Documenter: Heather Halsey Martinez

Here’s what you need to know:

  • The Fresno Housing Authority joint boards of commissioners approved six items on the consent calendar, including applications for $2.39 million in 2022 Continuum of Care funding from HUD, a $1.14 million contract for architectural services for The Arthur at Blackstone and a $843,000 architectural services contract for Corazon del Valle.

  • Chief Business Officer Emily De La Guerra presented a first draft of the agency’s 2022 operating budget of nearly $45.5 million. The budget includes $1.6 million for strategic resident empowerment investments ranging from youth education to a homeownership program. Commissioners requested that staff look into more grant opportunities, especially for youth education programs.

The meeting (in full)

The Scene

The Fresno Housing Authority joint meeting of the boards of commissioners took place on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. The joint board meeting packet states that due to executive order N-25-20, the meeting will be held in-person for commissioners only and accessible via teleconference and Zoom for all members of the public. Meeting recordings are not easily available online. 

The Fresno Housing Authority is governed by 14 commissioners, seven of whom are appointed as city commissioners and seven as county commissioners. Five of the city commissioners are appointed by the Mayor of the City of Fresno to serve four-year, staggered terms. Two are appointed to two-year terms from among residents receiving housing assistance from Fresno Housing. Similarly, five of the county commissioners are appointed by the Board of Supervisors, and two are residents receiving assistance from Fresno Housing.

City Commissioners:

Adrian Jones, Chairperson (also Marriage and Family Therapist at North Star Wellness Group)

Caine Christensen, Vice Chair (also Director of Student Support Services for Fresno Unified)

Sabrina Kelley, Commissioner (Vice President of External Relations for Community Vision)

Stacy Vaillancourt, Commissioner (also Chief Administrative Officer for Saint Agnes Medical Center)

Sharon Williams, Commissioner (also retired Fresno Juvenile Hall counselor)

Ruby Yanez, Commissioner

Vacant, Commissioner (open due to the resignation of Terra Brusseau prior to the July 9 meeting)

County Commissioners:

Cary Catalano, Chairperson (also owner of Catalano Fenske & Associates)

Nikki Henry, Vice Chair (also CIO for Fresno Unified School District)

Joey Fuentes, Commissioner (also trainer and mentor at Fresno’s Main Event boxing)

Valori Gallaher, Commissioner (also Caruthers School Boardmember)

Edugiben Ortiz, Commissioner (one of two resident commissioners)

Sophia Ramos, Commissioner (also registered nurse)

Stacy Sablan, Commissioner (also owner of Sablan Legal Services)

As the commissioners joined the Zoom meeting, Tiffany Mangum, ensured there was a quorum. Commissioner Catalano led the meeting. 

Commissioners Catalano, Jones, Kelley, Williams, Henry, Gallaher and Ramos initially had their video on. Sablan and Yanez were present by phone only. Commissioners Christensen, Vaillancourt, Ortiz and Fuentes were absent, but it was noted that Fuentes would join later. 

Additionally, the following staff members were present via video: Mangum, Chief Real Estate Officer Michael Duarte, Chief Diversity Officer Marc’ Bady, Deputy Executive Director Tracewell Hanrahan, Attorney Kenneth Price, Chief Business Officer Emily De La Guerra and Interim CEO/Executive Director Angie Nguyen. 

The meeting was then open for public comments, but no one made any comments.

Consent items:

  • Approved minutes of the Sept. 22 and Sept. 28 meetings.

  • Approved 2022 agency calendar.

  • Approved a resolution on the agency’s public agency meetings pursuant to AB 361.

    • Allows Fresno Housing Commissioners and standing committees to participate in meetings via teleconference so long as such actions comply with newly adopted AB 361. 

  • Approved application for 2022 Continuum of Care funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

    • Fresno Housing intends to submit 10 renewal applications for a little more than $2.39 million. 

  • Approved contract award for architectural services for The Arthur at Blackstone.

    • Applied for Low Income Housing Tax Credits in July 2021 and received a scoring letter on Oct. 14 indicating a potential reservation of tax credits. 

