Documented by Artemes Gidram

Here’s what you need to know

  • Advocate and community leader Dr. Francine Oputa was remembered after her passing.
  • Pine Warehouse was sold for over $2 million.
  • Fresno Housing Authority CEO Tyrone Roderick Williams gave an update on their current goals for the year.

Follow-up questions

  • What is the gallery walk being facilitated by Faith in the Valley? 
  • How is the Fresno Housing Authority going to achieve its goals? 

The Scene

The Fresno Housing Joint Board meeting was held on Sep. 26, 2023, at approximately 5 p.m.

The meeting took place entirely over Zoom. The agenda is available on the Fresno Housing website.

Names of officials present:

Adrian Jones, city board chair

Sharon Williams, city vice–chair

Ruby Yanez,  city commissioner

Isaiah Green, city commissioner

Areli Rios, city commissioner

Paul Idsvoog, city commissioner

Cary Catalano, county chair

Valori Gallaher, county vice-chair

Joey Fuentes, county commissioner

Sophia Ramos, county commissioner

Amadeo Garcia, county commissioner

Kyle Chaney, county commissioner

Emogene Nelson, city commissioner, absent

  • Call to order
    • The teleconference audio was muted until well into roll call.
    • Out of the names called after the audio was unmuted Emogene Nelson was not present.
  • Approval of the agenda
    • There was a motion by Rios and the motion unanimously passed on the city side.
    • There was a motion by Gallaher, which also passed unanimously. 
  • Acknowledgements
    • Presented by Tyrone Roderick Williams, CEO of Fresno Housing Authority.
      • Marcellino Rodriguez, retiring
        • Rodriguez has served the agency for 23 years in the maintenance department.
        • Rodriguez has been an integral part of the maintenance team.
        • Williams has always been amazed and has great appreciation for what Rodriguez has done.
        • Rodriguez is valued and will be missed.
      • In Memoriam of Dr. Francine Oputa
        • “We have to have hope because if we don’t have hope, all is lost,” Oputa, formerly Fresno State professor.
        • Oputa was a community leader alongside her husband, Dr. Henry Oputa, for 45 years.
        • She was the former director of the Fresno State Cross-Cultural and Gender Center.
        • She was an architect of navigating difficult but necessary conversations around gender, culture, religion and socio-economic lines.
        • Oputa was looked to as a voice of calm, wisdom, hope, justice and belonging by students, community leaders and various faith communities.
        • Oputa had recently worked with the Fresno Housing Authority through the Community Justice Network Initiative.
  • Director’s report, Tyrone Roderick Williams, CEO of Fresno Housing Authority
    • There is a convention for the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) scheduled for Oct. 6-8
      • Commissioners will be getting emails on specific details of the conference.
      • The conference will be in New Orleans.
      • Christina Husbands of the Fresno Housing Authority will be assuming the position of vice president of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials.
      • The team at the Fresno Housing Authority is up for a number of award considerations at the convention for their accomplishments.
        • Resident service activities
        • Architectural design and finance
        • Summer learning initiative
    • 2023 CEO goal
      • Goal development and tracking.
        • In March 2023 there was a brainstorming session with senior managers.
        • In April 2023 there was communication of the 2023 goals to staff, board and others.
        • In May 2023 the agency strategic planning process was launched.
        • At this, the September 2023 board meeting, Williams gave an update on goal progress.
        • In December 2023 the authority will approve the strategic plan and agency budget.
      • Goals target key areas
        • Real estate development
          • Predevelopment pipeline
          • Management of agency assets
          • Diversity partners and funding sources
        • Resident supporters
          • Partnership audit and framework development
          • Reinvigorate Fresno Housing Ed Corps.
          • Improve digital equity for residents.
        • Sustainability
          • Balanced budget, multi-year forecast
          • Board development and engagement
          • Inclusive process to update the Agency Strategic Plan
          • Professional learning opportunities for staff
        • External initiatives
          • Explore the agency’s role in preventing homelessness.
          • Meet with county leaders to better understand housing needs in Fresno County.
          • Complete California Avenue Neighborhood (CAN) initial activities and plan for the next steps with elected officials
        • Housing Choice Vouchers
          • Operationalize the Voucher Incentive Program
          • Improve leasing success rates.
          • Improve operational efficiencies.
        • Property management
        • Innovative actions, policy developments and communication to improve resident and staff safety
          • Improve office and maintenance staff communication.
