HOUSING AND COMMUNITY
May 2, 2007
Commissioners' Conference Room
Commissioner Faye Stewart presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Bill Fleenor, Bobby Green, Sr., Hugh Massengill, Barbara Moorehouse and Peter Sorenson present.† County Administrator Bill Van Vactor, County Counsel Teresa Wilson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.
1. PUBLIC COMMENTS
Henry Luvert, Eugene, indicated some issues have come to his attention about HACSA.† He said it was discouraging to be discussing an agency that is supposed to be community oriented.† He said at the work place the issues around diversity have not been dealt with.† He commented that the work environment is hostile and management doesnít think that diversity is important.† He said according to their records, diversity has not been important.† He said they wrote a letter and didnít receive any response.† He said they sent people over to try to develop some communication with them but as far as the NAACP is concerned, they had not received any response or respect and the environment hasnít changed.† He noted there is no plan to change the environment.† He said the last time an African American male applied to HACSA, he was denied a job because they didnít feel comfortable with him.† Luvert said that person filed a lawsuit against HACSA.† He indicated the environment hasnít changed and it wasnít important to the Board because it wasnít brought up as part of the evaluation of the workers.† †
Stewart stated he hadnít received an official letter from the NAACP.† He read articles about the subject in the newspaper.† He had received an e-mail copy from someone else.† He indicated the Board receives regular audits from different federal agencies on the performance of the HACSA unit and they had never seen anything that had been an alarm to† them.† He said he took the concerns of† Luvert seriously.† He didnít know how much he could discuss because of the litigation.
Luvert said he didnít talk about a particular case, he discussed the work environment.† He said in the past when an issue had come up, there had never been a problem with people calling him before it gets to the point it had gotten to.† He commented the people at HACSA did know what was going on and didnít think it was important to develop any communication.† He said they are a community activist group and deal with peopleís rights.† He said if there is no diversity, the issues around diversity donít get asked. †
Massengill stated he had been on the Board for three years and only received two communications.† He said one was from Alan Brown, NAACP, who had comments and a list of questions for him that were the same questions as in the newspaper.† He asked if the person involved with litigation sent the questions to him.
Luvert said they have hundreds of members and they have committees who work with people.† He indicated there is a legal redress with the NAACP.† He said they deal with issues that come up.† He didnít ask any of the questions today.† He was asking about the work environment and the lack thereof of diversity within the department.
Dwyer said it is important to be diverse and have every department in Lane County reflect the community at large.† He said the goals were admirable and they should strive to achieve those goals.† He commented that they have had serious budget problems.† He said they have had diversity training program for all employees and made people aware of it.† He thought HACSA could do a better job and be more cognizant that they are providing housing to all people.† He was committed to make the agency more responsive to people of color.
Luvert said they want to be heard around the issues that affect them in the community. He said it doesnít have to cost money to communicate.† He stated guidance hasnít come forth.† He said as the process goes on, there might be some money that would be needed.† He thought HACSA needs to broaden their scope.
Chris Todis, HACSA, indicated this issue is about performance and not about race.† He said that HACSA has gone from 100 employees to 78 employees in the past three years.† He said the people at HACSA have worked there for a long time.† He commented that there are factors in the case and they are complicated.† He stated that he had never received a letter from the NAACP as it was just sent to the Board.† He said that Luvert made some comments that were untrue.
Green said if the NAACP has the resources to help HACSA be more proactive, he would be committed to make sure that happens.† He said there is a lot of skill and expertise in the organization.
Sorenson thought it was important to raise issues about the effort that is being made for diversity.† He didnít think that money was the issue.† He stated that discrimination is against the† law and he was committed to do more to achieve a degree of equality and diversity.
Luvert commented that he came to talk about the work environment and any reference to a case is not something he brought up.† He discussed the environment and the lack of avenues to improve the environment of color.
†† 2. COMMISSIONERS' REMONSTRANCE †
Massengill stated that as a member of the Board, he didnít want anyone contacting him.† He said he was legally naÔve in handling issues.† He thought it was arrogant for the person in the lawsuit to go to various organizations and convince that organization to take that personís questions.† He thought it was unethical.† He resented the fact that he was being accused of not working on something when it was not brought to him.
