Here’s what you need to know:
- The joint boards of commissioners approved the 2021 year-end financials for Fresno Housing operations and housing assistance payments. Chief Business Officer Emily De La Guerra said they are “performing slightly worse” than projected and should end 2022 with $6.4 million in unrestricted reserves.
- They also approved a repair services agreement with the City of Fresno to prepare Parkway Inn for shelter occupancy. There are ten residents currently who will be relocated to other properties by the city in partnership with the agency.
- Fresno Housing CEO Tyrone Williams said that De La Guerra will be leaving the agency in July. He said they are working with a consultant to support the departments during the transition. Several of the commissioners and agency employees wished her well.
The meeting (in full)
The Fresno Housing Authority joint meeting of the boards of commissioners took place on Tuesday, June 28, 2022 at 5 p.m. The joint board meeting packet states that meetings will be held at 1260 Fulton Street on the second floor. Attendance via Zoom or teleconference is also available.
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.
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
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)
Sophia Ramos, Commissioner (also registered nurse)
Stacy Sablan, Commissioner (also owner of Sablan Legal Services)
Commissioner Catalano led the meeting.
Commissioners Vaillancourt, Yanez and Henry were absent during roll call, all other commissioners were present in person.
Additionally, the following staff members were present: 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. Governance items A and B were moved to number 7.
The meeting was then open for public comments:
- Nataysia Ruiz made a comment via Zoom. She said she emailed the board and called several times and could not leave a voicemail or get through to a person on the phone. She said she has had an issue with a neighbor’s boyfriend for more than a year. She said there is a man not on the lease living there.
- CEO Williams said he had reached out to staff following her previous call. He said staff has reached out and it is an issue with someone who is not a permanent resident. He said he would follow up tomorrow.
- A resident of Cedar Courts was in attendance in person. She said she has a similar situation with someone living there not on the lease who walks around with a machete. “I am scared for my safety because he has run up on my kids when I’m not there,” she said. “Literally we have to watch our backs every day.”
- Williams asked her to leave her info.
- Catalano said they would follow up with her.
- During public comment on the consent agenda, Nikki Real commented via Zoom. She said hello to the board and staff, but didn’t want to make a comment regarding anything on the agenda.
- Approved minutes of May 24, 2022 meeting.
- Approved rehire and reinstatement policy.
- Approved acceptance of tax credit award for Citrus Gardens.
- Approved funding applications for Step Up on 99.
- Approved architectural services contract for Citrus Gardens.
- Update on strategic diversity, equity and inclusion initatives from Chief Diversity Officer Marc’ Bady:
- He said they were honoring Pride Month and Juneteenth this month.
- He said that he wanted to highlight Workforce Development initiatives and allowed Mary, Resident Empowerment Manager to speak.
- She said they connected with Career Nexus to offer training and participants received a certificate.
- She said they identified some positions within the agency in four departments.
- They have eight residents that have gone through the process and four positions in the agency, plus employment opportunities with the Fresno Chaffee Zoo.
- CEO Williams introduced the eight residents who have completed the Career Nexus training.
- A former resident commissioner, Timothy, spoke and said that he wanted to shine some light on the interns that went through the program.
- He said that he went through things like going through an interview, being on time and basic hygiene.
- “I do know that all eight will be great employees or interns,” he said.
- Jones said that she was happy and proud of the residents.
- Kelley said she thought of a scripture about “small beginnings” and said that resident empowerment is very near and dear to her heart.
- Catalano said it was good to see Tim and that he hasn’t aged a bit. He said they have been talking about the “heavy lift for years.” He said providing shelter is just the first step and now these residents have license to do great things. He asked them to please bring more people along.
- Mary gave a presentation on Summer Education Advancement programs, which received $200,000 from Central Valley Community Foundation:
- She said they are focusing on literacy with a reading program.
- She said Marcel Woodruff is doing music education at Legacy Commons and Parc Grove Commons. He is targeting 50 students at each location.
- She said the Fresno County Public Library is offering a reptile show at Parc Grove Commons on July 21 and additional events at other locations, in addition to the Digibus.
- She said they are also working with the Fresno Chaffee Zoo to provide families with free tickets and transportation. They have 8,000 tickets to distribute.
- She said there are other partners that can provide tickets to residents if they didn’t get any from them.
- She said they received a grant to provide Engineer It, Kids with Valley PBS. They will also host a literacy-themed event with mascots and readings called, Hats Off to Reading, at six various locations.
- Additional summer education programs, include a summer internship program with Fresno State and a Summer Tech Camp with Live Again Fresno. She said she knows the Summer Tech Camp is very near and dear to Commissioner Kelley.
- She said they are anticipating about 1,200 hours of unduplicated summer education reaching 4,500 youth. She said they are very busy and short staffed.
- Catalano asked about Huron and Coalinga in the presentation and how important it was for them to reach the county. Mary said it wasn’t all of the programs they are doing.
- Kelley said this is the seventh year of Summer Tech Camp and this is one way to bridge the technology divide and address summer learning loss.
