BRECA Steering Committee Meeting Minutes – June 23, 2020


DATE: June 23, 2020
PLACE:  Internet, via Zoom
MEETING TYPE:  BRECA Steering Committee Meeting

James Adams
Lori Christensen
Ken Crawford
Bonnie Domeny
Rene Hamlin
Gay Jones
Lee Leavelle
Jim Morgan
Andrea White



1. Call to Order by Chair Bonnie Domeny

2. Welcome and Introductions

3. Presentation from Sacramento Self Help Housing – Blossom Village

Judy Maraga with Sacramento Self Help Housing (SSHH) gave a brief presentation on Blossom Village.  She stated that the new owner of the Casa Linda Motel property is rehabilitating the property.  The new name will be Blossom Village.  There will be 19 units, including one “house leader.”  The intent is to house people who are currently homeless or about to become homeless.  This is a first step in getting back into society.  The leases will be month to month for up to one year.  There will be up to 18 clients, with likely no more than two people per unit, mostly one.  There will be a new kitchenette, heating and air conditioning, etc.  SSHH will take over July 1. 

Several people had questions about Blossom Village and SSHH.  A member of the audience asked how long people could stay for and what training they would receive?  Ms. Maraga responded that there will be no training as part of Blossom Village.  SSHH will pay the rent.  Some people will have vehicles.  This is not to be a program, it is just housing.  SSHH has a one year lease with the owner.

Gay Jones asked about interagency co-ordination, for example to secure employment?  Ms. Maraga responded that the individuals will be hand picked, and some, but not all, will likely have case managers.

Gay Jones asked who the person to contact in the event of concerns would be?  Ms. Maraga responded that it would be herself.

Rene Hamlin asked how a non-profit organization would work with SSHH?  Ms. Maraga responded that the non-profit would work independently with the client.  Blossom Village is to be independent living, not a facility.

Lee Leavelle asked where they would get the clients?  Ms. Maraga responded that SSHH would get a list from the County, which could contain referrals from various agencies, such as the “HOT team.”

A member of the audience asked what if there are problems with drugs or alcohol?  Ms. Maraga responded that it depends on the situation.  The leases are month to month, so if they need to exit somebody, that can be done, like any other housing complex.  Their goal is to get people off the street and allow them to become productive citizens.

Shauna Franklin, with the Sacramento District Attorney’s office, asked if SSHH has clients sign rules or code of conduct?  Ms. Maraga responded that the clients will sign a contract, like lease rules.

Shauna Franklin asked if the “house leader” is to be an employee of SSHH, and whether that would be a person to contact if there are concerns?  Ms. Maraga responded yes to both.

Shauna Franklin stated that the property is not zoned for long term housing, and asked if the County had changed that?  Ms. Maraga stated that the owner has assured them it is okay for a long term lease.  Ms. Franklin stated that a major reason the previous owner lost his business license was because he had people staying for longer than one month. 

Gay Jones asked the name of the new owner?  Ms. Maraga responded that the new owner’s name is Akash Lal.

Bonnie Domeny asked how this had worked out in other neighborhoods?  Ms. Maraga responded that one client in transitional housing had “challenges.”  That person is now married, and they have jobs.

Rebecca Sloan, with Supervisor Don Nottoli’s office, commented that they have not had the opportunity to bring this project to the neighborhood.  Casa Linda had many code violations over a three-year period.  The previous owner let homeless people stay when he did not have tenants.  She expressed surprise to be hearing about this project at the BRECA meeting.

Gay Jones commented that a lot of the previous issues involved fire codes.  She asked what is meant by “kitchenette?”  Ms. Maraga stated it means a range and refrigerator.  Gay stated that there could be electrical code issues.

Shauna Frankin asked whether there will be no tenants until there is code approval?  Ms. Maraga responded yes.

Gay Jones asked how many clients SSHH has in Sacramento?  Ms. Maraga stated they have 287 clients in housing, but they have other departments, and she could not give the numbers for the other departments.

4. Crime Statistics on Casa Linda

Shauna Franklin, with the District Attorney’s office, stated that generally crime in the BRECA area had decreased by about 15% since Casa Linda closed.  She said that was hopefully attributable to closing Casa Linda.  She also hoped that the crime would not return.  The new owner of the Casa Linda property, Mr. Lal, is a real estate developer, not a property manager.  He does the rehabilitation of the property, and then brings in someone else to manage the property.

Gay Jones commented that the crime statistics document that was provided to BRECA indicated that there were 39 calls for service in the last year that Casa Linda was open, as opposed to 5 in the year after it closed.  Ms. Franklin stated that when she first started working on the Casa Linda situation, there were a lot of calls for service, but they went down because the owner told the clients not to call the police.  Regarding the Blossom Village project, there does not appear to be a screening process.  The District Attorney’s office will not allow it to become a dumping ground.

