El Dorado City Commission: Storandt Statement (3-19-2012)

Presentation about homeless populations and the need for transitional housing in El Dorado, Kansas.
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City of El Dorado, City Commission Meeting: March 19, 2012 Public Comments by Judith torandt! My name is Judith Storandt. My husband, Peter, and I live at 105 Race in El Dorado, S. I am an attorney but I am not admitted to !ractice la" in the state o# ansas, and do not $ive le$al advice to anyone about the la" in ansas. %o"ever, I am admitted to !ractice in the #ederal courts. &ut toni$ht I am '() addressin$ you as an attorney, but as a resident o# the *ity o# El Dorado. &e#ore movin$ to ansas, Peter and I have lived in a number o# di##erent cities across the country, includin$ +ashin$ton, D.*. (ver the years, I have become #amiliar "ith !overty and homeless issues at the national as "ell as local levels. ,ast month, I had the !leasure o# visitin$ the ne" #omeless $esource Center in do"nto"n %ichita! • )hey o##er an im!ressive array o# services to !revent homelessness - hel! those "ho have been dis!laced #rom their homes. • .nd it has an e/cellent record o# success in hel!in$ !eo!le to $et bac0 u! on their #eet. • +ichita clearly is doin$ its !art to ta0e care o# its o"n. I have also loo0ed at !ro$rams in other cities in ansas, includin$1 %utchinson, Inde!endence, ,a"rence, Manhattan, 'e"ton, )o!e0a, and else"here. • )hey also are doin$ their !art to hel! their o"n. Many &eo&le belie'e that it(s time for us to start ta)ing care of our o"n here in El Dorado * and + agree! ,ecause ta)ing care of our o"n can be: • cost effecti'e • good for businesses in our community, • increase &ro&erty 'alues, and • im&ro'e community safety! helter is a basic human need! 2irst, I "ant to address stereoty!es that many !eo!le have about "ho is homeless here in El Dorado. • +hen they hear the "ord 3homeless3 4 many !eo!le thin0 o# street !eo!le sometimes #ound in lar$e urban areas1  dri#ters "ho "al0 around "5 bac0 !ac0s, !erha!s dirty and un0em!t6  "ho slee! under brid$es, and as0 !eo!le #or money that they use to !urchase dru$s. • )hat7s the ty!ically stereoty!e o# chronically homeless !ersons 4 "ho are !rimarily #ound in lar$e, urban areas &ut that stereoty!e rarely a!!lies to &utler *ounty. %ho are the homeless and near homeless among us• • • .amilies: 'ationally, 80 9 o# those slee!in$ in shelters at ni$ht because they are homeless are #amilies. Children1 .t last count, about 1:0 students in &utler *ounty schools are homeless. ;.nd that number doesn7t include children "ho do not attend school. /eterans: <<9 o# the homeless in the =.S. are >eterans 4 many o# "hom are #emale veterans. 0hose dis&laced from homes in our area are &rimarily local residents li'ing one unluc)y ste& from ta)ing a fall! • Many o# us have lived or are no" livin$ ?ust one !aychec0 a"ay #rom losin$ their homes. • Everyone in this room is either in that situation, or 0no"s someone ;; a #amily member, a co"or0er, or a nei$hbor 4 "ho is one !aychec0 a"ay #rom !overty . %ho are the &eo&le one ste& a"ay from being dis&laced from their homes )he "or0in$ !oor 4 lo" income "a$e earners and #amilies livin$ in near !overty, $ettin$ more behind each "ee0.  )hose "ho have lost their ?obs due to do"nsi@in$, business closures, or health !roblems.  %ouseholds that have lost a bread "inner 4 due to death, divorce, a car accident or chronic illness that resulted in disability.  )eens and youn$ adults "ho have runa"ay or le#t their homes due to abuse or maltreatment.  >ictims o# domestic violence.  =nmarried !re$nant teens and youth.  Many older and a$in$ adults, and !ersons "ith disabilities . Many of the homeless in our area are 1in'isible2 to most of us! 0hey are the3 • Renters "ho are behind on rent !ayments and unable to catch u!. • )hose livin$ in a cars and other !laces not suitable #or a home. • Peo!le livin$ in tents and trailers at cam!