    • The proposed contract totals $1.14 million and includes sub consultant contracts for civil engineering and dry utilities design. 

    • Project site consists of four vacant parcels located at the southwest corner of Simpson and Blackstone Avenues in Fresno. 

    • Staff envisions a mixed-use project with up to 4,200 square feet of renovated commercial space. 

  • Approved contract award for architectural services for Corazon del Valle. 

    • The project site consists of two vacant parcels located at the Southwest and Southeast corners of 12th and Fresno Streets in Huron, Calif. 

    • Received a letter in Sept 2021 confirming a funding reservation of disaster tax credits. 

    • The proposed contract totals $843,005. 

Discussion items:

  • De La Guerra presented the 2022 federal and agency budget. 

    • Nguyen said this is the “first look” and there will be other opportunities to make revisions and modifications after presenting the  first draft. 

    • “We always present our kind of worst case scenario budget in our first draft,” De La Guerra said. 

      • She said when the new CEO Tyrone Williams joins Fresno Housing in November, they will incorporate his input. 

      • 2022 federal budget has not yet passed. 

      • 2022 Fresno Housing operating budget first draft shows $45 million in total operating expenses and $1.7 million in non-operating expenses. 

      • Staffing: 253 full time employees (includes 15 new positions), 3% salary increase, health insurance and pension costs continue to increase.

        • About 50% of staff is represented by SEIU and 50% is unrepresented. 

      • $3.6 million in developer fees included in the 2022 budget, which is slightly less than they’ve received in previous years. 

        • Received almost $6 million in 2018 and 2020. 

    • Sablan asked where the budget was last year and De La Guerra said she wasn’t sure exactly, but thinks it was a negative. 

    • Kelley asked how they would meet the budget. 

    • Catalano asked about the renovations to the main office and new building and if they were built into this budget. 

      • De La Guerra said it isn’t because it’s a capital expenditure and paid out of the organization as a cash expense. 

      • Catalano asked where the proceeds from selling an asset goes and De La Guerra said it goes into the capital account. 

    • If approved as is, the 2022 budget would end with $4.4 million in operating reserves. 

    • She shared a slide with 2022 strategic investments of $1.6 million for:

      • Heaton collaboration pilot program $92,575 for 2022 and $508,496 over three years. 

      • Adult literacy program $100,000 for 2022 and $549,280 over the next three years. 

      • Increasing youth education & enrichment programs for $604,208 from 2022-2024.

        • Provided at Fresno Housing-owned properties and would continue with Boys & Girls Club where successful. 

        • Kelley asked if these could be supported through grant funds. Hanrahan said the Ed Corps has not been very active in past years, but they have discussed “reactivating it.” They would like to explore it and look into adding a grant writer for that. 

        • Kelley said, “I think it’s a missed opportunity if we don’t.” “These line items would be a prime opportunity for grant funding.”

        • Catalano said they are going to burn through their funding streams if not. 

        • Kelley said possibly even giving existing employees that task of writing grants, rather than hiring from outside, would be an option to explore. 

        • De La Guerra said they have been trying to “dip their toes” in, but that there are more opportunities out there. 

      • Workforce Development $175,000 in 2022 and one full time employee as Workforce Development Coordinator.

      • Homeownership Program $175,000 for 2022 and $568,120 over three years. 

      • Choice Neighborhood of California Ave. Neighborhood $480,000.

        • Remainder of the CNI budget must be spent in 2022. 

        • She said the zeros shown in 2023 and 2024 didn’t mean they would stop investing, but it begins a new phase of activities in order to move into the implementation phase and away from the planning phase happening now. 

      • Resident Safety Partnerships $100,000 ($549,280 estimated three year investment). 

        • Contracts with CBO partners to actively engage residents in community strategies that enhance safety through alternatives to law enforcement. 

      • Diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI) strategic plan $386,000 in 2022 ($1.6 million three-year investment). 

        • Three full time employees, including CDO, inclusion analyst and DEI assistant. 

        • Summer internship program for residents. 

