MINUTES

REGULAR MEETING OF THE MIDLAND CITY HOUSING COMMISSION

MONDAY, MARCH 30, 2009, 2:00 P.M.

333 W. ELLSWORTH STREET

MIDLAND CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS

 MIDLAND, MICHIGAN

 

  I.  Roll Call

 

PRESENT: Bob Burgess, Dick Darger, Rick Loose and Steve Rapanos

                     Fran Hamburg arrived at 2:50 p.m.

 

ABSENT:   None

 

STAFF:     Keith Baker, Planning Director and Cheri King, Community Development Specialist

 

OTHERS:    Kelly Murdock (Community Research Services, LLC), Patricia Baird (Legal Services of Eastern Michigan, and 3 others

 

II.  Election of Officers

 

      A motion was made by Steve Rapanos, seconded by Dick Darger, to nominate Rick Loose as Chairman and Bob Burgess as Vice Chairman.  Motion passed unanimously.

 

III.  Approval of Minutes of December 8, 2008 Regular Meeting and January 26, 2009 Special Meeting

 

        A motion was made by Mr. Darger, seconded by Mr. Rapanos to approve the Minutes of the Regular Meeting of December 8, 2008.  The motion passed unanimously.

 

        A motion was made by Mr. Rapanos, seconded by Mr. Burgess to approve the Minutes of the Special Meeting held on January 26, 2009.  Motion passed unanimously.

 

IV.  Public Comments

 

        There were no public comments.

 

V.  New Business

 

A.   Housing Needs Assessment

 

Kelly Murdock, from Community Research Services, LLC, presented a draft of the “Housing Needs Assessment”.  His goals were to examine existing housing, provide recommendations and finalize the needs of the community.  Mr. Murdock stated his recommendations are preliminary at this point.  The average age for market rate rentals is greater than 30 years old.  Most of them were built in the 1970’s.  Foreclosures and slow sales trends are prevalent in Midland, as well as in the rest of the country.  Midland, overall, is in a pretty good position.  Half our renters are within the lower income ranges.  The lowest income census tracts are located in the downtown area and to the east of the downtown.  Most of these rentals are single-family homes.

 

Mr. Murdock’s preliminary recommendations include the following:

·   An increasing emphasis on rehabilitation of both owner-occupied housing and rental units;

·   Development of workforce housing for both rental and homeownership options.   These should be modern, safe and attractive places to live, to avoid a degree of gentrification that would exclude lower-income households from considering the Midland area as a viable residential alternative;

·   There are few options to be found for those persons in the community that require special needs housing, that are able to live an independent lifestyle but may require services, education or training.

·   Consideration of additional affordable rental housing for senior citizens should be investigated.  It should be targeted toward seniors within the low- to moderate-income ranges.

 

Mr. Murdock will come to the next Housing Commission meeting to make his final recommendations and present his final report.

 

B.      Paired Testing Progress Report

 

Patricia Baird, from Legal Services of Eastern Michigan, presented preliminary results of the paired testing services contracted for by the Housing Commission.  She appreciates that the Midland City Housing Commission is very dedicated to the community and that they care about their citizens. 

 

Ms. Baird stated there appears to be discrimination on the basis of race, disability and national origin in the Midland community.  Complaints have been filed on five cases from the community and on four cases found through this paired testing project.  They have completed 40 paired tests for apartments and are now compiling the results.  They are getting started on the 30 paired tests for Real Estate and two paired tests for lenders.

 

Ms. Baird will present her final written report and provide a powerpoint presentation at the next Midland City Housing Commission meeting.

 

C.    CDBG Funding Proposals for the 2009-2010 Fiscal Year

 

The proposed 2009-2010 Community Development Block Grant funding proposals were presented to the Housing Commission.  Discussion was held regarding how we should proceed to address the need for low-income housing.  Is there a need to proceed with additional fair housing testing?

 

Sharon Mortensen, from Shelterhouse, said Shelterhouse and the Affordable Housing Alliance received a PILOT project a couple years ago.  At that time they did approach Dow Chemical Company for assistance, however it is not one of their priorities at this time.  The Continuum of Care has tried to address this issue through it’s 10-year Plan to End Homelessness in Midland County.  Mr. Darger suggested that the Housing Commission should address Dow management and their people involved in demolition of the affordable housing in the downtown area.  He said we need a “champion” for this cause.

 

Mr. Rapanos suggested Mr. Murdock include in his study the recommendation that we talk to business leaders, corporations and foundations to get together and find a solution to this problem.  How many additional low-income housing units do we need and in what price range.  This is just a part of making Midland a better community.  Mr. Murdock could also include any “best practices” out there that we might be able to emulate in Midland. 

 

This information should be shared with foundations, non-profits and major corporations in town.  We have identified some needs and we need someone to help formulate a solution.

 

After reviewing the proposed CDBG Budget, Mr. Burgess made a motion, seconded by Mrs. Hamburg, to accept the 2009-2010 Community Development Block Grant budget as proposed by staff.  Motion passed unanimously.

 

D.    Future Meeting Date

       

The next meeting of the Midland City Housing Commission will be held on Monday, June 1, 2009.

 

VI.       Reports

 

A.    CDBG Update

 

Staff met the 1.5 spending goal early again this year.  Our current ratio is 1.03 times the current year’s grant.  Final grant amounts have not been published yet for entitlement communities for the 2009-2010 fiscal year.  HUD is telling everyone to use the amount they received last year.

 

The city will be receiving $66,154 in economic stimulus funding, however, at the present time, the guidelines have not been set as to how these funds may be spent. 

 

B.     CHOICE Update

 

The house at 1501 Elizabeth Street was sold on March 13, 2009.  The Midland Public Schools’ Building Trades house at 204 Vail Street is approximately seventy-five percent complete.  This project is on schedule to be done by the end of the school year.

C.     Senior Housing Update   

 

Washington Woods – Occupancy is at 99%.  Since January 1st there have been 11 vacancies.  A keyless entry system, made possible with CDBG funds, has been installed at the front entrance doors.  This will provide more security for the building.  Several of their residents are presently in long-term care.  The Health Coordinator periodically monitors their progress and does an on-site assessment before the resident returns.

 

Riverside Place – Occupancy is at 100% and there are currently 20 prospective residents on the waiting list.  The average age of their residents was 82 years old in 2000 and currently is 86 years old.  They have several new programs to promote a healthier aging process. 

 

Maintenance staff at both facilities has been busy this winter with snow removal and apartment maintenance.

 

VIII.  Adjournment

 

The meeting was adjourned at 4:03 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Cheri King

Secretary

 

MINUTES APPROVED BY THE MIDLAND CITY

HOUSING COMMISSION ON MONDAY, JUNE 1, 2009.