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Human Relations Commission - January 21, 2021 Minutes

The Regular Meeting of the Board of Human Relations Commissioners of the City of Fargo, North Dakota, was held virtually in the Commission Chambers at City Hall at 12:00 p.m., Thursday, January 21, 2021.

The Human Relations Commissioners present or absent were as follows:

Present: Abdiwali Sharif-Abdinasir, Cheryl Schaefle, Matuor Alier, Laetitia Hellerud, Barry Nelson, Hamida Dakane, Cody Severson, Ahmed Shiil, Carolyn Becraft

Item 1. Welcome and Introductions
Chair Alier welcomed Members to the meeting and introductions were made.

Item 2. Approve Order of Agenda
Member Nelson moved the Order of Agenda be approved as presented. Second by Member Dakane. All Members present voted aye and the motion was declared carried.

Item 3. Approve Order of Minutes
Member Dakane moved the minutes of the December 17, 2020 Human Relations Commission meeting be approved as presented. Second by Member Shiil. All Members present voted aye and the motion was declared carried.

Members Becraft and Sharif-Abdinasir present.

Item 4. Public Comment – Citizens to be Heard
No public comment was presented.

Members Hellerud and Schaefle present.

Item 5. Announcement of the 2021 MLK Human Relations Awards Winners
Chair Alier stated the award presentation will take place January 25 at the City Commission meeting, and announced the 2021 MLK Human Relations Awards winners as Clara Derby, Nola Storm, and the Women’s Initiative Network-Liberia (WIN-Liberia).

Items 6 and 7 were presented together.

Item 6. Presentation: Local Rental Assistance Program Outcomes – SouthEastern North Dakota Community Action Agency (SENDCAA) and Presentation Partners in Housing

Item 7. Presentation: Homeless Prevention & Diversion – Presentation Partners in Housing
Sarah Hasbargen, SENDCAA, provided an overview of the housing assistance program and its process, number of families assisted, funding amounts allocated, and staff time involved to make the program a success. She stated the low barriers in place allowed them to assist as many households as possible.

Sarah Kennedy, Presentation Partners in Housing, gave a brief presentation on the principles of homelessness and preventing homelessness. She stated the importance of working to prevent homelessness before it gets to the managing homelessness stage.

Discussion was held on the counties covered by SENDCAA, the turnaround time for the housing assistance program, the overall takeaways and reactions from the housing assistance program, and how auxiliary costs are covered when people move into new housing.

Item 8. HRC Work Group Reports
No new work group updates were shared.

Item 9. Police Liaison Update
Lt. George Vinson, Fargo Police Department Liaison to the Human Relations Commission, provided an overview of the Mission, Vision, and Values statements being created to guide the Police Department. He noted Police Chief Zibolski will be sharing the final product with the community soon.

Discussion was held regarding if Fargo would offer a Citizens Police Academy again in the future, work being done to identify bias crimes, hate crime reporting, neighborhood engagement, and educational opportunities for the Police Department.

Item 10. 2021 Budget
Planning Coordinator Tia Braseth provided a brief summary on the update to the budget process stating the importance of aligning with the City of Fargo purchasing policy. She noted more information will be distributed to Board Members.

Item 11. Planning Staff Update
Assistant Planner Karin Flom highlighted items 2 and 3 included in the staff report in the packet. She also noted that the North Dakota Legislative session has begun and if Members have bills of interest, there is a process to go through to submit responses, and should contact staff as soon as they can.

Item 12. Announcements
Member Nelson inquired if an update was available on the DEI (Director of Equity and Inclusion) position.

Planning and Development Director Nicole Crutchfield noted the position will be closing soon and updates will be provided to the Board on the process.

Member Nelson acknowledged the closing of Lutheran Social Services and noted it will have an impact on many in the community.

Member Nelson noted that North Dakota House Bill 1298 regarding the trans athletes is scheduled to be heard on Monday, January 25.

Item 13. Adjourn
The time at adjournment was 1:00 p.m.