      • Goal updates
        • Real estate development
          • Goal: Identify and seek no less than three new projects for the pipeline to ensure greater access to housing for Fresno County residents.
            • Update: six projects in the pipeline
              • La Joya Commons Phase II in Firebaugh
              • Avalon Commons Phase II in Fresno
              • Cordillera Commons in San Joaquin
              • North Fulton in Fresno
              • Orange Cove Trail Project
              • Reedley Family project
          • Goal: Expand efforts to optimize assets by exploring leasing commercial space, year 15 planning and refinancing opportunities. Outcomes should be qualified and generate short- or long-term gain.
            • Update.
              • Monarch
                • Prospect looking at space and pursuing financing.
              • Paseo 55
                • Basic plans in review by the city of Reedley.
              • Arthur
                • Information being compiled regarding available spaces.
              • Corazon del Valle Commons.
                • Drafting lease with the city of Huron.
          • Goal: Diversify partners and funding sources in the project pipeline by adding at least one new funding source.
            • Update
              • Awarded city of Fresno IIG-C in North Fulton and Avalon Commons Phase II with Local Housing Trust Fund (LHTF).
              • Pending SuperNOFA (Notice of Funding Availability) application
              • Phase I requested Multifamily Housing program (MHP) and Joe Serna Farmworker Funds, Parkside Inn and Veterans Housing & Homeless Prevention.
        • Sustainability
          • Goal: Create a balanced 2024 budget that includes a multi-year forecast.
            • Update: in progress.
          • Goal: Support engaged, informed boards by working with city and county leadership to fill vacant positions, invest in onboarding, clear communication, professional learning and a board retreat.
            • Update: All city board positions are filled and only one county position is vacant. The commissioner onboarding program has been launched. The retreat was held at Harris Ranch.
          • Goal: Adopt a new five-year agency strategic plan for implementation in 2024 utilizing process with all stakeholders.
            • Update: in progress
          • Goal: Create measurable professional learning offerings around leadership development, work-life balance and specific job skills to support staff retention and development.
            • Update: Both the Supervisor Academy and Aspire Academy have been launched. Each class is offered twice a year.
        • External initiatives.
          • Goal: establish and operationalize a vision for the appropriate role of Fresno Housing in addressing homelessness.
            • Update: Fresno Housing is committed to participating in the Fresno Madera County Continuum of Care providing services to unhoused individuals and families. The agency will continue to be a partner with the community in determining the best housing solutions.
          • Goal: Intentionally engage with county leaders to better learn about cities throughout Fresno County and plan for the unique housing needs and community-building opportunities of individual communities.
            • Update: Met with city officials in Fowler, Firebaugh, Mendota, Huron, San Joaquin, Selma, Orange Cove, Kerman, Reedley and Coalinga.
          • Goal: Complete CAN planning activities and launch the next steps in the implementation strategy.
            • Update
              • The Transformation Plan has been accepted. Approval for street banners is nearing completion and banners will be installed before the end of the year.
              • Staff is working with representation from the city and the Fresno County Economic Development (EDC) on elements within the neighborhood and the people.
        • Housing choice vouchers
          • Goal: Operationalize the Voucher Incentive program. Document and publish impacts.
            • Update: 136 families in the pipeline and $341,460 invested
          • Goal: improve leasing rates in the city and county of Fresno to create housing opportunities for families and increase generated administrative leave.
            • Update
              • The city lease has improved by 9% and the county’s by 16% in the previous 12 months.
                • Fair Market Rents (FMR) and Small Area Fair Market Rents (SAFMR) waivers contributed
                • Approval to use 50th percentile Fair market rents to set payment standards contributed
                • Continued use of small area fair market rents in high-opportunity Zip codes also contributed
          • Goal: Improve general operational efficiencies in the program in areas such as new control execution, rent reasonableness, project-based vouchers, inspections, case management and customer service.
            • Updates
              • Balanced case management workloads
              • Assessing Yardi, a property management computer program, functions
              • Responsiveness to increased lease up rates
              • Assess vendor service contracts for cost savings
