Documenter: Heather Halsey Martinez

Here’s what you need to know:

  • The Fresno Housing City Board of Commissioners re-elected Adrian Jones as chairperson and Stacy Vaillancourt as new vice chair for the 2022-2023 biennial. 

  • The commissioners approved the agency’s 2022 budget, which still shows an almost $406,000 shortfall. 

  • They also approved tax credit allocations for more than $21 million for the Sun Lodge Project Homekey property. Duarte said it’s the first step in transforming the neighborhood. 

  • They moved forward the purchase of Parkway Inn for $3,234,000 from Singh Daljit and Surinder Kaur. The Inn will be used to provide interim housing for the homeless and possible conversion to permanent housing in the future. 

  • The commissioners also bid farewell to Chief Program Officer Angie Nguyen and Deputy Executive Director Tracewell Hanrahan who will be leaving to join former Fresno Housing CEO Preston Prince as Deputy Executive Directors at Santa Clara County Housing Authority. 

The meeting (in full)

The Scene

The Fresno Housing Authority joint meeting of the boards of commissioners took place on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 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 via Zoom for commissioners and accessible via teleconference and Zoom for all members of the public. Meeting recordings are not 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)

I joined the Zoom at 5:13 p.m. because an incorrect Zoom link was listed on the Fresno Housing site, but the correct link was included in the agenda packet. The meeting was already in progress and it appeared Tiffany Mangum had already called roll. 

Commissioners Catalano, Jones, Williams, Henry, Ortiz and Sablan initially had their videos on. Christensen, Vaillancourt and Ramos were present by phone only. Commissioners Kelley, Yanez, Fuentes and Gallaher were absent.

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

The meeting was then open for public comments. No public comments were made. 

The city commissioners then re-elected Adrian Jones as chairperson and Stacy Vaillancourt as new vice chair for the 2022-2023 biennial (two-year term). 

Consent items:

  • Approved minutes of the Nov. 10 and Nov. 16 meetings. 

  • Approved contract award for property management and support services for the Step Up on 99, Sun Lodge and Journey Homes properties provided by Turning Point of Central California for $3.1 million.

    • Paid for with Homekey operating grants from the state. 

    • Catalano asked for a staff report and update on Project Homekey properties in January. 

  • Approved contract renewal for general counsel legal services with Baker, Manock and Jensen PC General Legal Services, which includes an annual limit of $300,000. 

    • Catalano said he will recuse himself since he has done marketing work for Baker, Manock and Jensen in the past. 

  • Approved contract renewal for human resources legal services by Atkinson, Anderson, Loya, Ruud & Romo. The contract includes an annual amount not to exceed $150,000. 

  • Approved contract renewal with HUD, USDA, HCD and other federal and state legal services. The contract with Ballard Spahr, LLP includes an annual not to exceed amount of $50,000. 

  • Approved contract renewal for Affordable Housing Development Legal Services with Ballard Spahr, LLP with an annual limit of $600,000. 

  • Approved two separate contract renewals for legal services pertaining to unlawful detainers. A contract with Attorney at Law Steven R. Hrdlicka includes an annual not to exceed amount of $50,000 and a contract with Baker, Manock, and Jensen PC includes an annual amount not to exceed of $25,000. 

  • Approved a resolution for non-competitive No Place Like Home funding allocation for the Avalon Commons Phase I project. 

    • Avalon Commons is an existing vacant site located at the northwest corner of Chestnut and Alluvial Avenues. Phase I envisions a 60-unit community with community space. 

As Mangum opened the meeting for public comments on the consent items she said, “I am sorry, we have received some hate messaging and I wanted to pause for that.” 

Catalano asked if she was OK or needed to share anything with them. Mangum said she was OK and she will share what she received with the CEO and they will address it offline. Price said, “It appears that we were effectively Zoom bombed and I apologize for that.” 

Discussion items:

  • Chief Real Estate Officer Michael Duarte provided a real estate development update: 

    • Esperanza Commons financing scheduled to close 12/27/21

    • Sun Lodge anticipated tax credit award, closing to occur within 170-192 days from award. 

    • Motel updates:

      • Parkway Inn assignment of PSA and purchase option

      • Plaza Motel escrow extension

      • Travelodge-not been successful in negotiating a reasonable extension or secure financing so will be ending the lease. 

