MINUTES

REGULAR MEETING OF THE MIDLAND CITY HOUSING COMMISSION

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2009, 3:00 P.M.

333 W. ELLSWORTH STREET

MIDLAND CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS AND COUNCIL CHAMBERS OVERFLOW

 MIDLAND, MICHIGAN

 

  I.  Roll Call

 

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

 

ABSENT:    1 Vacancy

 

STAFF:        Keith Baker, Planning Director, Cindy Winland, Contract Planner, Cheri King, Community Development Specialist, and Cathy Marcy, Manager of Riverside Place,

 

OTHERS:    John Palen (Midland Issues), Cathy Nelson Price (Midland Daily News), Sharon Mortensen (Shelterhouse) and Roger Mikusek (Affordable Housing Alliance), Carol Locker (League of Women Voters), and Patricia Baird (Legal Services of Eastern Michigan)

 

II.  Approval of Minutes of Regular Meeting of June 1, 2009

 

      A motion was made by Mr. Rapanos, seconded by Mr. Burgess to approve the Minutes of the Regular Meeting of June 1, 2009.  The motion passed unanimously.

 

III.  Public Comments

 

        There were no public comments.

 

IV.  Old Business

 

A.    Housing Needs Assessment Update

 

Cindy Winland reported that the final report arrived the end of the summer.  The report identifies a need for housing, specifically for seniors and people with special needs.  It also identifies the age of the housing stock in the community, particularly in the downtown area.  Housing rehabilitation is needed for both owner-occupied and renter-occupied housing, particularly in the downtown area.

 

Drawbacks to the study include the fact that “cost overburden” was based upon 2000 Census data.  There was also a concern that the range of housing choices would decrease over the next decade with the population aging in place and the increase in the wage structure.

 

Cindy reported that staff felt the data, in general, did not support the conclusions.  The data if very dated.  Data on rental housing market needs to not only include the number of units available, but also the number of units that are “affordable”.  Per the PILOT study that Jon Lynch did in 2003, there is a range of needs and the most need is for extremely-low-income households.

 

Cindy Winland and Keith Baker’s recommendations are the following:

·         Do a more targeted and direct survey of the extremely-low-income population

·         Re-examine the very-low-income population

·         Encourage landlords in the community to make more housing available to extremely-low-income households

·         Update the housing stock

·         Do a thorough search of funds that might be available to the city for housing rehabilitation purposes

 

B.     Paired Testing Update

 

Patricia Baird reported on the results of the paired testing study.  HUD requires an Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Study.  This study was completed in 2006.  Ms. Baird complemented the City of Midland and the Housing Commission for being willing to pursue issues regarding fair housing.  The city provides meeting space for the Fair Housing Advisory Council of Midland County.  They also participated in a realtor’s luncheon highlighting fair housing issues and have contracted with Legal Services of Eastern Michigan to perform 70 paired tests.

 

Ms. Baird stated that the testers measure for quality, quantity and the content of information/services offered to each protected class.  In their testing, they did 47 rental tests of which 47% were positive.  They did 10 mobile home tests of which 60% were positive.  Six lending institutions were tested with 67% of these being positive.  Eighteen tests were done at real estate agencies, of which 61% were positive.  In summary, 81 tests were conducted and 43 of these were positive, for a 53% rate of positive tests. 

 

The national average is 50% positive tests.  The City of Midland’s initial rate is 53%.  Ms. Baird stated the numbers should go down as people become aware that the testing is occurring.  Training will be conducted and there should be fewer positive tests in the future.

 

Recommendations from this study include the following:

·         Community outreach

·         Fair Housing training for property managers

·         Disability training and additional accessible housing

·         Additional paired testing

 

One conclusion from this study is that there is a shortage of housing for people with disabilities.

 

V.  New Business

 

A.   PILOT Letter from Shelterhouse and the Affordable Housing Alliance

 

A letter was submitted by Sharon Mortensen, from Shelterhouse, and Roger Mikusek, from the Affordable Housing Alliance, regarding the request for a PILOT project for seven houses.  Five of these houses would be for victims of domestic violence and two houses would be for chronically homeless families through Habitat for Humanity.  Sharon and Roger will be going to City Council on October 5, 2009 and October 19, 2009 to ask for PILOT projects for these seven homes.  The grants were offered for permanent supportive housing for very-low-income households, homeless due to domestic violence, income at less than 30 percent of median, and to be able to pay the rental fee each month.  Midland Area Homes is providing case management for these clients to help ensure their success in this program. 