Dwyer said when there is a lawsuit filed and there are questions that might pertain to a lawsuit, he suggested that any question that might relate to HACSA be referred to counsel.
Moorehouse said she had been on the Board since January 2006 and this was the first time that this had come up.† She said given what is taking place, she had no clarity about what she could talk about that might influence a pending case.† She wanted clarification and definition on what she could discuss.† She was upset on how this was presented to them.
3. REGULAR BUSINESS
a. ORDER 07-5-2-1H/In the Matter of Approving the Amended Limited Partnership Agreement for the New Winds Apartments.
Jim McCoy, HACSA, reported the New Winds Apartment (because they worked so hard to get the rents down) is completely funded by grants and tax credits.† He said it is an 18 unit project located in Florence designed for people who are severely psychiatrically disabled.† He said in 2005 the state put out an RFP asking for people who were interested in developing it to respond to their proposal.† He said they were selected and have been working to carry out all of the development steps.† He commented that the due diligence was intensive.† He stated the project was welcome in the City of Florence and something they had been wanting for a long time.† He indicated the square footage price is $127 per square foot and the land was $118,000.
MOTION:† to approve ORDER 07-5-21H.
Green MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.
b. REPORT/Fair Housing Audit.
Chuck Hauk, HACSA, reported in March 2006 they were chosen by the office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity out of the Seattle Regional Office of HUD for a comprehensive audit.† He said the purpose of the audit was to review their practices with Title 6 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act that provides they donít discriminate on the basis of disability.† He said they were specifically advised that the audit was not as a result of a complaint.† He said two investigators came down and they spent a week in their offices.† He said they reviewed and took about 1,000 pages of documentation.† He said they reviewed applications and waiting lists, administration, tenanting, delivery of services, reasonable combinations of Section 504 accessibility and program requirements, reasonable combination of services to persons with limited English proficiency and both of the public housing and Section 8 programs. He added they also reviewed an extensive number of files and reports.† He said they interviewed residents and went out to different sites to see if they were accessible.
Hauk indicated HACSA received a November 2006 a letter on the Title 6 Compliance Review determining that they were fully compliant with Title 6 with no findings and a month letter they received a similar letter stating they were fully in compliant with Section 504, the Rehabilitation Act with no findings.
Green noted there was a concern raised from HUD on November 30 about a data entry error.† He asked what the data errors could have been.
Hauk responded that they hired an outsider to come in to do a comprehensive review.† He said they had just switched to a new computer system trying to convert the data from the old system to the new system and it resulted in errors.† He added there were data errors where people had been waiting for a long time when in fact they had not, the wrong year was put down.† He added they found a number of their applicants had self-selected which communities they wanted to live in.† He said that some minority applicants only wanted to live in a one bedroom in McKenzie Village but they have a limited number of units there.† He said they had a right to designate the geographic area where they want to live but because they have 100 plus one bedroom units in the Eugene complex and only in 22 Springfield, they would have to wait.
Sorenson asked if HACSA reviewed this with groups or organizations in the community that would be interested in whether they were complying with the Civil Rights Act.
Hauk said they shared it with their own tenant advisory group and with the Fair Housing Board of Oregon.† He didnít officially send anything out to the public.† †
Sorenson wanted to make sure they are operating in the way the audit says they are operating.
Moorehouse asked why they were discussing compliance and findings.† She asked why Lane County would need an audit.
Stewart wanted a report back on the current diversity plan that exists at HACSA.† He also wanted meeting minutes about things that had been discussed and reviewed.
Green requested an action plan that had been implemented for the past year.† He wanted to see what had been done and the timetables.
Fleenor wanted a report back on the process of how they are dismissing employees due to budget cutbacks.
4. CONSENT CALENDAR
a. Approval of Minutes: None.
b. RESOLUTION AND ORDER 07-5-2-2H/In the Matter of Extending Workers' Compensation Coverage to HACSA Volunteers.
MOTION: to approve the Consent Calendar.
Green MOVED, Fleenor SECONDED.
VOTE: 6-0 (Dwyer out of room).
5. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660
There being no further business, Commissioner Stewart adjourned the meeting at 9:50 a.m.