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December 12, 2023 Board Meeting Minutes

8:00 AM
Tranquil Terrace
845 Swoope Ave.
Winter Park, FL 32789

Commissioners Present: Board Chair; Hal George, Vice-Chair; Kenneth Goodwin, Commissioner Kevin O'Rawe, Commissioner Tammie Holiday, Commissioner Bob Klettner, and Commissioner Karen Jacobs.
Commissioners Absent: n/a
Commissioners Virtual: Commissioner Dawn Ofodile
WPHA Staff Present: LaShanda Lovette, Executive Director, Amaris Hunt, Executive Assistant, Tarena Grant, Resource Coordinator and Sherry Sutphen, Attorney.
NDC Staff Present: James Allen and Rick Elwood
NDC Staff Absent: Cindy Wilson

  1. Call to Order
    Chair George called the meeting to order at 8:03 am. and announced a quorum.
  2. Public Comment
    Commissioner Holiday, a resident of The Meadows at Margaret Square, explained that she'd requested a reasonable accommodation for her spouse that was medically necessary. The request was initially made in April of 2023 due to inability to safely get into the bathtub. The request was finally accepted in November of 2023. She was initially told it would take 3-5 days for the repair to be completed. Sadly the repair took 17 days. She was offered a hotel accommodation, however she declined and opted to stay with a family member so that her spouse would be comfortable. In speaking with the office staff, she was advised that her rent would not be prorated for the amount of time that she was out of the unit, because her request was not something that the resident required and was not an emergency. She was highly upset by this and requested NDC to explain why they would not grant the request for prorated rent, even though she'd presented paperwork from a doctor and completed a reasonable accommodation request. She explained that she'd asked for a copy of the reason for denial and the property manager refused to provide it. She expressed concern for other residents at all properties, because she felt as though the situation was being mishandled. She went on to explain, it is not a matter of whether she can afford the rent amount of her unit, but that what was discussed is not being honored. Attorney Sutphen chimed in explaining that since this matter is outside of normal operational things and generally the attorney should be privy to these matters. She went on to explain that she wasn't aware the Housing Authority provides hotel stays or rent subsidies, but if Mrs. Holiday has anything in writing that alludes to this, she is entitled to it. She also requested that we take a look at the policy regarding reasonable accommodations, so that matters such as these can be properly addressed. Chair George expressed those legalities aside, he is concerned about how Mrs. Holiday was treated. He asked who the person of contact was. Mrs. Holiday confirmed it was the previous Property Manager, then Mrs. Wanda, who was recently promoted to the position. The request was then escalated to Cindy Wilson with NDC, but communications started back in April when the initial request was placed. There was brief discussion on how reasonable accommodations have been handled in the past by the Project Manager, Felix Alicea. Mrs. Grant, ROSS Coordinator, expressed that we have many seniors as ROSS participants. As they age, there is accommodation that are needed for those individuals to safely reside in their homes. Many are currently struggling within their living conditions and are staying because they can't afford to go anywhere else. Ms. Sutphen asked if reasonable accommodations are included in the budget. ED Lovette confirmed that there are funds within the Capital Fund Grant for those types of requests. Chair George asked Mrs. Holiday if she was now safely back in her unit and what the final resolution was. Mrs. Holiday confirmed she and her spouse have returned to their home, but there has not been a resolution thus far. Chair George stated that we need to identify the policy, have Attorney Sutphen look into the legalities and do a needs assessment for resident needs when it comes to modifications and reasonable accommodations, so that we can better plan for the future.
  3. Consent Items
    1. Approval of November Minutes
      Commissioner Klettner moved to approve the November 2023 Board meeting minutes. Commissioner O'Rawe provided a second. The motion was accepted without further discussion.
  4. Actions Items
    There were no actionable items to approve.
  5. Executive Director - Discussion and/or Direction
    1. Co-Developer Evaluation Committee Recommendation
      - ED Lovette explained that 5 companies were evaluated, which were TedC, Winter Park Community Partners, Smith and Henzy Affordable Group, AMA Consulting and Invictus Development. Of these, the two who scored the highest are TedC and Invictus Development. The evaluation team consisted of ED LaShanda Lovette, Project Manager, Felix Alicea, Melissa Martinez, Jeff Briggs, City Liaison, and Commissioner O'Rawe. Commissioner O'Rawe gave a brief review of the developers that were reviewed. ED Lovette explained that the proposals have been uploaded to the Board portal for review, along with the evaluations of each committee member. Chair George suggested that the board review the proposals and have the City Liaison, Jeffery Briggs come out to do a presentation in either January or February. ED Lovette confirmed she would reach out to Mr. Briggs to get this set up, so that the board would be able to make an informed decision when it's time to come to a vote.
    2. Forensic Investigation Report
      - ED Lovette explained that everyone was provided a copy of the reports provided by North South law Group. The first report reflects their results prior to the scope being expanded by Patti and Rachel. The second report reflects their final determination. There was no further discussion.