Bonnie Domeny commented that she was hoping this would be a program for homeless people in the neighborhood, but apparently not.  A member of the audience expressed concern about the house manager.  Ms Franklin commented that if there are problems, one would probably go to Ms. Maraga.

Rebecca Sloan commented that Supervisor Nottoli’s office has been in contact with County Code Enforcement about the site.  She was surprised that SSHH would be able to move in by July 1.  Gay Jones commented that the new owner may have told SSHH things that are not true.  Ms. Sloan commented that Supervisor Nottoli is very concerned that we have a quality situation, but they have not heard about this specific program.  She also commented that SSHH is a major contractor with the County.

Jim Morgan asked, regarding the crime statistics for the area that were distributed to BRECA, what the terms “calls for service” and “reports taken” mean?  Ms. Franklin responded that when an officer arrives at a location, such as due to an alarm, a citizen call, or an officer’s observation, and logs it into the computer, that is a “call for service.”  If it is determined that a crime occurred, that is a “report taken.”

5.  Questions or Comments from the Community on Non-agenda items

Bonnie Domeny commented that there had been two catalytic converter thefts on Elmira Circle.

A member of the audience commented that trash and stuff was blocking the access road to the levee from the back of her house.  Jim Morgan commented that it would be the responsibility of the American River Flood Control District to maintain the access road.

6. Minutes of May 26, 2020

An amendment to the draft minutes of May 26, 2020 was proposed and accepted.  Gay Jones made a motion to accept the amended minutes.  James Adams seconded the motion.  The motion was approved unanimously.

7. Reports

a. Treasurer
Andrea White (Treasurer) reported that the balance in the BRECA checking account is now $4,977.80.
There was discussion about creating a new expense line to pay for the Zoom meetings, which now seem likely to continue for some time.  For this fiscal year, there would be 7 months, so at $15 per month that would be $105.  Gay Jones made a motion to approve a new expense line of $105.  James Adams seconded the motion.  The motion was approved unanimously.
There was discussion about how to present overages on the Treasurer’s report.  It was agreed that the budgeted expense would remain the same as originally approved, but that the overages would be approved by the Steering Committee.

Bonnie Domeny stated that there had not been a CORPAC (Cordova Community Planning and Advisory Council) meeting this month.

c. Membership
Jim Morgan reported that there was no change in membership numbers. 

d. American River Parkway Foundation Focus Group
Bonnie Domeny reported that the American River Parkway Foundation had hired a company to conduct a Focus Group concerning people’s desires for the Parkway.  The focus group was conducted by video.  Bonnie participated, and stated that her recommendation was to have a clean and safe Parkway. It seemed like the ARPF wants to spend some money posting signs along the bike trail.  The meeting did not seem very useful.  Gay Jones stated that she also participated, and concurred with Bonnie’s assessment.  It did not seem like the moderator knew much about the Parkway.  Gay commented that the American River Parkway Coalition had been discussing signage in the Parkway for some time now.

8. Old Business

a. Cal Am
James Adams reported that the question is when do we comment on the issues in the California American Water (Cal Am) rate case.  It is not useful to participate in the hearings.  BRECA is working with the Public Advocates Office.  Gay Jones commented that it is the same old story: Ratepayers pay for investments and cover financial risks.

b. From the Floor
There was no Old Business from the floor.

9. New Business 

a. Reporting Issues to the County
Bonnie Domeny commented that if people see issues, e.g. homeless people camping near Folsom Blvd., then they need to contact the County.  Gay Jones commented that she has been calling the County about a large yellow locker on the south side of Folsom Blvd. between Bradshaw and Butterfield for about a year with no response.  Lori Christensen enquired whether Gay had sent a picture?  Gay stated she has a picture, but has not sent it.  She will do so.

b. Steering Committee Officer Selection
Gay Jones made a motion to reelect the existing officers as a slate.  Lee Leavell seconded the motion.  Rene Hamlin enquired whether Ken Crawford would like to be treasurer.  Ken declined.  Gay’s motion was approved unanimously.

c. From the Floor
James Adams enquired of Rebecca Sloan, with Supervisor Nottoli’s office, how long the library would be closed?  According to James, she stated that it would be part of the Governor’s Phase Four reopening.  She does not know when that will happen.

A member of the audience commented that the signs and caution tape had been removed from the playgrounds at Riviera East Park and other parks, even though they are officially closed.

d. In Memoriam of Lynda Hammitt
A moment of silence was observed to reflect upon the passing of Lynda Hammitt.  Bonnie Domeny commented that as Chair she would miss Lynda.

10. Meeting adjourned.

The next meeting will be a Steering Committee Meeting on Tuesday, July 28, 2020, via Internet.

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