Grand Forks Public Health Department

Mayor’s Health and Human Services Cabinet Minutes
October 20, 2011
Page 4


Thursday, October 20, 2011

I. Call Meeting to Order

The meeting was called to order at 12:15 p.m. by Don Shields. Don introduced the Mayor’s Cabinet newest members: Lynette Flage (North Dakota State University Extension Office), Kristie Mishler (Community Foundation), and Brenda Severson (Red River Valley Community Action). Everyone introduced themselves.

Members Present: Lynette Flage, Kristie Mishler, Brenda Severson, Keith Berger, Tara Dupper, Pat Berger, Craig Knudsvig, Leland Lipp, Colonel Jane Denton, Corey Mock, Peter O’Neill, and Donald Shields. Others present: Terry Hanson (Grand Forks Housing Authority), Lieutenant Colonel Laura Place (Grand Forks Air Force Base Medical Group), and Keith Westerfield (Public Health).

It was noted that Keith B. and Craig K. are retiring, and this will be their last meeting.

II. Old Business

A. Review and Approval of Minutes of the July 21, 2011, Meeting: The July 2011 Minutes were approved as submitted.

B. Grand Forks “Detox” Community Facility Initiative Update: Don S. gave a brief update.

· Only $54,000 is still needed to make a social detox center operational for the City of Grand Forks, ND. During the meeting with the City Council, Council Member Hal Gershman pledged $18,000 towards the $54,000 needed if Grand Forks County would pay a third, and the University of North Dakota (UND) would pay the other $18,000. The “detox” committee will still need to talk to UND and the County to see if this would be feasible for them.

C. Alliance for Healthcare Access Update: Cory M. gave an update on the working group meetings on healthcare access.

· The Alliance Committee has been meeting for about a year now. The alliance hired a staff member who completed a Needs Assessment and did community surveys. A Feasibility Survey of community providers and social services providers in the Grand Forks region was completed. Everyone agreed that there was a need to have a Grand Forks Community Health Center (GFCHC). There was an interest to pursue this, with Debbie Swanson from the Grand Forks Public Health Department facilitating it. A gift of $8,000 was given by the United Way of Grand Forks, ND, and East Grand Forks, MN to help write a request for a planning grant, and take the initial steps toward having a GFCHC.

· Just a couple weeks ago, the Alliance Committee received some exciting and good news. The City of Grand Forks was awarded an $80,000 Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Planning Grant. This sets the stage for a GFCHC operational grant by the end of 2012. Grand Forks is one of only three communities in ND to receive a planning grant from HRSA. The alliance has indorsed Valley Community Health Center to be the agency to operate the GFCHC.

· The Alliance Committee and its Executive Committee are now tasked with educating and informing the community on what a Community Health Center (CHC) is. They are also tasked with identifying what the health needs of the community are, and to get everyone in the community to support this health center. It also requires the support and collaboration from a lot of agencies in the community. The ‘Key Features’ handout (see attached CHC sheet) explains what a CHC is, and what the alliance will need to demonstrate in order to receive additional funds from HRSA.

· The City of Grand Forks has sent out a request for a full-time Project Coordinator; a contract employee to work with the alliance, and to submit a grant to HRSA (see attached Job Description). The deadline for submitting applications is Friday, October 22, 2011.

· The alliance is now working on creating sub-committees. Five sub-committees have already been formed: Workforce, Facility, Services, Finance, and Community Out-Reach. Now is the time to put words into action. The Executive Committee met earlier and will meet next on November 10, 2011, where they will begin more planning, and have an introduction to the new project coordinator.

III. New Business

A. Presentation – Grand Forks Housing Authority (GFHA) Terry Hanson: Terry H. gave a presentation on the history of the GFHA; who they are, what they do, and what their present and future mission is. Terry H. has been with the GFHA for 22 years.

· A community’s housing authority in ND is created by the ND Legislature, under the ND Century Code. Any community with an initial population of 5,000 or greater can create a housing authority. In order to be activated, a resolution is needed from their city council. The GFHA was initiated by resolution from the Grand Forks City Council in 1967. Initially, the GFHA was founded because there was a need for affordable housing in the community. Rather than create public housing, it was the founder’s intent to assist non-profit organizations to create the affordable housing. One of the first affordable housing developments in the City of Grand Forks, now known as Continental Homes, was developed by the Teamsters Union in the late 1960s. These apartments were a gift to the GFHA in 1972 and 1973.

· At first, housing development for low-income families was all GFHA had envisioned doing. The GFHA did not have any other function, and it maintained that position until the early 1990s. In 1992, GFHA took over the operations and functions of the Grand Forks County Housing Authority. Through an agreement and understanding by both parties, the GFHA was now operating within the entire county of Grand Forks. There is now one program administered by the GFHA, which even goes into Polk County, MN.

· Along with eight churches in the community, a former city employee established a non-profit organization called Grand Forks Homes, Inc., in 1971. This was the start of the second affordable housing development in Grand Forks, known today as Cherry Heights, in the urban renewal area downtown. Grand Forks Homes, Inc., along with private developers and GFHA, developed all the affordable housing in Grand Forks.

