Health and Human Services Committee

Regular Meeting Notes – Draft 11-28-17

Monday, November 20, 2017 4:30 PM

Legislature Chambers



Attendee Name



Anna Kelles



Leslyn McBean-Clairborne

Vice Chair


Will Burbank



Carol Chock



Katrina McCloy

Deputy Clerk, Legislature


Paula Younger

Interim County Administrator


Lisa Holmes

Director, Office for the Aging


Kit Kephart

Commissioner, Social Services


Dr. Kenneth Clarke

Special Advisor, Office of Human Rights


Amie Hendrix

Director of Youth Services


Kathleen Schlather

Executive Director, Human Services Coalition


Marcia Lynch

Public Info. Officer, County Administration



Guests:  Amanda Kirchgessner, Town of Ulysses resident, Members of the Public, and Media

Call to Order

              Ms. Kelles, Chair, called the meeting to order at 4:35 p.m.

Changes to Agenda

              There were no changes to the agenda.

Office for the Aging

Tompkins County Office for the Aging - Housing Presentation (ID #7385)

              Ms. Holmes provided a PowerPoint presentation entitled Housing Services of the Tompkins County Office for the Aging and distributed a copy of the Housing for Seniors in Tompkins County booklet.  Ms. Holmes stated the Housing for Seniors in Tompkins County information is also online and the online information is kept up to date. 


              Mr. Burbank inquired about which senior residences are designated non-profit versus profit.  Ms. Holmes stated the senior residences have not been designated as such.  


              Ms. Chock asked if there was a way to determine what percentage of individuals served are new clients.  Ms. Holmes said she does not have that information at this time.

RESULT:              COMPLETED

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Public Comment

              Amanda Kirchgessner, Town of Ulysses resident, stated she is opposed to requiring homeless people to pay a portion of the cost to stay in a homeless shelter.  She understands this is not local legislation but rather a State requirement.  She said at the October 4, 2017, Homeless Housing Task Force meeting she learned that one-third of the people sheltered at the Rescue Mission are gainfully employed and are only sheltered there because they cannot afford housing in the Ithaca area.  She is concerned about people in the community who are homeless due to various reasons and the imposition of this fee will only be an additional burden for them to bear. 

Minutes Approval

October 16, 2017


MOVER:              Will Burbank, Member

SECONDER:              Leslyn McBean-Clairborne, Vice Chair

AYES:              Kelles, McBean-Clairborne, Burbank, Chock

Chair's Report

              Ms. Kelles had no report.

Comments from Committee Members/Liaison Assignments

              Following a request made by Mrs. McBean-Clairborne, Ms. Kelles provided an update concerning three recent meetings related to the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program.  She stated there were representatives from the Seattle and Albany LEAD programs who spoke of the benefits of the program and are advocates for harm reduction as the base model for diverting individuals from jail.  LEAD is designed to deter individuals who have committed misdemeanor and non-violent felony level crimes from jail and recidivism.  There is a system currently in place to help some people redirect their lives, but there are many who fall through the cracks and hopefully this program will find and help those individuals; the LEAD program can complement the current system. 


              Ms. Kelles stated there were three core pieces to the successful programs in Albany and Seattle.  She explained one is that the governing body creating the infrastructure also created a memorandum of understanding that is a fundamental agreement between the governing and acting bodies that they all will participate equally and the roles that each take in the program will be collaborative.  She said second was that the programing bodies, the boots on the ground people, would work with people in the program by meeting them where they are and work to build trust and relationships with those individuals.  She spoke of how the programs in Seattle and Albany do not have Case Managers that are part of a government entity but rather an independent agency that practices harm reduction.  Ms. Kelles stated the third piece needed was a community leadership group that includes people who have experienced the system and assist in keeping everyone real. 


              Ms. Kelles explained that the representatives from Seattle and Albany have expressed their willingness to help other communities and shared some of the hurdles encountered in their own programs.  They are eager to have the LEAD program in a small city like Ithaca.  The Albany representatives invited Tompkins County to put together a group and attend one of their in the trenches meetings in Albany where they discuss cases to get an idea of how it works.  The Director from Albany also volunteered to come to Ithaca as many times as needed to assist in setting up the program and getting it going. 


              Ms. Chock inquired if the discussion included the cost of implementation of the program.  Ms. Kelles stated there are some options available regarding funding but the other programs started with one case worker and the programs grew from there.  Ms. Kelles said the City of Ithaca has put funding in their budget for one case worker for the program and the program will start in the City and work outward.  Ms. Kelles spoke of the State having put funding in the DSRIP (Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment) program and the County contracts with Care Compass who is the entity in this region that receives some of that funding; there may be a possibility of utilizing those funds through Care Compass.  She said the other two programs recognized significant reductions in Emergency Room visits, re-entry into jails, and recidivism, and the cost savings that could be established could be reinvested.


              Mr. Burbank reported that he is on the Board of Health and Mental Health Community Services Board as the Legislature representative and will no longer be doing this as of January 1, 2018.  He is hopeful someone will be interested in filling those seats.

Interim County Administrator's Report

              Ms. Kelles welcomed Interim County Administrator, Paula Younger.


              Ms. Younger thanked everyone for their assistance and patience during this transitional time.


              Ms. Younger introduced Dr. Kenneth Clarke, Sr., Special Advisor, Office of Human Rights.  Dr. Clarke stated he is honored and appreciative of the opportunity to serve the County over the next few months.  He has begun working with staff on the upcoming Human Rights Arts Competition being held December 8th at the Tompkins County Public Library.   

Office of Human Rights

November 2017 OHR Report (ID #7435)

RESULT:              COMPLETED

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Department of Social Services

Required client contributions to cost of temporary housing (ID #7433)

              Ms. Kephart provided a PowerPoint presentation entitled Temporary Housing Assistance - Required Shelter Payment regarding requiring homeless individuals with income and financial resources to pay a portion of their shelter costs. 


              Committee members expressed concerns about this and for the people who are struggling with housing and then having to pay when they need to stay in a shelter.  Ms. Kelles stated she was a member of the Public Health and Mental Health Standing Committee of the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) and would reach out to the Committee to address the problem.  Mrs. McBean-Clairborne suggested reaching out to State and Federal elected officials also.  Ms. Kelles stated she would work with Ms. Kephart to draft a resolution addressing this and bring it back to the Committee next month. 

RESULT:              COMPLETED

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Executive Session

              It was MOVED by Mr. Burbank, seconded by Ms. Chock, and unanimously adopted by voice vote, to hold an executive session to discuss an audit matter for Department of Social Services.  An executive session was held at 6:20 p.m. and returned to open session at 6:39 p.m.


              The meeting adjourned at 6:39 p.m.


Budget Adjustments & Transfers (Info. Only)

Information Item - Transfer 11.7.2017 (ID #7434)

RESULT:              COMPLETED

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Information Item - Transfer from 6776 to 6774 and 6777 (ID #7400)

RESULT:              COMPLETED

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