PUBLIC HEALTH & SAFETY SPECIAL MEETING MINUTES
January 18, 2017
City Council Chamber
Ground Floor, City Hall
117 W. Duval Street
Attendance: Council Members Sam Newby (Chair), Bill Gulliford (Vice Chair), Aaron Bowman, Anna Lopez Brosche, Katrina Brown, Tommy Hazouri, Joyce Morgan; Assistant General Counsel Paige Johnston; Assistant Council Auditor Kyle Billy; Jordan Elsbury, Administration; John J. Jackson, Council Research Division; Legislative Assistant Tess Patterson.
The Chair called the Special Meeting to order at 9:22 a.m. and announced that the topic of the special meeting was Senior Wellness. There would also be the Health Department’s update on health- related issues.
.Allison Hewett, on behalf of Dr. Kelli Wells, provided the Health Department Update. She reported on testing for the Zika Virus that was done last month. She provided highlights from a recent State of Florida summit conference on the Zika Virus.
Ms. Hewett briefed the panel on DOH-Duval County’s homelessness activities that included working with a local Homeless Coalition known as Changing Homelessness. She described the department’s implementation of a Shelter Card System created to prevent the transmission of tuberculosis amongst the homeless population in area shelters. Homeless clients seeking admittance to area shelters must have a current “shelter” card that indicates that they have been tested annually and assessed by the health department for symptoms of TB within the last two months.
The Committee engaged in a fairly lengthy discourse on mental health issues. The discussion touched on issues such as the opiate epidemic, the lack of treatment facilities, JSO as a necessary treatment facility and drug overdoses.
Diana Seydlorsky, Chief, Housing and Community Development Division, Neighborhoods Department, provided a PowerPoint presentation on Homelessness Issues.
Ms. Seydlorsky explained what the Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report (CAPER) entailed and how many of the CDGB-SHIP housing programs kept many families and individuals one step away from being homeless. She characterized many of the housing initiatives as programs that prevented homelessness
Council Member Anna Lopez Brosche asked Ms. Seydlorsky how her division solicited comments from the public on the effectiveness of housing initiatives. Ms. Seydlorsky explained that the division seeks community outreach through advertising. The Council Member also inquired how the division assessed whether the programs and initiatives were generating or giving the very best and highest value for Jacksonville. Ms. Seydlorsky explained that the department carefully monitors the programs.
Stephanie Burch, newly named Director of the Housing Department, reported that homelessness issues are going to be on her radar.
The panel discussed the need for day centers that provided numerous and varied programs for homeless clients. Too often, day centers are no more than daycare centers.
It was pointed out that the shelters only help the homeless by providing them with a place to sleep at night. The homeless are out in the streets during the daylight hours.
Serious funding has to be allocated to address homelessness issues.
Council Member Tommy Hazouri implored the committee to look into the issue of pedestrian fatalities in Jacksonville, referencing the recent lengthy, detailed article that was in the Florida Times-Union.
There being no further business, the Special Meeting was adjourned at 10:08 a.m.
John J. Jackson, Council Research Division (904) 630-1729
Posted: 12:00 p.m.