$rounds. • )hey are the Acouch sur#ersB "ho slee! on the couches o# #riends. • 2amilies doubled u! "ith #riends or relatives 4 and "ho are about to overstay their "elcome. • Peo!le livin$ in shelters, sa#e houses, and other tem!orarily situations. )hese are amon$ the !eo!le "ho need assistance and su!!orts to access the social services system that can hel! them $et bac0 on their #eet. : Some !eo!le mista0enly believe that !rovidin$ su!!orts #or those in need "ould be bad #or El Dorado. #o"e'er, research has sho"n, ho"e'er, that &ro'iding transitional housing "ith su&&orti'e ser'ices: o o o o maintains and increases !ro!erty values increases !ublic sa#ety im!roves the local economy, and saves ta/!ayer dollars )here isn7t time #or me to discuss these thin$s in detail but there is valid research and data that su!!orts these results. %hat(s the &roblem "ith the El Dorado 4oning $egulations• • • +t uses an outdated and &robably unconstitutional definition of 5family5! &ut this !roblem can be eliminated by u!datin$ the de#inition o# #amily and ado!tin$ a !rocess to a!!ly #or a variance or an e/ce!tion. 2i/in$ this !roblem should be done in addition to a!!rovin$ the !endin$ transitional housin$ amendment to the Conin$ Re$ulations. + also recommend that you allo" transitional housing in the C62 4oning District! • I have ma!!ed out social services and resources available to individuals in need in El Dorado. Many o# those resources are in or near the *;: District. • .nd there are !lenty o# unoccu!ied buildin$s and houses in the *;: District that can be s!ruced u! and !ut to $ood use "hich "ould contribute to the revitali@ation o# the do"nto"n area. 2inally, allo"in$ transitional housin$ in El Dorado is consistent "ith El Dorado's 2030 Comprehensive Plan.  )he 3%(=SI'D3 ob?ectives !oint out the im!ortance o# Acommunity;"ide o!!ortunities #or $rou! housin$ and care o!tions that are inte$rated into nei$hborhoods.B I have distributed co!ies o# the !ertinent !rovisions #or you to revie" Ere!roduced belo"F.. +n closing: 7ansas is the: 10here8s no &lace li)e home2 state! 9et8s start &ro'iding transitional housing here in El Dorado to ma)e that true for e'eryone! < G CITY OF EL DORADO 2030 Comprehensive Plan .do!ted by El Dorado *ity *ommission, July :0, :00H htt&:::"""!eldo)s!com:Com&Plan!&df ;oal <: #ousing: Ensure that all El Dorado citi=ens ha'e access to affordable, >uality housing o&&ortunities! O !e"#ive $.%& Revi#ali'e e(is#in) residen#ial areas in need o* improvemen#s. Strate$y G.1.11 E/!and the 'ei$hborhood Revitali@ation Plan to include more eli$ible areas. Strate$y G.1.:1 E/!lore o!!ortunities to increase #undin$ #or revitali@ation throu$h %(ME, *D&D and other state and #ederal !ro$rams. Strate$y G.1.<1 Develo! ne" tools and !ro$rams to #acilitate the redevelo!ment o# de!ressed residential areas. O !e"#ive $.2& In"rease and improve #he s+ppl, o* -+ali#, residen#ial ren#al proper#ies. Strate$y G.:.11 Encoura$e rental !ro!erty o"ners to maintain e/istin$ !ro!erties throu$h !roactive code en#orcement activities. Strate$y G.:.:1 Study the #easibility o# creatin$ a housin$ authority to monitor, license and ins!ect residential rental !ro!erties. O !e"#ive $.3& In"rease #he s+ppl, o* +ilda le lo#s and ho+sin) s#o". #o improve ho+sin) oppor#+ni#ies a# all pri"e poin#s Strate$y G.<.11 *onduct !eriodic local builders7 #orums and5or assist in the #ormation o# a local builders association. Strate$y G.<.:1 Im!rove communications bet"een the *ity and develo!ers5home builders. Strate$y G.<.<1 Identi#y o!!ortunities to encoura$e the develo!ment o# s!ec homes. O !e"#ive $.$& /ee# #he spe"ial ho+sin) needs o* o+r "+rren# and *+#+re residen#s and improve ho+sin) "hoi"es *or spe"ial needs and +nderserved pop+la#ions. Strate$y G.G.11 E/!lore o!tions to e/!and a##ordable senior;occu!ied homes, a!artments, assisted livin$, and nursin$ home #acilities. Strate$y G.G.:1 +dentify barriers to &ro'iding additional housing choices, such as =oning issues, and recommend &olicies to o'ercome those barriers! Strate$y G.G.<1 *onduct a needs assessment study to determine community de#iciencies in e/istin$ and #uture housin$ and day #acilities. Strate$y G.G.G1 +dentify community6"ide o&&ortunities for grou& housing and care o&tions integrated into neighborhoods for those residents "ho are &hysically and mentally challenged, reco'ering from substance abuse and 'ictims of domestic 'iolence! 5