June 19, 2014 Meeting

Meeting Agenda – June 19, 3:30-5:00
Location: KY3 Community Room

I.   Welcome – Greg Burris & Gail Smart
 
II.  Poverty Simulation Outreach by Sector: Update – Greg Burris, Gail Smart, Janet Dankert, Cora Scott

  1. Proposed goal: 25 simulations by July 1, 2015

 III. Presentation: Transportation

  1. Chris Jones, City Utilities
  2. Justin Herrell, Springfield Public Schools
  3. Janet Dankert, Community Partnership of the Ozarks

IV. Questions and Discussion
 
V.  Adjourn

Commission Attendees:        

  • Greg Burris, Springfield City Manager
  • Gail Smart, City Center Christian Outreach
  • Nate Bibens, The Network
  • Cheryl Clay, NAACP Board of Directors
  • Sherry Coker, Ozark Technical Community College
  • Rob Dixon, Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce
  • David Jayne, Central Assembly of God
  • Morey Mechlin, Care to Learn
  • Francine Pratt, United Way Board of Directors
  • Linda Ramey-Greiwe, Springfield News-Leader
  • Carl Rosenkranz, OACAC
  • Cora Scott, City of Springfield
  • Winter Skelton, CFO
  • Larry Spilker, Buckhorn, Inc.
  • Mark Struckhoff, Council of Churches
  • Maura Taylor, Health Commission
  • Jaimie Trussell, Convoy of Hope

Presenters:

  • Michelle Garand, SAHC
  • Debbie Shantz-Hart, Housing Collaborative

Staff:

  • Janet Dankert, CPO
  • Trent Sims, CPO
  • Myra Massey, CPO

Meeting Notes:

Co-Chairs Gail Smart and Greg Burris welcomed everyone to the meeting and thanked them for attending.

At the May 15th meeting, the decision was made to divide the community into sectors, with volunteers in each sector reaching out to businesses and organizations that might be interested in participating in Poverty Simulation presentations, with the intent of acquainting a larger segment of the population with issues faced by those in need. Greg asked those volunteers to report results at the next meeting, June 19th. A goal of 25 simulations by July 2015 has been proposed. A letter with detailed information about the simulations is being drafted to assist volunteers in outreach efforts. Jess Rollins, reporter with the Springfield News-Leader, is interested in the efforts of the group and will help publicize the simulations when appropriate.

Carl Rosenkranz offered an update on OACAC’s currently scheduled simulations: SPS has scheduled two simulations in July and MSU Public Affairs Academy has scheduled one; MSU Nursing has one scheduled in August; and one is scheduled in September with OTC.

Because of the Fourth of July holiday, the meeting scheduled for Thursday, July 3rd will be postponed to Thursday, July 10th. All of the future presenters will be contacted to schedule the best times for their programs; after this is done, a calendar will be created with topics, presenters, and dates and will be made available for the membership.

The 2014 Economic Outlook Conference, presented by Springfield Chamber of Commerce’s economic development arm, SBDC, is scheduled for Tuesday, August 26, 2014. Because the topic for one of IPC’s future meetings is “The Economic Outlook of Our Region: Looking Forward, What to Expect for the Economy,” this conference may contribute important information for the group in meeting goals. Additional information regarding the conference will be available as the date nears.

Michelle Garand, Deputy Director of Affordable Housing & Homeless Prevention, and Debra Shantz Hart, Housing Plus, LLC, Sustainable Housing Solutions, and Chair of CPO’s Housing Collaborative, were invited to present information regarding affordable housing and homelessness.

Homelessness is defined by HUD as: “People who are living in a place not meant for human habitation, in emergency shelters, in transitional housing, or are exiting an institution where they temporarily resided.” Michelle shared local statistics garnered from the previous Point in Time count, the number of sheltered homeless and unsheltered homeless on any given day. In 2014, 539 sheltered and 211 unsheltered were counted, for a total of 750. This was up from 711 total in the previous year. The demographics in the count included single adults, veterans, families, and children as well as sub-sets in each group, (i.e., gender, race, age, mental illness, etc.). Michelle also emphasized that “Point in Time” is just that – a count on a single night.

