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Chatham seeks members for new housing advisory board

Posted Tuesday, July 7, 2009

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Pittsboro, NC - As of June 2009, the Board of Commissioners is in the process of converting the housing issues task force to a full advisory board status with a new title. The county is soliciting new volunteer board members.

The Board of Commissioners also is considering the possibility of merging the responsibilities of the Housing Coalition with this new advisory board. The duties of the coalition include addressing rental housing for people with disabilities, continuum of care for the homeless, and housing code enforcement and family safety and health issues.

BACKGROUND: The Board of Commissioners of Chatham County has authorized the creation of a new advisory board to address affordable housing and related issues. The county had an Affordable Housing Task Force for several years, which is transitioning to a full advisory board with a new title. The Board of Commissioners decided that a full advisory board is needed based on the results of a countywide Housing Needs Assessment conducted and reported in April, 2008. The Board of Commissioners also is considering merging the roles of the Housing Coalition of Chatham with this advisory board (see duties below).

COMPOSITION: The new advisory board will have 13 voting members. Five (5) members shall be selected geographically from each of the five commissioners’ jurisdictional districts and another eight (8) will be at-large members with backgrounds and expertise relating to the mission of the board.

ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES: Members of the new advisory board will investigate, analyze, and prioritize housing needs in Chatham County. The board will serve as the official advisory body to the Board of Commissioners on affordable housing and related housing issues, with the overriding responsibility of formalizing specific recommendations. Other roles include:
• Publicize Chatham County’s housing objectives
• Implement strategies relating to affordable housing and related housing needs
• Monitor progress of local housing programs
• Explore new funding opportunities
• Increase community awareness, understanding, commitment to and involvement in a comprehensive program of initiatives to increase the amount of affordable housing
• Investigate residential segregation patterns in Chatham County
• Recommend changes in public policy to improve opportunities for those who cannot afford housing in Chatham County, and
• Explore alternative housing development strategies and initiatives
• NOTE: If the Housing Coalition’s roles are merged with this board, responsibilities would include: rental housing for people with disabilities, continuum of care for the homeless, and housing code enforcement and family safety and health issues.

Members will carry out any other practice that will encourage the development of sustainable, affordable and alternative housing in Chatham County, including homeownership, rental housing, rehabilitation, etc.

EXPECTATIONS OF ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS
Studies show that Chatham County will continue to grow at an above-average rate for the state over the next 25 years. Therefore, it is expected that members of the new advisory board will assume a leadership position within Chatham County in an effort to help meet the demand for sustainable and affordable housing opportunities for homeownership, rental and rehabilitation within this time period. Members of the board will be expected to maintain an overall understanding of those Chatham County growth factors that will help to shape such growth in a manner desired. Specifically, you will be expected to:
• Participate in an orientation session for new board members;
• Regularly attend a monthly board meeting;
• Participate on at least one advisory board committee or working group;
• Comply with the Conflict of Interest guidelines (current in draft form, but must be approved by the Board of Commissioners); and
• Adhere to the General Operating Principles set forth below.

OPERATING PRINCIPLES: ADVISORY BOARD
• Accountability: The advisory board will be accountable first to the county commissioners and, indirectly but ultimately, to the citizens of the county who elected the commissioners.
• Mutual Trust: The commissioners need to feel that the advisory board is operating for the common good of the entire county and providing them with factual analysis and honest recommendations based on the county’s stated vision for housing and related development.
• Effective: The advisory board members, working within Chatham County’s organizational framework, must maintain an efficient process that is effective in implementing a balanced, comprehensive housing and related development plan.
• Transparency and Community Input: Everything that the advisory board does will be done openly, with the exception of required confidentiality needed to properly and fairly conduct the general business of the board. (All applicable laws and regulations shall be carefully adhered to pertaining to public meetings and informational transparency).
• Avoid Conflicts of Interest: Follow the advisory board’s Conflict of Interest Policy that is adopted by the Board of Commissioners (policy is in draft form at this time.)

 
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Chatham seeks members for new housing advisory board
 
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