    • Upcoming funding opportunities:

      • CA Department of Housing and Community Development-HOME Funds NOFA

        • Citrus Gardens

        • La Joya Commons

        • Corazón del Valle Commons

Catalano thanked Duarte and all the staff for all their efforts bringing tax credits and funding into the Valley to help families. 

The commissioners moved into closed session at 5:29 p.m. for real property negotiations with Singh Daljit & Surinder Kaur (owners of Parkway Inn motel). Catalano said they anticipate coming back in 15 minutes.

They reconvened at 6:22 p.m. Price reported that they did take action on a property in Orange Cove. 

Action items: 

  • Approved adoption of 2022 budgets for agency operations and housing assistance payments for the Housing Choice Voucher program. 

    • Williams and Chief Business Officer Emily De La Guerra introduced the item. 

      • Williams said it is now well under what they thought would be a $2 million draw on their reserves. 

      • “I really do believe that we are going to deliver on expanding our partnerships,” De La Guerra said. 

      • Crystal Cox, senior financial analyst, presented the budget. 

        • $481,000 deficit in net income 

      • De La Guerra then presented highlights: 

        • Would end 2021 with $6.6 millin in unrestricted reserves, requesting to use $406,000 from reserves. 

    • Henry asked what were some of the items that had to be cut from the last version of the budget. 

      • De La Guerra said a lot of the refinements that happened were over payroll, timing of new hires and replacement positions. She said they looked at administration expenses, memberships, dues, travel and training budgets. 

      • She said they also look at their strategic initiatives and did include investments in DEI and neighborhood safety. They will continue to look for funding opportunities for workforce training opportunities and the Heaton Initiative. 

      • Henry asked them to be careful that they aren’t “stretching their team too thin” because they are looking at areas to refine in the budget. 

    • Catalano said that he did feel they needed to protect the reserves and asked about the need to use $1.1 million in unrestricted reserves in 2021. 

      • De La Guerra said some of that is due to timing delays, so some of that will come in 2022. 

    • Catalano asked Williamsto share what happened when he spoke with Kelley regarding concerns she expressed at the last meeting about $500,000 that hadn’t been used for community organizations. 

      • He said they will be working with her, Fresno State and focus groups to create an RFP for the community based organizations in 2022. The funding will be completed in 2023. 

      • He said Kelley was comfortable with that moving forward. 

    • Catalano also asked that key positions don’t stay vacant because it increases the work on other team members. 

    • Sablan wanted to confirm that they did in fact, have to dip into their reserves this year and asked De La Guerra if they’ve had to do that in the past. 

      • “It’s not really normal for us, we usually perform better than what’s projected,” she said. 

    • Catalano said they are really concerned about protecting that nest egg that took so long to build up. 

    • The commissioners approved the 2022 budget unanimously. 

  • Approved resolution pursuant to Assembly Bill 361 regarding public agency meetings allowing commissioners to continue attending meetings via Zoom. 

    • Attorney Kenneth Price introduced the item, which he said would give them the option to continue meeting via Zoom or have a hybrid meeting where some commissioners meet in-person and some via Zoom. 

      • Henry asked that by adopting it, they could choose to meet via Zoom, hybrid or choose to meet back in person. Price confirmed that yes, it would give them “total flexibility.” 

    • Jeff Cardell of Fresno Housing is presenting the staff’s recommendation for meetings. 

      • He recommended they utilize the Parc Grove Community Room to conduct the meeting with social distancing. 

      • They would allow board, staff and the public to attend in-person and wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status. 

      • Costs with meeting in person would include $200 for PPE and cleaning supplies, $2,000 for partitions, $150 for printed materials and $1,400 for hybrid meeting facilitation. 

        • Additionally they would need employees to help them. 

    • Catalano asked Henry about the Fresno Unified School District board meetings, which are meeting in person. He also mentioned the Fresno City Council and other agencies that are now all meeting in person. 

      • Price called out some other governmental agencies that meet in person, hybrid and some completely online. 

    • Sablan asked if the $1,400 was a one time cost. Cardell said it was. 

    • Catalano pointed out that it could be for three months or the duration of the emergency order issued due to COVID. 

    • Henry asked what the $1,400 was for and Cardell said it was for CMAC. 

      • She said they also looked at partitions for the FUSD and it was deemed unnecessary. 

