Directors present: Chris Heintz, Dave Pearson, Rebecca Woodard, Christina Gilman, Rob Geiszler, Eric Solsaa, Julia Quimby-Cohen
Others present: Paul Brown. Tia Poalino and Sara Gilbert from NeighborWorks
Chairman Heintz called the meeting to order at 7:02 PM and welcomed Tia Poalino and Sara Gilbert from NeighborWorks (NW), as guest speakers. Tia explained NW has an existing relationship with the Bennington and Addison Affiliates so they are familiar with the needs of Habitat and foresee opportunities to partner with us toward our mutual goals. In the pre-purchase phase, NW can counsel, resolve credit issues, create savings goals to get a family ready for home ownership. Their funding is from HUD grants for many of their activities, however, they do charge $60 for the homebuyer workshop to cover the cost of materials and refreshments. She warned that finding families to meet the guidelines may become a challenge for us and she may have candidates to suggest from time to time. She offered to be a resource and conduit to other housing groups in the area: The Housing Authority, Housing Trust of Rutland County, Rutland County Housing Coalition and the Dream Center to name a few. NW conducted a survey in the northwest neighborhood last August and they currently have grant funds to perform asset mapping in the same area to be completed by May. She can share that information with us. She suggested we link our website to their site and she thought we could benefit from a Facebook page. Sara Gilbert distributed brochures and gave an overview of the services that NW offers. The Board members thanked Tia and Sara for their willingness to share with us.
Christina moved to accept the Minutes of January 7, 2014, Julia seconded. Approved.
Christina reported there has not been any change to our finances and Rob is still working with HFHI to have the initial $3,000 returned to us.
Chris indicated the Affiliate status still requires another task to be completed by the Board: the FY2014 Affiliate Quality Assurance Checklist. The document was reviewed after which Julia moved to Approve the U.S. Affiliated Organization Covenant. Dave Pearson seconded. All voted in favor. The members agreed to complete the individual sections online as follows: 1 - Chris, Rebecca; 2 – Dave; 3 – Rob; 4 – Chris; 5 – Christina; 6 – Julia; 7 – Julia; 8 – Rob; 9 – Julia.
Chris proposed a Board Retreat for March 8 to include at least one non-Board member of each committee to set direction. He suggested from 9 to 3 with a potluck lunch. College of St Joe was discussed as a possible location.
The Resource Development committee reported they have had further discussions on a kick-off gala and fundraising events. Christina showed a sample letterhead to the Board with “of Rutland County, Inc” added to the HFH logo. They need letterhead to send letters to Town Mangers, general appeal letters, etc. Chris suggested adding “Vermont” before “Inc.” to complete our name.
Dave Pearson, Site Selection Committee reported he has had further discussions with a land donor who is still working on paperwork. Investigation into the parcel is ongoing.
Chris indicated the Family Selection/Support Committee will need to be addressed at the Retreat.
The Faith Relations Committee has developed a database of churches and a draft letter is complete.
Rob’s Constuction Committee has met twice and has developed more structure to the committee. They have also developed a list of tools needed however, they may not need to purchase all of them as many volunteers will have tools. He questioned whether they should start seeking donations specific for tools or if a budget needs to be developed first. The committee has a construction completion plan together so they are ready to develop a timeline as soon as a project is decided upon. Options have been explored for storage of tools and materials. Committee members who are members of the HomeBuilder’s Association will publicize HFH at the next meeting.
In other business, Dave Pearson received a letter from Brennan Duffy, Rutland Redevelopment Authority (RRA) outlining a grant that the city will be applying for through the Vermont Community Development Program. He is soliciting for matching or in-kind labor to support the grant request. We are interested in cooperating with RRA but at this point, we don't have a good feel for how much support we can provide. In addition, we have questions about how to handle his desire to roll back funding into a revolving RRA housing fund vs. rolling back mortgage payments into the HFH revolving fund for housing. Dave will continue discussions with Brennan.
The Pine Street house may still be an option for a Habitat rehab; it has finally become vacant.
Chris added Budget to the tentative Retreat agenda.
Julia has found a lot of reference material on the HFHI website that we should be able to utilize.
There is a statewide Affliiate meeting in Springfield on April 26.
Christina moved to adjourn. Julia seconded. All agreed.
Submitted by: Rebecca Woodard, Secretary
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