        • DEI training for staff. 

    • Catalano asked Jones if the resident empowerment recommendations were coming from her ad-hoc committees. She said they were reflected. 

    • Catalano said it was important to meet empowerment objectives. Also, asked staff if they can find funding sources to ensure they can continue these programs. 

    • Kelley asked how they will collect data and track impact. 

      • De La Guerra said they have analysts that have helped with DEI and CAN work and they will be responsible with developing and tracking the outcomes, along with program managers who are the experts. 

      • She said the boards also approved a software called Apricot 360 from Social Solutions, which will be used to collect information including attendance, education level, household size, etc. 

    • Continued budget refining to happen in the next month includes timing of strategic investments, staffing, proration, developer fees and administrative expenses. 

    • Catalano said he appreciates the team’s leadership and would like to see the budget as balanced as possible, while not compromising the board’s direction on some strategic ideas. 

    • Henry said she appreciates them bringing the budget in the form that it’s in and glad it will be shared with Williams while he’s able to provide input. 

  • Duarte provided a real estate development update:

    • 9% tax credit applications: Esperanza Commons awarded June 2021, Corazon del Valle Commons awarded September 2021, The Arthur at Blackstone pending award Nov. 2021, Avalon Commons Phase I, Sun Lodge not successful this round 

    • Q1 2022 pipeline: Avalon Commons Phase I, Sun Lodge, Step Up on 99, La Joya Commons, Citrus Gardens, San Joaquin Commons Phase I

    • Southwest single family homes: 

      • Property consists of approximately eight acres of vacant land near S. Plumas Street and E. Florence Avenue. 

      • Proposed 33 unit single family development. 

      • Three potential awards including City of Fresno HOME funds of $1.3 million, CalHOME funds of $1.4 million and PLHA funding of $971,100

    • Capital Magnet Fund program is funding that could be used to further the availability of affordable housing. 

      • In 2021, there were eight awards in California. 

      • Asking for $5 million and expect to have to go through a few rounds before they receive it. 

      • It does not include a match and they are able to leverage the funds. 

      • Proposed applicant is Silvercrest, Inc. because eligible applicants are CDFIs or non-profit housing agencies. 

        • He said this was on the agenda for tonight’s Silvercrest meeting. 

      • Hanrahan said they were trying to build on outside funding sources. 

    • Exploring potential partnership options with the City of Fresno for interim/permanent housing. 

      • Properties include Parkway Inn, Plaza Motel (may include Fresno City College), Econo Inn North and Travelodge.

      • Duarte said they have site control of these properties currently. 

    • Kelley thanked Duarte for his presentation and said she is looking forward to leveraging grant funding and asked how they pursue them. 

      • Duarte said the project managers and team that write the applications and tax credits. It’s all done internally and they do have partners to assist. 

Action items: 

  • Approved funding commitment for pre-development activities for Corazon del Valle.

    • On Oct. 14, 2021, Fresno Housing submitted an executed preliminary reservation letter to CTCAC accepting the award. The deadline to close is April 1, 2022. 

    • During this vote, Mangum noted that Fuentes had joined the meeting. 

Catalano opened the meeting for reports from the commissioners:

Nguyen then updated the commissioners:

  • She said October is Housing America Month and Crime Prevention Month so resident services has planned some activities. 

  • She also thanked Williams for dedicating her time to the board and “being that voice for the residents.” 

  • Nguyen said that Fuentes was also recognized by Focus Forward in past years. 

  • She said they are keeping a close eye on the Build Back Better Act. It looks like it will provide funds to preserve public housing and for other signature spending. 

  • She said a farewell to Phil Skei, manager on neighborhood initiatives, as he leaves to accept a housing role with the City of Fresno. 

  • She announced some newly hired employees. 

The meeting adjourned at 6:37 p.m. and it was noted that some commissioners and staff members needed to stay online for the Silvercrest meeting. The next regular meeting is scheduled for Nov 16. 

If you believe anything in these notes is inaccurate, please email us at with “Correction Request” in the subject line.

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