    • Ramos said that she doesn’t think partitions are necessary, but her concern is that everyone in the room is wearing N95 masks appropriately “without their nose sticking out or anything.” 

      • Henry asked why she says N95 and Ramos said that’s what she wears because it makes her feel comfortable. 

    • Catalano said they will begin to meet in person at some point and their retreat is in person so this will be a step in that direction.

    • Henry said there are people in the public that are not Zoom savvy or have access to devices in order to join virtually. 

      • She said there are people that used to come to every meeting who have not joined at all so that’s why she would move for a hybrid option moving forward. 

    • Vaillancourt agreed that partitions aren’t necessary if everyone is masked and socially distanced. 

      • She said she agrees with N95s, but it’s not as necessary if they are following everything else. 

      • She said she likes the hybrid option because what if a number of them are quarantined, but healthy enough to be in the meeting. 

    • Approved hybrid meetings unanimously. 

  • Approved resolutions to authorize agency designees to conduct business on behalf of Fresno Housing. 

    • Price said this was an action that would allow the CEO to sign contracts on behalf of the agency. 

    • Approved unanimously with no discussion. 

  • Approved purchase and sale agreement and agreement option to purchase with the City of Fresno Parkway Inn for $3,234,000 from Singh Daljit and Surinder Kaur. 

    • The Inn will be used to provide interim housing for the homeless and possible conversion to permanent housing in the future. 

  • Approved Sun Lodge tax credit allocations for more than $21 million. 

    • Walk on item that was added to the agenda because they just found out earlier in the day. 

    • Duarte said it’s the first step in transforming the neighborhood. 

Williams then updated the commissioners:

  • He spoke about a mandatory training and upcoming board retreat. 

  • They are working on a new annual report and would be working with every commissioner to get an updated photo for it and the website. 

  • He said they are working closely with the city and mayor to maximize the money coming from ARPA and additional funds for housing. 

  • He said he went to Yoville Community Garden. 

  • He said he has instituted a way to communicate directly with staff. 

  • He highlighted several newly hired employees, promotions and departures. 

  • He acknowledged the departure of Tracewell Hanrahan and Angie Nguyen. He said they have been there for decades and said tonight would be the last board meeting for them. 

    • Hanrahan and Nguyen will be leaving Fresno Housing to join the former Fresno Housing CEO Preston Prince as Deputy Executive Directors at Santa Clara County Housing Authority. 

Catalano opened the meeting for reports from the commissioners:

  • Catalano said they will be meeting with Valley Children’s and working with Williams to close the digital divide. 

    • Vaillancourt asked why it was just Valley Children’s and Catalano said that they reached out to them first, but they would be meeting with other hospitals in the area. 

    • Catalano said Lynn Ashbeck reached out to set up a meeting with Williams first, but he would talk to her offline about meeting with the larger group. 

  • Henry thanked Williams for his report and shared her excitement for Nguyen and Hanrahan. “It’s a huge loss to our community and Fresno Housing Authority,” she said. “They both have done so much for Fresno Housing and our community at large.” 

    • Henry said the Housing Authority does not condone any racist activities at our board meetings. 

    • “I want to make sure that our staff know that should they need support or resources that they have that available,” “Your board does not tolerate that kind of hate and racism, please know that we’re here and we support you.” 

  • Sablan, Jones, Vaillancourt, Christensen, Williams all echoed the sentiments shared about Nguyen and Hanrahan. 

  • Nguyen said she would be eternally grateful for the staff at Fresno Housing and opportunities she was given along the way. “I truly believe that we’re leaving this place in a much better way than we found it and the leaders that we helped grow are really going to lead this agency and help carry out the work.” She said her heart is at peace. 

  • Hanrahan said it is a decade that she will never forget and will certainly be one of the high points of her career because of the 250 people she gets to work with every day. “I will miss every single one of you all dearly,” she said. “I appreciate the support you all have given me, it enabled me to be the leader that I am and continued to grow.” 

  • In closing, Catalano said they would be touring Chinatown. He reflected on the year and thanked Nguyen and Hanrahan and wished them well. 

    • He asked if a special board meeting could still be possible. Duarte said at the moment they are on track, but it’s possible. 

The meeting adjourned at 7:50 p.m. and it was noted that some commissioners and staff members needed to stay online for a Silvercrest meeting. The next regular meeting is scheduled for Jan. 25, 2022. 

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

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