 

Sharon and Roger are asking the Housing Commission to support their request to City Council for the PILOT projects.  The rents will be approximately $300 per month.  They are not competing with local landlords.  The rent includes interior and exterior maintenance, water bills and lawn maintenance.  The mortgages for these seven properties will be forgiven over 40 years and requires that it be a PILOT project.

 

A motion was made by Bob Burgess, seconded by Dick Darger to recommend that City Council grant the PILOT Program for this project.  The motion passed unanimously.  Sharon Mortensen stated it would be helpful if someone from the Housing Commission would come and speak in favor of this at the City Council meeting.

 

Roger Mikusek reported that the Affordable Housing Alliance (AHA) is working on two other projects.  They have acquired land on Gerald Court.  They plan to subdivide this into ten lots and then have one acre left to build another 11 units for their clients.  These ten lots would be for Habitat for Humanity to build houses on.  AHA is also seeking a grant from Dow Chemical Company to develop another 20 to25 units of additional affordable housing.

 

B.     Purchase of 406-408 Eastlawn Drive

 

Rick Loose revealed that he must abstain from this agenda item as he is the listing agent for the property to be discussed and he has a fiduciary interest in the transaction.

 

The city proposes the purchase of 406-408 Eastlawn Drive, using CDBG funds for “spot slum and blight”.  This property is two single-wide mobile homes connected by a carport.  The properties have been used as rental units for a number of years and they no longer pass rental inspection.  The existing structures are in an extreme state of disrepair.  Homes in the surrounding neighborhood have been remodeled and look very nice. 

 

Staff will have the existing duplex demolished and either build a house on this lot or use it for a Building Trades project in the future.  Funds for this purchase are included in the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 CDBG budgets for property acquisition.  The property was appraised at $20,000 so this is what is being offered as a purchase price.

 

Motion by Mr. Rapanos, seconded by Mr. Darger, to approve a purchase agreement for 406-408 Eastlawn and to forward their recommendation on to City Council.  Motion passed unanimously.

 

C.    2010 Meeting Dates

 

A resolution was presented to the Housing Commission containing meeting dates for 2010.  Motion by Mr. Rapanos, seconded by Mr. Darger to adopt the proposed meeting dates for 2010 as presented.  Motion passed unanimously.

 

D.    Future Meeting Date

       

The next meeting of the Midland City Housing Commission will be on Monday, December 7, 2009. Items for the agenda will include a look at the Washington Woods feasibility study and staff will lead a session in goal setting and priorities for the Housing Commission.  The last time this was done was two years ago.

 

VI.       Reports

 

A.    CDBG Update

 

Subrecipients are in the process of spending the money allocated to them.  TenSixteen Recovery Network was budgeted to receive $10,000 for some rehabilitation work to their offices.  They did the work prior to signing the subrecipient agreement with the City of Midland and HUD’s regulations require that the city cannot pay for work that has been one in arrears.  Cleveland Manor’s generator installation project will cost more than anticipated as the project has to be done using the Davis-Bacon prevailing wage rates.  The Reece Community Living Endeavor has already spent their allocation by purchasing 444 books of Dial-A-Ride tickets for their clients.

          

B.     CHOICE Update

 

The 2008-2009 Building Trades house at 204 Vail Street is completed and was paid for on August 2,5 2009.  The city has purchased a house and lot at 1005 North Street.  Staff is waiting for Consumers Energy to disconnect the gas line in order to proceed with demolition of the house.  With the purchase of 406-408 Eastlawn Drive, the Housing Commission will have five lots in inventory for future construction.

 

The 2009-2010 Building Trades project at 5411 W. Wackerly Street is going to be for a family who has a child with a disability so it will be built to be handicap accessible and barrier free.  This will be the third year in a row that the city has partnered with an agency to provide barrier free housing for one of their clients.

 

 

C.    Senior Housing Update

 

Cathy Marcy reported that Washington Woods and Riverside Place are both at 100 percent occupancy.  Their waiting lists are growing.  This year they have realized a 4.8 percent increase in food costs which is less than last year.  Turnover this year at both facilities has been quite low.

 

VII.  Adjournment

 

The meeting was adjourned at 4:38 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Cheri King

Secretary

 

MINUTES APPROVED BY THE MIDLAND CITY HOUSING COMMISSION

ON MONDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2009.