    3. Tuscany Balcony Project Update
      - Mr. Alicea explained that the balcony project is finally complete. The inspection is scheduled for Thursday. There was no further discussion.
    4. Financials
      - ED Lovette explained financials have been delayed because of the transition between Real page accounts. NDC has had access to their financial suite with all data pulled over from WPHA for about 12 days. Property Managers are currently entering all manual transactions from November. Chair George asked what the banking situation currently is. ED Lovette confirmed that Jennifer with the bank has requested more signed docs. She is looking forward to migration happening soon. We still need to establish access, provide scanners, approvers for positive pay, etc. Commissioner O'Rawe asked if bills are being paid currently by NDC. ED Lovette confirmed December payables are still pending and went on to share how extensive the project has been. There was no further discussion.
  6. ROSS Report
    - Mrs. Grant explained that Twelve staff members of Advent Health came out to volunteer onsite at The Plymouth. Beyond them volunteering their time, they supported us by building 3 wooden planter boxes, planted flowers, provided seeds, and paved out a sidewalk for residents to gather by the water fountain and read books under the tree. She gave special thanks to our many partners that contributed to our residents during the Thanksgiving Holiday: St. Margaret Mary, Basket Bridge, Barbara Chandler, Dawkins Family Foundation and Winter Park Police Department supporting roughly 380 households. Lastly, Mrs. Grant provided a huge congratulations to Ms. Jones & her son on getting housed at Winter Park Oaks. She came as a referral through our community partnership with Family Promise. Not only was she housed, but we supported her with a referral to Mustard Seed for the Furniture Assistance Program. She was one of two WPHA residents to benefit from the recently awarded grant!
  7. NDC Report
    1. Property Overview
      - We segued into the property overview with a question from Commissioner O'Rawe, asking how we have 33 vacant units at Tuscany if we have a waiting list. He went on to ask if the process has changed. Mr. Allen with NDC spoke on the fact that each properties has it's own challenges. Speaking directly to Tuscany, 13 units need remediation, others need to be turned with different levels of work that needs to be done. Commissioner O'Rawe asked that it be broken out as to which units are offline, versus vacant and can be turned to be leased. Mr. Allen explained that the notes on each property give a description of what is going on at each property, where as the table is simply a snapshot of the numbers. Commissioner O'Rawe asked why we are no longer at 99% occupancy. Mr. Allen explained that demographics, unit sizes available, affordability and whether a applicant can qualify, all play a part on if we can fill the units. Chair George asked if the board can do anything to assist. Mr. James, NDC, explained that with the transition of software's, they are behind the ball right now, but they are working diligently to get up and running. Chair George expressed that he wants to see NDC succeed and to let the board know if there is anything they can do to assist them in their success. Mr. James gave an update about the Winter Park Oaks resident that vandalized the property. His eviction has been processed and he is no longer a resident at the property. There was no further discussion.
  8. Commissioner's Report
    1. Commissioner Jacobs
      - Commissioner Jacobs asked everyone if they received the anonymous email that was sent to everyone the previous night. Ms. Sutphen said she would look into it. ED Lovette shared she had not had a chance to completely read through it. NDC confirmed that they'd read it this morning. Commissioner Jacobs said that this is a reoccurring theme within our organization and it is disturbing to her. She feels as though something must be down by the board. As there were things pointed at ED Lovette, NDC and even Chair George. She asked that everyone review the email and discuss it during the Executive Directors review with NDC present and the director removed from the room. Attorney Sutphen stated that the director cannot be removed from the room. Chair George stated he is sad and angry that these things are be alleged. He would like Attorney Sutphen and himself to do an informal investigation to get to the bottom of the allegations and see if there is any truth to anything that was presented. Commissioner Jacobs made a motion for Chair George and Attorney Sutphen to look into the allegations within the email as factual. Commissioner O'Rawe seconded the motion. Chair George confirmed he and Attorney Sutphen will complete this before the ED Performance review and provide a report to the board.
    2. Commissioner O'Rawe
      - Commissioner O'Rawe announced that he was resigning from the board as of the end of 2023 and this would be his last board meeting. He asked that ED Lovette still provide the board with the current loan information and what each property is worth. Everyone bid him fare well. Chair George asked if there was anything else that needed to be discussed. Attorney Sutphen confirmed that that per the recommendation at the last board meeting, she was able to settle the Tuscany at Aloma lawsuit with an offer of $12k.
  9. Adjournment
    With there being no further business to come before the board, Commissioner Jacobs motioned to adjourn, and Commissioner O'Rawe provided a second. Chair George called adjournment at 10 AM.

Respectfully Submitted,
Hal George, Board Chair LaShanda Lovette, Executive Director