Board of Health

Boards, Commissions & Committees

Board of Health - December 15, 2023

Special Meeting: December 15, 2023

The special Meeting of the Board of Health of the City of Fargo, North Dakota, was held virtually at 12:00 p.m., on Friday December 15, 2023.

Present: Jayme Steig, PharmD; Avis Nagpal, MD; Lyn Telford, MSN, RN, CPHQ; Grant Syverson, MD; Kayla Nelson, DNP, APRN, FNP-C; Nyamal Dei; Bernie Dardis

Absent: Arlette Preston, Tony Grindberg

Others: Desi Fleming; Tracie Newman, MD, MPH, FAAP; Justin Bohrer; Chandler Esslinger; Jan Eliassen; Taylor Syvertson (UWCC); Sarah Hasbargen (SENDCAA); Terry Hogan

Announcements: None

Approval of Meeting minutes: From May 12, 2023; motion to approve by Jayme Steig, seconded by Avish Nagpal. All members voted aye, and the motion was declared carried.

Approval of Agenda: Motion to approve by Ms. Telford, move to approve by Kayla Nelson, seconded by Nyamal Dei. All members voted aye, and the motion was declared carried.

Winter Warming Crisis Response Strategy Discussion: Director Fleming opens by sharing appreciation to the board for the short notice meeting and provides situational awareness regarding the status of homelessness response thus far in the community and the potential needs. Chandler Esslinger from the Harm Reduction Division of Fargo Cass Public Health (FCPH) begins by introducing background and community context. This includes the status of area shelters in the Fargo-Moorhead and the populations being served. She displays the current shelter assessment which includes their bed capacity and the demographics in which they serve. The presentation from Ms. Esslinger also includes statistics from the recent Winter Warming Initiative, which began in the middle of November and is an additional resource for people to access “airport-style” seating during the night hours. For specific data and information, please refer to the presentation. Ms. Esslinger highlights key data points which include seeing new clients not known before and an increase in clients. She continues to point out that current data projections to increase and support will be insufficient to the need. Also included in this presentation are the additional factors for how people enter homelessness within the area, which includes the increased rate of evictions in Cass County. She describes eviction trends as the presentation continues, including data from Cass County from November 2021 to November of 2023. Please refer to the presentation for all the data presented. Sarah Hasbargen from SENDCAA (Southeastern North Dakota Community Action Agency) presents next. SENDCAA works to provide services to alleviate poverty and provides various programs. Ms. Hasbargen discussed how the current entry system is overwhelmed with the increase in people presenting with homelessness. She compared the system to an overflowing bathtub that has a plugged drain, and the water cannot exit the bath effectively, and the system gets backed up. She provided an overview of potential solutions for alleviating homelessness. Those solutions are described as development, reduced restrictions, available affordable and low barrier housing, and maintaining relationships and support. Taylor Syvertson from United Way of Cass Clay provided context on the community impact. Ms. Syvertson also discussed strategies and important collaborations throughout the community which includes structural solutions and innovative partnerships. Jan Eliassen from Fargo Cass Public Health discussed that other communities of similar sizes have created plans that can be copied to address the needs discussed today. She also noted that FCPH Harm Reduction is working to receive a presentation from another agency who has created these plans. Director Fleming stated that it may be beneficial for board members to be present during this event. Chair Telford opens it up to questions from the board and public comment following the presentation. No questions or public comments were received.

Public Comments: None
Adjourn at: 12:48 pm
Next Meeting: Tentative 03/08/2024