        • Property management.
          • Goal: Continue to engage residents in regular, ongoing safety meetings, including efforts to expand meetings to include families from surrounding homes and apartments.
            • Update: On Aug. 1, 14 properties hosted National Night Out parties.
              • Eight properties received lighting upgrades.
              • Eight properties received camera upgrades, four are in progress.
              • One property received speed bumps.
          • Goal: Improve internal communication between the property office and maintenance staff to support excellent customer service and resident support.
            • Update: The management team has established quarterly meetings.
              • Each meeting addresses several topics within each development.
              • Suggestions on how to deal with situations and circumstances are clarified and discussed.
          • Goal: Launch an annual resident survey initiative to create a baseline understanding of resident needs and feelings about their community.
            • Update: Residents were encouraged to attend the Resident Advisory Meeting held on Aug. 30 at various locations.
              • Fairview Heights in Fresno
              • Rio Villas in Firebaugh
              • Cyeva de Oso in Selma
              • 1260 Fulton in Fresno
            • Information was gathered to inform a future survey to be launched in October.
      • CEO goals
        • Goal: executive coaching/professional development
          • Board communications
          • Community relations
          • Strategic planning and influence
        • Goal: organizational leadership.
          • Achieving organizational goals
          • Staff retention and development
          • Operational efficiencies
          • Budgeting and forecasting
          • Workplace climate and culture
          • Employee relations
        • Goal: Maintain resident focus perspectives
          • Expand partnerships//activities with educational institutes
          • Strengthen workforce development opportunities for residents
  • Closed session
    • The commission turned their audio on after the closed session after about 45 minutes.
    • The commission seemed to have forgotten to turn the audio back onto the Zoom meeting. They continued the meeting much further down on the agenda.
  • Residents summer recap by Marc Bady
    • The number of applicants was 84
    • Around 10% were male and around 89% were female
    • 53.57% were Hispanic of any race, 25% African-American/black, 13.10% white, 7.14% Asian/Pacific Islander
    • 1.19% were Native American/Alaska Native.
    • Age group
      • Around 16% ages 17-20
      • 25% were 21-29
      • Around 32% were 30-39
      • Around 14% were 40-49
      • Around 2% were 60 and over
    • Educational Advancement Scholarship 2023-2024
      • The application portal process access was held April 6-June 6.
      • More than 400 applicants were received.
      • There was an additional $25,000 in grants.
      • There was more than $70,000 in scholarships awarded.
  • Strategic plan update
    • They are working with Faith in the Valley to do gallery walks.
    • These walks are like a museum and allow them to learn about strategic planning.
    • There will be engaging activity about creating a house economy.
  • Housing choice voucher program update
    • Lisa Newfelt
      • Clients are investors.
      • They have introduced investors to their housing program.
      • Newfelt was asked if there was any education that was being done for landlords.
        • Newfelt stated that they do have landlord outreach and workshops.
      • Real estate update by Michael Corcoran
        • Pine Warehouse update
          • Recently turned into a purchase contract.
          • The transaction has officially closed.
          • The company was sold to North Palm Investments Group LLC for $2.1 million
      • Budget development update by Tammy Townsend
        • Operating budget
          • Total income
            • 2024: $48.3 million
            • 2025: $49.7 million
          • Total expenses
            • 2024: $48.8 million
            • 2025: $51 million
            • Net operating income
            • 2024: $495,675
            • 2025: $1.3 million
          • Net Income
            • 2024: $1.6 million
            • 2025: $2 million
          • Unrestricted net income.
            • 2024: $2.3 million
            • 2025: $3.8 million

Actions/Discussions/Public comment

  • Public comment.
    • Donald McQuiller, representative of Black families and residents of the Fresno area
      • McQuiller wishes to instill development into the community.
      • McQuiller said he believes that the board has been undeveloped over the years.
      • Communities need access to the agenda.
      • Most community members don’t know how to speak on issues and some don’t have access to the agenda.
      • McQuiller requests that the board put the community members on the agenda.

Conversation highlight

  • “We have to have hope because if we don’t have hope, all is lost,” Dr. Francine Oputa, professor, Fresno State University..

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