Documenter: Heather Halsey Martinez

Here’s what you need to know:

  • The commissioners approved 10 items on the consent agenda, including authorizing a grant award of $600,000 from the County of Fresno Emergency Shelter Grant – COVID-19 for Journey Home, a Project Homekey property, as well as 34 project-based Section 8 vouchers for La Joya Commons in Firebaugh and 15 for Citrus Gardens in Orange Cove.

  • The commissioners also received an update on the West Fresno California Avenue Neighborhood (CAN) work. They are in phase three of the work and plans include 457 housing units, a mix of affordable housing and market rate/workforce housing, for which they intend to apply for $40 million in grant funding. 

The meeting (in full)
The Scene

The Fresno Housing Authority joint meeting of the boards of commissioners took place on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022 at 5:00 p.m. The joint board meeting packet states that due to the board’s adoption of AB 361, the meeting will be held via Zoom and audio conferencing 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)
Stacy Vaillancourt, Vice Chair (also Chief Administrative Officer for Saint Agnes Medical Center)

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

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

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 running for Fresno City Council District 1)

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, Board Secretary Tiffany Mangum, ensured there was a quorum. 

Commissioner Catalano led the meeting. He reminded the commissioners not to communicate via chat since it is a public meeting. He said they are celebrating Black History Month and referenced the cover art on the agenda packet. 

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

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

The commissioners opened the meeting by approving the agenda.

The meeting was then open for public comments: 

  • Labrenda Dawson gave public comment via audio. She said she is a disabled tenant at Legacy Commons Apartments. She said she had a brain tumor removed in 1998 and has several health conditions. “My apartment has mold all throughout it and my health conditions are exacerbated due to it,” she said. “When I’m away from my apartment, I feel much better, when I return my symptoms return.” 

    • She said there are leaks on her HVAC and although they were reported, nothing has been done to fix the mold. 

    • She said her doctor filled out a form that states it is difficult for her to enter her apartment via stairs, but now seven months later she is still living in an upstairs apartment. 

    • “I’m afraid for my life, my friends and family are very concerned for my well being,” she said. 

Williams then provided a CEO report for the commissioners: 

  • He said he was recently at a community in Parlier. He said not many housing authorities are involved in farm labor housing. 

    • “Our goal is to really leverage every opportunity that we can and our goal is that this visit will yield some significant opportunities for us,” he said. 

    • “Any time we can host a congressman or federal agencies here, we are happy to do that,” he said. 

  • March 10-commissioner training on harassment

  • Board training at Legacy Commons 

  • De La Guerra said that COVID numbers among Fresno Housing staff have come down dramatically and they are now able to provide supplemental sick time due to COVID. 

  • Point in time counts this week from 6 p.m. to midnight, volunteers will be combing the county looking unhoused or those in danger of losing their housing. “The numbers that come out of this really guide housing services and the approach to the unhoused,” he said. 

    • For the county, they are partnering with Turning Point, Poverello House and the EOC. 

  • He asked Comm. Jones to share the role that her grandfather played in getting farmworker housing in the region. She said she recently learned that he worked with Kerman farmers and received a letter from the Housing Authority recognizing him for it. He was also very instrumental in bringing Martin Luther King to Fresno to speak on farm worker housing. 

  • He also asked Comm. Kelley to share. She said her grandfather and his family were homesteaders for the Canadian government. She said they first lived in a Housing Authority property on Clinton. 

    • She said her grandfather advocated for a community center in 1965 and she was able to help build a playground and improve pedestrian infrastructure in those neighborhoods to complete the work he started. 

  • Feb. 28 at Legacy Commons they will host a Black History Month event. 

Catalano opened the meeting for reports from the commissioners:

  • Catalano said that he and Jones had discussed ways they could streamline their meetings and make them more accessible. 

  • Price said there is a mandatory training scheduled on March 10. 

  • Jones said the National Board of Governors is breaking up its conference and working on its goals for 2022. 

Consent items:

  • Approved minutes of the Dec. 13, 2021 and Jan. 25, 2022 meetings.

  • Approved contract for construction services for Monte Vista office rehabilitation. 

  • Approved allocation of up to 15 project-based Section 8 vouchers for Citrus Gardens in Orange Cove, Calif. 

  • Approved allocation of up to 34 project-based Section 8 vouchers for La Joya Commons in Firebaugh, Calif. 

  • Authorized the agency to receive an award of $600,000 in grant funding from the County of Fresno Emergency Shelter Grant – COVID-19 for operations and services at Journey Home (formerly Welcome Inn), a property acquired through Project Homekey. 

    • Operated by Turning Point as low-barrier shelter 

  • Approved funding application submission for Citrus Gardens in Orange Cove. 

  • Approved funding application submission for La Joya Commons in Firebaugh. 

  • Approved funding application submission for Step Up on 99. 

  • Approved funding application submission for Corazon del Valle Commons in Huron. 

  • Approved amended resolution specifying Williams as authorized signer as CEO for multifamily housing program for Corazon del Valle Commons in Huron. 