· In the mid-1980s, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) thought that public housing was the wrong way to go, and that the private sector could do it better. They created the Housing Certificate Program, which is a tenant-based program. Once they received their certificate, the tenant would go out and find a unit in the private sector. The GFHA and HUD would then assist with the rental cost of that unit. HUD later determined that the program was too restrictive, and that it did not provide all the opportunities to families that it could have.

· HUD came up with the Housing Voucher Program, which was more liberal with the eligibility requirements. The Housing Certificate Program and Housing Voucher Program were later combined to create the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program, which has been in existence now for 20 years. However, HUD believed they still needed to do more. Within the new HVP program, the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program was established to assist families to become more financially independent. A family would enter into a contract with the GFHA to become self-sufficient within five years. Families would be financially rewarded if they successfully completed their contract. The GFHA was the first housing authority in the state to have a FSS program, which is also the largest FSS program in ND.

· HUD also came out with a program for their tenant-based assistance units, such as Cherry Heights and Oak Manor, called the Residence Service Coordinator (RSC) Program. This allowed for the property owners to hire an RSC themselves, or by using grants through HUD. The RSC’s responsibility was to make contact between local service providers, and the residents of those facilities. There are six GFHA facilities in the community that have an RSC. HUD and GFHA are offering more services for the less fortunate, and not just for housing.

· The GFHA only owns 37 housing units, with 11 of those as four or five bedroom rental units on the west side of the city. The rest of the housing units were acquired throughout the city after the Flood of 1997. The GFHA manages an additional 770 other properties, owned or financed by others, that house over 1,900 individuals. All of GFHA properties have eligibility requirements. A person needs to be elderly, disabled, or at 50% of the Area Median Income (AMI) to qualify for housing assistance. The GFHA issues up to 1,240 housing vouchers per month under the HCV Program. Individuals that are at, or below 30% of AMI make up 75% of the housing vouchers. The majority of voucher holders are families with single female parents, 19% are elderly, and 28% are disabled, either physically or mentally. There are 1,100 families on the voucher waiting list, with 70 to 110 applications received weekly by the GFHA.

· The HCV Program is a national program administered by housing authorities for HUD. Once on the program, residents have to stay in Grand Forks for one year and use their housing voucher. Afterwards, they can move to another state and still use the portable GFHA voucher. However, if the move is to an area with a higher rent cost, the GFHA voucher would be paying a higher amount toward rent than if they were living in Grand Forks. The GFHA would then have less money to serve the rest of the community here.

· There is a housing problem in Grand Forks. When you have a thousand people on a waiting list for housing assistance, that is an issue that needs to be addressed. The 2010 Census shows the City of Grand Forks with an 18% poverty level, about equal to the national level. The poverty level is less in the county, at 15%. The state level is at 12%, including reservations. The AMI for a family of four is $9,000 to $10,000 higher in Fargo than in

Grand Forks. However, the rent in Grand Forks is $50 to $70 more per month than in Fargo. If Grand Forks income is lower, but the rent is higher than in Fargo, there will be more people struggling to pay rent in Grand Forks.

· There is an extreme housing shortage in western ND. Minot rental costs are also escalating. That problem is driving less fortunate families east to find more affordable housing.

· The GFHA is a vital organization in the community. They keep 2,000 people from being homeless. City, county, or state government does not put any money into housing assistance; it is funded at the federal level.

B. Member Update:

· Cory M. – There is a news event for the Third Street Clinic (TSC). They welcomed their ninth pharmacy in Grand Forks to work with the TSC. Altru Retail Pharmacy has now partnered with TSC to accept their vouchers. TSC provides limited prescription assistance, with 200 generic medications pre-approved. Participating pharmacies provide the medications for a three dollar co-pay to TSC patients. The pharmacies are not making a profit from providing the medications, and TSC pays for the prescription at cost, which makes this an amazing program. Now every pharmacy in Grand Forks, except for CVS due to their corporate issues, are participating.

· The TSC is having their annual ‘Miracle on Third Street’ on Tuesday, October 25, 2011 (see attached flyer). It is a celebration with partners, providers, supporters, and staff to honor Dr. Larry Halvorson with the Hockenberry Award.

· Lynn F. – ‘Dining with Diabetes’ is a series of four classes, starting on November 8, 2011. If you have diabetes, have a family member with diabetes, or just wish to learn more about this issue, see attached pamphlet.

IV. Other: None

V. Adjournment – The meeting was adjourned at 1:20 p.m.

VI. Next Meeting: Thursday, January 19, 2012 at 12:00 noon
Altru Hospital (Lower level, Multi-media room) Conference Room
(Lunch will be provided by Altru Health System).

1. Community Health Center: Key Features
2. Project Coordinator Job Posting, dated October 14, 2011
3. Third Street Clinic’s ‘Miracle on Third Street’ Flyer
4. ‘Dining With Diabetes North Dakota Style!’ Pamplet