Sarasota Housing Authority Resident's Association

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Task Force Notes - Jan 2007

Present: Valerie, Jackie Diaz, Nancy, Karen, Arthur, Chrystal, Jude, Colby, Pat, Dick, Marion & Marty Goldberg, Susan Slocum, Susan Hallock, Dawn

Meeting called to order by Valerie Buchand. Invocation, greetings and best wishes for the New Year!

Bill Russell provided this report on Redevelopment:

"Michaels has begun work on assessing where to begin a Phase 1 of the redevelopment. A decision on where to begin will occur very soon now. They are also assessing relocation needs for our current families and bedroom size needs as well. They are beginning to engage some contractors to begin pre-development work on things like environmental assessments of the sites, rezoning, architect and site plan preparation, civil engineering work, etc. We are aiming to submit an application for Low Income Housing Tax Credits (a federal program run by the State) this April. Michaels will give a good briefing on things at the resident meeting on January 25th."

Three Michaels representatives walked the sites with Valerie, noticing grand trees to be saved, water and sewer lines noting the distances to schools, pharmacies, grocery stores, and other necessary amenities which need to be within a mile of the public housing projects.

Karen Curry wasn't present to give a report on the Ross Center. Habitat has provided a mobile
classroom to teach locals drywalling and electrical. Paying $10/hr. They will receive a certificate. How to get word out about this opportunity for residents?

Valerie & Bill Russell will be meeting with Chanel Riley, social worker for Janie Poe, to receive a progress report from her. Jewish Family has given her a grant. Her case load is limited to 25 families; there are 126 families in Janie Poe. It is possible that Janie Poe will be the first area to be demolished and redeveloped - 60 units at a time. There have been several electrical fires lately which have put some units out of commission.

Janie Poe Holiday Party report given. It was a great success with many hands. 200 children received food, stickers, gifts. Pictures shared. Dick Clapp asked for a list of the contributors for his housing blog. Party pictures can also be seen on the housing blog.

Trip to Belmont Heights (Tampa) organized by Nancy Richardson. Michaels Co. is building the mixed income project in Tampa now. Michaels has hired residents and the Tampa Housing
Authority has mandated resident meetings (which Valerie would like instituted here in Sarasota). Ms. Williams as the resident president has been involved in the whole process, included in every meeting with the developer.

Group going Tuesday, Jan 23, leaving First Presbyterian at 10 am (Oak & Washington Blvd).
Contact Nancy for further information: 362-2045. Dick, will put the Belmont Heights site on the
housing blog.

Jackie Diaz recently had a meeting with residents to share information about redevelopment. She said that there have been a number of evictions lately. Valerie has a resident meeting for Janie Poe planned for 1/11.

Arthur gave the Treasurer's Report. He is currently keeping the books for the Task Force fund and the Janie Poe Residents fund. HUD payments to the residents fund is given to the resident organizations quarterly. Valerie has found a resident to become the treasurer. Arthur will gladly train her.

The Task Force funds have $450, some funds left over from the Holiday Party were added to the account. Jude asked for approval to use funds to provide gas & tolls money to public housing residents in Tampa who will be attending the Resident Meeting on the 25th and to copy invites and agenda. All agreed.

The Public Housing Resident Meeting has been moved to Thursday, January 25 at 6:30 pm at the Boys and Girls Club on 21st Street. Invitations will be taken to all 388 households on Monday, Jan 22. Those who wish to help will meet at the Janie Poe Community Center at 10 am. We hope to pair a resident with a Task Force member as we go around the four neighborhoods. Childcare and bites for the children will be provided in separate classrooms. A front row panel will be introduced by Nina Burwell, our moderator. Those who will speak are Bill Russell on vouchers, Gionne Jourdan of Michaels Co, about redevelopment plans and resident services for relocation. Mrs. Williams, president of the Belmont Hts resident
group, will speak about her experiences. Opening and closing by the Rev. McKenzie, State Director for Rainbow Push Coalition.

After opening presentations, the floor will be available for questions from residents and community. Answers will be provided by resource folks.

Important topics will be addressed: Difference between Section 8 Choice Voucher and a
Relocation Voucher, can residents be relocated on campus, how does one qualify to return to
public housing or tax supported rentals, how to apply for a low income home with a voucher, residents responsibilities in finding new housing, resident services to be provided by Michaels, etc. What standards must current public housing residents meet to receive vouchers? Will residents in rehab programs be protected by their recpveromg status so they, too, can receive vouchers. Then there will be brief wrap ups by the three presenters. We are hoping for an hour long meeting packed with information. The questions and answers will be processed and a paper will be given to all of the residents during the wk following the meeting (we hope). Susan Hallock, Jim Craig & Jude will be working on this. If you would like to help us, call Jude 365-2314. The invites are titled "Hope in Your Heart" following Colby's idea that buried hope is there and we need to tap into it. The residents have an opportunity to create new directions for their lives...

We hope that residents, Task Force members, community members, City & County officials will attend this important first relocation & redevelopment meeting about the future of Newtown since the signing of the documents between HUD and Michaels Co in December.

No cameras, but press will be there. We hope to sign up some residents to continue to be involved in the redevelopment. Residents want tangible results from this meeting. Speakers: please talk in plain English.

Dick hopes to get out the word that the state Neighborhood Conference will be held in Sarasota this yr.

Let's look for resident leaders to encourage to go. Scholarships are available. Three days
in June, held at the Hyatt.

The next Leadership Academy provided by the City of Sarasota starts in February. It is an eight wk course to educate citizens about how the City works. Jackie and Valerie are encouraged to send their officers.

Judi Hooker and Bill Lewis, past member of the Task Force, send their love & support!

Task Force Goals for 2007:

  • Educating residents
  • Helping resident associations become stronger & more vital
  • Press package

Submitted by Jude Levy