Discussion items:

  • Adopted AB 361 to allow commissioners to continue meeting via Zoom and teleconference. 

    • Pulled by Henry from consent agenda for discussion. 

    • She said that her concern is the accessibility of meetings for constituents who are not savvy with Zoom and would prefer to come in-person. 

    • She proposed doing a hybrid meeting option that allows commissioners to continue joining via Zoom or call-in. 

    • Price said that if the state of emergency is not extended then hybrid meetings won’t even be available to them starting April 1. 

    • Sablan thought that it became cost prohibitive to do hybrid options. 

    • Catalano said the concern was that less than 50% of the board expressed interest in meeting in person. He said that once the meeting was over, no one wanted to meet in person in January. 

    • Vaillancourt said that she thinks it’s important that they invest in having those hybrid meetings because “I don’t think the world is going to be so cut and dry.” 

      • To which, Catalano said that after the law expires on March 31, they won’t have that flexibility. 

    • Catalano said they would discuss the hybrid meeting further. 

  • Received an overview of the 2022 board retreat agenda from Lisa Spinali, facilitator: 

    • Jones said she is so excited that she has butterflies. 

    • Spinali shared an agenda for the retreat. 

    • She said they would be completing a CliftonStrengths assessment prior to the retreat. 

    • She said that she was told that some of the past experiences at board retreats haven’t been the most positive. 

    • Henry said in the past some of the retreats have been more educational with presentations from staff, but that she looks forward to building their teamwork at the retreat. 

  • Received an overview of the 2022-2023 CEO goals from Williams:

    • Williams said that he has been in his role for four months now. 

    • He said that his goal is to “build and maintain an innovative, engaged, visible and sustainable organization, committed to its mission of providing housing and economic opportunities for low-income populations.” 

    • He said they will introduce the agency’s new organizational structure at the board retreat.

    • He said that many times their housing choice voucher recipients are at a disadvantage because they are at a lower rate than HUD. 

    • He said they will be launching a podcast in May to connect with residents and the broader community. They are also exploring text messaging. 

    • He said as an agency they will be looking at ways to support K-12 summer learning opportunities and paid summer internships. 

    • He said that Fresno has a younger population than most cities of the same size. 

    • He said that as an agency they will be looking at increasing career readiness goals to increase the 

    • Other than the school district, there’s not another agency or entity that has the impact, that’s why I’ve chosen education. 

    • Catalano said that his presentation is a high level presentation and then meetings will happen and items will come before the board for ratification. 

    • Kelley said she “loves the empowerment strategy” and asked if he is thinking of other partners that he would like to invite and what the funding sources might be for that. 

      • Williams said there are “so many other partners” and “broader partnerships with existing partners.” 

      • He said they are part of the Fresno Madera Continuum of Care

      • He thanked Vaillancourt for a partnership opportunity with St. Agnes. 

      • He said that he thinks by the time they get to the March board retreat, they will be able to put together a list of potential partners. 

  • Received an update from Mangum on West Fresno California Avenue Neighborhood (CAN) and an overview of the status of the Choice Neighborhood Planning initiative:

    • Mangum said they are in phase three of the CAN work. 

    • She said they are in phase 3 of the work. 

    • They would like to provide 457 housing units, a mix of affordable housing and market rate/workforce housing. 

    • They intend to apply for $40M in grant/funding.

    • Some contingent on the airport map. 

    • Catherine Evanoff called in to the meeting. She said that she has lived at Fairview Heights Terrace complex on California Avenue for 14 years. 

      • She said some of her concerns about the CAN work was that they would have to move and be unable to return once the remodel work was completed. 

      • She said that she was “terrified” but has since found out the rumors weren’t correct, which she was happy about. 

      • She said she won a $100 Target gift card and realized that her input really mattered to CAN. 

      • She said that she admired how much time was given to listen to the input of children and their ideas. 

      • She said that she also enjoyed discussing the use of the vacant Waterman building and ideas for what it can become. 

      • She said she hopes that CAN is able to make tiny homes a reality. 

      • Mangum said that Evanoff has helped the CAN team reach her neighbors. 

      • Catalano thanked Mangum and said he and Jones were 100% supportive of all the work the CAN team is doing. 

      • Jones said the work has been a “long time coming to fruition” and they have been talking about California Avenue since before she joined the board. “I’m so excited to watch some of this work start to happen,” she said. 

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

    • He said Citrus Gardens was once funded by USDA and it is in need of a subsidy, which was once provided by USDA. 

      • Project based vouchers were approved at this meeting to allow them to “recapitalize the property.” 

    • La Joya Commons in Firebaugh was also once assisted by USDA. 

    • Step Up on 99 is seeking HHC funding. 

    • City of Fresno awards for Step Up $3.5 million and $3 million for Avalon Commons 

      • Contingent on successful tax credit application in June 2022. 

    • Sun Lodge, The Arthur at Blackstone and Corazon del Valle Commons will close in Q1 and start construction in Q2 2022. 

The meeting adjourned at 7:13 p.m. The next regular meeting is scheduled for March 22. 

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

Support our nonprofit journalism.


Your contribution is appreciated.