Here’s what you need to know:

  • The commissioners received an update on the agency’s strategic diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives from Chief Diversity Officer Marc’ Bady. They will be offering training and internship opportunities for residents, as well as expanding the DEI team to include an Inclusion Analyst and paid interns. 
  • Chief Real Estate Officer Michael Duarte provided a real estate development update. He said Linnaea Villas in Kingsburg will be having a grand opening soon and they are working to obtain bids for Corazon del Valle in Huron. 
  • Commissioner Caine Christensen has submitted his resignation to the board, which will leave an open seat on the City Board of Commissioners. 

The meeting (in full)

The Scene

The Fresno Housing Authority joint meeting of the boards of commissioners took place on Tuesday, March 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 in-person at Parc Grove Commons, via Zoom and audio conferencing for commissioners and accessible via teleconference, Zoom and in-person 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)

Sophia Ramos, Commissioner (also registered nurse)

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

Vacant, Commissioner (open due to the resignation of Edugiben Ortiz) 

As the commissioners joined the meeting, Board Secretary Tiffany Mangum, ensured there was a quorum. 

Commissioner Jones led the meeting in-person for the first time since 2020 at Parc Grove Commons. She said it is their first in-person meeting in two years. 

Commissioners Jones, Williams, Henry and Catalano attended the meeting in-person. Vaillancourt, Christensen, Kelley, Yanez, Gallaher, Ramos and Sablan attended virtually. Mangum said that Fuentes would be joining the meeting late. 

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

The commissioners opened the meeting by approving the agenda.

Williams then provided a CEO report for the commissioners: 

  • The board’s spring retreat is this Friday at Legacy Commons. It is open to the public to join and participate virtually. 
  • He said they will be taking action prior to the board retreat starting at 9 a.m. It will be an item related to the Corazon del Vaille. 
  • He said they will be presenting the California Avenue Neighborhood work at the Fresno City Council meeting on Thursday. 
  • He announced several rehires. 

Jones opened the meeting for reports from the commissioners:

  • She asked the commissioners to contact Mangum if they are interested in joining the NAHRO virtual meeting. 
  • She said that they did receive a letter of resignation from Commissioner Christensen. He offered to stay until his seat was filled. 
  • Henry thanked the commissioners for making the hybrid meeting possible. 
  • Yanez asked about the board retreat and confirmed that all commissioners would attend at 9 a.m. Friday. 

Price interjected that the governor’s emergency order will expire on March 31, so this would be the last hybrid/Zoom meeting they can have. So starting April 1, all meetings will be in-person, but they can allow the public to continue to attend virtually, if they choose to do so.  

The meeting was then open for public comments: 

  • Brandi Nuse-Villegas called in to request remote access to meetings. 

Commissioner Ramos asked if there was a follow-up on a resident that had a mold issue. CEO Williams said that staff has been working with Dawson and they have arrived at a solution and are working to resolve it. He said that he has spoken with her himself. Jones said there was a written update and she will make sure that she gets a copy of it. 

Consent items:

  • Approved minutes of the Feb. 10 and Feb. 22, 2022 meetings.
  • Adopted AB 361 to allow commissioners to continue meeting via Zoom and teleconference, although it will expire when the governor’s emergency order expires. 
  • Approved loan refinancing for Dayton Square, El Cortez and The Woodside Apartments. 

Discussion items:

  • Chief Diversity Officer Marc’ Bady gave an update on the agency’s strategic partnerships and initiatives, including diversity, equity and inclusion: 
    • He acknowledged Women’s History Month and said a staff meeting on women leadership issues would be held on March 29. 
    • He said they will also hold a workshop on neurodiversity, as well as sharing information with residents. 
    • He said they will also be holding a lunch and learn. 
    • He said they will be offering training opportunities and internships for residents to learn skills. 
      • He said that his first internship really encouraged him to change his life. He worked for the Memphis Public Housing Authority. 
    • He said the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion team will be expanding and they will be hiring an Inclusion Analyst. 
      • He said they will hopefully hire a candidate by the end of April and introduce them this summer. 
      • They will also hire DEI interns. 
    • Henry thanked him and said that they are really “leading” and “confronting this very visibly and “trying to embrace an opportunity for us to grow and learn.” 
      • “There is always more work to be done, but I am so happy to see it’s being done,” she said. 
    • Kelley said she loved to see this, but asked if they could change the language from being “victim centered” to empowerment language. “I’m just wondering if there is more empowering language that we could use,” she said. 
      • Bady agreed and said absolutely. 
      • He said that he is a former Title IV coordinator and it is a sticky topic. 
      • She encouraged him to hold sessions with residents to empower them to give voice to themselves. 
    • Catalano said that he is most grateful for everybody to have a fair and equal voice in the work that they do. He said that it is important for everyone to feel like they are heard, loved and understood. 
  • Chief Real Estate Officer Michael Duarte provided a real estate development update: 
    • Linnaea Villas in Kingsburg will be having a grand opening soon. 
    • The Arthur at Blackstone and Sun Lodge will be closing in the months ahead. 
    • Corazon del Valle in Huron is progressing and it went out to bid a few weeks ago. He said it has been a constrained construction market. 
      • He said the remoteness and prevailing wage has been proving difficult. 
      • He said they are trying to minimize a funding gap and the City of Huron was able to submit a budget request for proposals. 
      • Catalano asked what the funding shortfall is for Huron and Duarte said they are still working on a final number. 

The meeting adjourned at 5:47 p.m. The next regular meeting is scheduled for April 26. 

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