One item of particular interest was the discrepancy between the Point in Time count of 163 homeless children and SPS’s much larger count of approximately 700. Michelle pointed out that the Department of Education defines homeless children very differently, to include doubled-up and precariously housed children. Every other year, a survey performed by CPO’s Homeless Youth Subcommittee examines homeless and high risk youth in Springfield. Michelle has a full report available for more in-depth information regarding this subject and will share it on request. Michelle also provided data and trends for veterans, families, and the chronically homeless; again, in-depth reports are available on request.

Homeless services continue to be more challenging due to dwindling federal funding and scarcity of affordable healthcare and mental healthcare options. However, more emphasis is being given to an option that actually costs less in the long run, Housing First. This program, operated by The Missouri Hotel & The Kitchen, Inc. centers on providing people, who are experiencing homelessness, with housing and with other services as needed. In addition to this program, Springfield is making every attempt to meet this challenge with several other programs according to Michelle. We are leading the state in essential intakes and assessments for homeless services through the One Door Program; Victory Trade School offers training to the homeless, some of whom may also be dealing with substance abuse, offering sobriety programs, housing programs, and teaching a trade to individuals in the program; Salvation Army offers the Pathway of Hope program, walking an individual through homelessness, to supportive housing, and back into the community with a goal of market-based housing rather than public housing; and Springfield Affordable Housing Center bringing providers to one location to work with individuals and families to prevent homelessness by providing support for utilities and rental assistance.

Debbie Shantz Hart is the Co-Chair of CPO’s Housing Collaborative. The focus of the Collaborative is to find ways to collaborate with other agencies to bring descent, safe, affordable housing to area residents. One of the more valuable elements is to educate each other about what is available and what is needed. The membership is comprised mostly of non-profit service providers, along with some for-profit developers; however, it does not have market-rate representation at this time, an important piece in preventing clusters of low-income housing by integrating affordable rate housing with market rate housing. The Springfield Affordable Housing Center was the brainchild of the Collaborative after lengthy study, discussion of needs, and planning regarding having one place where all resources were available.

Funding is always a major problem, and not just funding to provide homes for the homeless; the more difficult part is to find funding that will provide the additional supportive services this population needs to become and remain stable, following a spectrum of homelessness to eventual market-rate housing.

(Homelessness, to Housing First, to Public Housing, to Affordable Housing thru Tax Credits, SCLT, to Market-Rate Housing)

Today, Debbie’s emphasis was on affordable housing through the tax credit program and how the people who qualify with income of 60% of HUD median income or about $24,000.00, are served. Debbie asked the group to reframe their picture of this population: Single mom with two children, rent of $450.00 per month, utilities, car payment, childcare, etc. These are people all of us are in contact with on a regular basis; these are the service providers at Starbucks, at the dry cleaners, cashiers – these are the people who qualify for affordable housing – the working poor. Many people in this population need financial literacy education and parenting classes to learn how to be appropriate models for their children, along with other skills, if the circle of generational poverty is ever to be broken. And this is where partnerships and collaborations with other organizations and agencies come into play, because no one organization can adequately provide all necessary services.

Sustainable Housing Solutions is building, or has built, housing in West Plains, Joplin, Springfield, and a scattered site development in Oklahoma to meet particular needs of an area. It is now in a collaboration with The Kitchen to build a 44-unit development, Beacon Village, which will have 20 units for special needs families and 24 units for the working poor at 60% AMI. Sustainable Housing Solutions expertise in tax credit application and The Kitchen’s outstanding abilities in case management for its population results in an excellent example of a collaborative effort. The Kitchen and Catholic Charities will have on-site case management to provide needed services for both populations, promoting social-economic integration and encourage and reinforcing true independent living.

Mark Struckhoff and Patty Cantrell, Co-Chairs of Impacting Poverty Collaborative, are proposing a “Poverty Summit” at some point to share the efforts of the Collaborative and the Commission with the public, taking it before the people who will be directly affected for feedback. Discussion was tabled for a future meeting.

Transportation will be the focus for the next meeting, June 19th at KY3.   Greg thanked everyone for coming, with special thanks to the presenters for the wealth of information they provided.