- Eric Payne, executive director of the Central Valley Urban Institute was in council chambers. He said they are very excited about the direction the agency is moving in. He said they are working on a partnership for advancing homeownership opportunities for People of Color.
- Jones thanked him for his continued partnership with the agency and said that on the national level they are looking at nontraditional partners and how to create a coalition.
- Kelley asked if bringing an HBCU to Fresno could be expanded to introduce students to HBCUs, or possibly expanding it to a few colleges.
- Payne said he does hope to facilitate those conversations locally. He said there is an incubator beginning to develop with Fresno State and State Center Community College District.
- A real estate development update:
- Tax credits for Step Up on 99
- 9% funding allocation for Citrus Gardens located in Orange Cove
- Kelley asked about restarting the development committee.
- Catalano said the committee jurisdiction expired because it was task-oriented, but they could talk about reinstating it.
- Catalano asked for an update on maintenance and debris clean-up programs for residents.
- Finance Manager Crystal Cox provided an overview of financial results for mixed finance properties:
- She said 25 properties were high performers, four standard performers and two low performers that were being monitored.
- She said overall the agency will receive $1.8 million.
Catalano said they appreciate the diversity of Fresno Housing and that they will not tolerate any hate comments in the chat or in person, referring to a comment received from “ElBeener” on Zoom.
- Approved acceptance of 2021 year-end financials for Fresno Housing operations and housing assistance payments.
- Chief Business Officer Emily De La Guerra presented the information.
- They ended 2020 with $7.1 million in 2020 and $6.8 million in 2021 and should end 2022 with $6.4 million in unrestricted reserves.
- She said they are “performing slightly worse” than they projected.
- In unrestricted reserves, the agency ended 2020 with $7.1 million, $6.8 million in 2021 and should end 2022 with $6.4 million.
- Kelley asked if there is a minimum that they don’t go below for the reserves. De La Guerra said it varies depending on the program, but they are right about there with the recommendation to have about two months in reserves, which is $7 million.
- In HAP, she said they have excess reserves.
- Jones said that they always had an understanding that they would like to have about five months.
- Josh Martindale spoke via Zoom and said he is a member of the community and was unimpressed.
- Approved repair services agreement with the City of Fresno for Parkway Inn.
- Dave Brown with the real estate department is presenting the information.
- He said the city received a Homekey 2 grant to use the property as a homeless shelter.
- Between 2025 and 2037, the property will be converted to permanent affordable housing.
- He said it consists of two, two-story buildings and the restaurant will be demolished.
- He said there are ten residents currently who will be relocated to other properties by the city in partnership with the agency.
Williams then provided a CEO report for the commissioners:
- He said COVID eviction protections have ended, but residents behind on rent still have protections available.
- He said they met with Rep. Connie Conway and they are happy to support her.
- He attended an event in Washington, D.C. with the CEOs of the largest housing authorities in the country.
- He said he had the honor of speaking at the Juneteenth celebration.
- He said they will be celebrating the grand opening of 1260 and 1331 Fulton this Friday at 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- He acknowledged several new hires and promotions, as Chief Business Officer Emily De La Guerra leaving the agency.
- She said she started at Fresno Housing 11 years ago as the budget coordinator and her last day will be in July.
- She said she had no idea what a housing authority did, but that public service has always been in her blood.
- “I have given so much to this organization, literally blood, sweat and tears,” she said through tears. “At the same time, it has given me so much.”
- Williams said they have a clear pathway forward and is working with a consultant, Steve.
- Williams said that he is experienced with housing authorities and he and his team have helped agencies across the country.
- He said the staff expressed that “do not feel abandoned” with Steve helping support them.
- He said they will be meeting with each department and getting updates.
- “While this is a significant transition for us and our entire team…we will have a team to help our team do this,” he said. “This is also an opportunity for looking at ways we can improve so we’ll be looking at that as well.”
- Jones said she feels like an aunt watching De La Guerra work her way up in the agency. “This is the dream of everyone to go to college, get a good job and be able to take care of her kids, so you do that and I wish you the very best,” he said.
- Another employee of the agency said that she did this job with her heart and wished her the best.
- Another employee spoke, but was difficult to understand.
- Gallaher wished her well.
- Kelley said that it’s important for her to raise her family and wished her blessings on her journey.
- Williams said that she cherishes her time with her and told her to enjoy her time with her family.
- Catalano said they appreciate everything they’ve done, especially in the last year of transition.
- “You bring calm to a very complicated process when people need calm,” he said.
- Payne said he looks at De La Guerra as a big sister. “Sometimes we’re fighting for the same issue and sometimes we’re on the opposite end of an issue,” he said.
- De La Guerra said the time she’s spent at the agency will always be a highlight in her life and she appreciates all the support from the bottom of her heart.
Catalano opened the meeting for reports from the commissioners:
- Catalano thanked staff for their work on The Arthur at Blackstone groundbreaking and urged others to attend the groundbreaking this Friday.
- He said the meetings in July and August will be at least two hours.
The meeting adjourned at 6:46 p.m. The next regular meeting is scheduled for July 26.
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