Charles Doud/The Madera Tribune
From left: MORES Board Members Lana Giddings, County Assessor Gary Svanda, David Hernandez, vice chair Bill Glover and Chief Executive Officer Herman Perez; Housing Authority commissioners, Madera Mayor Andrew J. Medellin, chairman Charles F. Rigby, vice chair William Oliver, commissioner Cece Foley Gallegos, commissioner Donald E. Holley, commissioner Jose Rodriguez, City Attorney Brent Richardson and Redevelopment Successor Agency executive director Jim Taubert. Not shown but present: MORES Board Member Marti Marx and executive director Linda Shaw.
Members of the Madera Housing Authority Commission and the board of Madera Opportunities for Resident Enrichment and Services, Inc., (MORES) met jointly at the Frank Bergon Senior Center in downtown Madera to discuss issues affecting both bodies.
Among those issues was how to provide housing for homeless people, how to take advantage of grants to refurbish the city’s low-cost housing units and how to build reserves to have cash on hand to take advantage of future opportunities for acquiring low-cost housing inventory.
Also discussed at the Sept. 13 meeting was how to sell a Chowchilla property on Storey Road that after acquisition several years ago proved to be unsuitable for construction of housing units.
“We didn’t do our due diligence,” said County Assessor Gary Svanda, a recent appointee to the MORES Board. “Let’s wholesale it and put the proceeds to work.”
Housing Authority Executive Director Linda Shaw, who was not employed by the authority when the Storey Road property was purchased, said the land was listed with London Properties but had not yet sold.
Commissioners also discussed meetings that had been held at some of the authority housing projects to air grievances about living conditions. Issues such as poor lighting, recreational equipment, fencing and safety were raised.
“There are tenant rights, but also tenant responsibilities,” said commissioner and Mayor Andrew J. Medellin, responding to a report that certain racial groups did not respect one another in the housing projects.
“There’s a particular problem at Knox,” said Shaw, “which is that they don’t respect each other. Unless we can change that and have them be a community, we will continue to have a problem.”
The group also discussed the Tiny House movement and how some cities are utilizing these small houses to provide low-cost housing and even housing for the homeless. Medellin mentioned a project in Texas that was operated as a development.
“The Tiny Houses are becoming very popular,” Shaw said. “They do fill a particular need.”