Abby Tatkow (ECHO)

1.    On a motion by Malcolm, seconded by BJ, the minutes from the January 17, 2017 monthly board meeting were approved.

2.    The Finance Committee did not meet this month. Rose was not present at the meeting, but Teri shared the Financial Reports. The January report showed a net loss of $13,245—these are due to expenses related to 1817B W. 10th (Alley Flat) that are awaiting reimbursement. The checking account balance is $7789, savings balance is $156,646.

3.    Regarding the property management reports, two tenants are behind in rent but are in the process of catching up. Their leases will not be renewed until they are current.

4.    Abby Tatkow from Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO) made a presentation to the board. Since most board members were not familiar with ECHO, she gave an overview of her agency’s purpose. ECHO is 5 years old, a product of President Obama’s Opening Doors directive to end homelessness. ECHO is the community lead agency that provides the data and brings together the service providers. Currently, 3,500 households experience homelessness in Austin on any given night. More than 60% of the homeless population in Austin is made up of single people. ECHO administers the Coordinated Assessment. Goal is to have contact with all homeless people in area so that they are entered into the system so that those that need help are identified. The problem is that there are not enough resources to meet the need. Since Austin is data-driven, ECHO has been spending their time collecting and assessing the data.

ECHO’s first priority in Austin was veterans. A successful initiative, they have reached “functional zero” for homelessness of this population, but efforts continue while ECHO is also focusing on other populations. Their next priority was chronic homeless, but since they just received a big grant for youth homelessness, that’s become the priority—they go where the money is.

An example of an ECHO priority is a system they’ve created with the Austin Housing Authority where they’ve been able to gain access to Section 8 information to create a prioritization system for those at risk of homelessness. Each month, 5 Section 8 vouchers are reserved for people working with coalition agencies.

Abby is with ECHO’s Community Housing Department, whose goal is to expand housing opportunities for people exiting homelessness. She is making the rounds of CDCs and NDCs in order to learn more about what we do. Mary shared information about the CCDC, letting her know that we only serve families, and have a low turnover rate.

We agreed to share our vacancy information with ECHO so that the information can be shared with the network of coalition agencies. All of the people that they would refer are engaged in services and have a case manager.

Malcolm asked about the increase of homeless persons he’s noted in the past 3-4 months on Cesar Chavez near the Terrazas Library, and Aubrey noted an increase around his office near downtown. Abby said that ECHO is aware of what’s going on and in the last month has gone out and done surveys of the people on the street. She hypothesized that some of the uptick might be related to K2 use.

Abby stated that she is hoping to be able to tap into housing availability on the west side. A discussion of the high cost of available rental housing followed. She said that ECHO is working on a program with COA on buy-downs—one-time payments to landlords to bring down rents.

BJ asked about any efforts to provide tax abatements to landlords who are interested in providing affordable housing but can’t afford it because of high taxes. Abby said that the Mayor is looking at all options. One possibility being discussed is creating a risk mitigation fund which essentially acts as a guarantor for any damage to properties.

5.    The expected completion date for the CCDC house at 1817B W. 10th Street (AKA the Alley Flat) is March 31, 2017. Per Rose’s notes: “We would like to plan an open house with ACDDC, date to be discussed. I have two current applications on file for qualified applicants. I will post on Section 8 website and Refugees Services of Austin once the unit is presentable for photos.”

Teri wondered if the family that wasn’t selected for last vacancy is being considered for the house. Per our conversation with Abby Tatkow(Agenda Item 5), we also want ECHO to be notified of the vacancy.

6.    Kim reported that Board member elections will be held on April 18, 2017, prior to the evening’s Annual Meeting. Four positions up. These positions are currently held by Aubrey Carter, BJ Friedman, Teri Taylor, and Gregory Tran. All are interested in serving again. Information will be distributed to all neighborhood households, as well as shared via the CCDC website and bulletin boards at Fresh Plus and the Neighborhood Center, sharing information regarding the election, including a call for others interested in serving on the board. Information will also detail the membership drive (annual membership is required in order to vote in the election, and serve on the board.)

The board discussed ways to increase membership in the future. One suggestion was conducting a membership event in the fall—maybe a BBQ and Blues fest at the Haskell House—and maybe a CCDC canvas bag giveway (free to members, but also a possible fundraising opportunity.)

7.    Mary reported that the music is lined up for the 2017 Family Fun Fest (Sunday, May 7, 1-5 p.m.) and we’ve secured use of the Health Center parking lot. RuthAnn Brown will be selling her BBQ plates again. And underwriters have been secure for almost everything.

8.    In Other Business:

Mary reported that a meeting will be held tomorrow (2/22/17) at 2 p.m. for interested board members to meet with representatives of the Aldrich Place neighborhood (near Hemphill Park) to learn about their experiences regarding establishing a Local Historic District. The meeting will be held at the Haskell House.

Mary informed the board that Barbara Harlow, a good friend to the CCDC, passed away last month. Barbara, a humble woman with a very impressive resume, was an expert on resistance literature. In her last moments, friends gathered together to drink vodka tonics. Barbara’s last word was “Resist!” Because Barbara loved the Potlucks in the Park, we will hold one soon in her memory.

9.    The board did not meet in Executive Session.