Eureka Times-Standard (

Humboldt County finalizes roster for homelessness solutions committee

By Will Houston, Eureka Times-Standard

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors finalized the roster of a 11-member committee that will be responsible for advising the county on how to tackle the significant issues of housing and homelessness.

The Homelessness Solutions Committee is made up of five members representing the five supervisorial districts, one homeless or recently homeless resident, one person with affordable housing development experience and one at-large member chosen by the board. The remaining members are appointed by the Planning and Building Department, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Humboldt Housing and Homeless Coalition.

The board formed the committee in late February after declaring a shelter crisis.

The committee is responsible for recommending how the board should use a newly created Housing Trust Fund; vetting recommendations on housing and homeless services; providing recommendations to the board on shelter crisis projects; and monitoring funding sources.

The board on Tuesday voted unanimously to appoint Eureka homeless resident Vernon Price to be the homeless community representative. Price has been a regular attendee at local government meetings to advocate for services for the homeless.

Supervisors questioned why Price turned down a home in Redding that was offered to him, especially considering the committee’s responsibility of promoting the Housing First model.

Price said he is on a waiting list for local housing, adding that if he is unable to find housing, he will advocate from the streets for policy changes to improve the quality of life for local homeless residents.

“Until you’ve walked a mile in a homeless person’s shoes, you can truly not understand from the heart where I’m coming from,” Price told the board.

The board also voted unanimously to appoint Arcata Vice-Mayor Brett Watson as the at-large member and Bayside resident Marc Delaney as the affordable housing developer representative.

The following appointments were also approved: • District 1 – Nezzie Wade
• District 2 – Fredrick Hoffman
• District 3 – Elizabeth Matsumoto

• District 4 – Andrew Rix
• District 5 – George Wheeler
• Humboldt Housing and Homeless Coalition – Lynn Martinez • Planning and Building Department – Paula Mushrush
• Department of Health and Human Services – Sally Hewitt

A new Aviation Director position was also formally created by the board. The board-appointed position will have a yearly salary of about $112,100 and will be responsible for overseeing the proposed Aviation Department. The director’s duties include working to attract more airline service to the county, ensuring the county airports comply with all laws, and negotiating tenant leases to name a few.

Last year, a 10-month review of the county’s financially ailing Aviation Division recommended removing the decision from the Public Works Department and creating a new Aviation Department headed by its own director.

Will Houston can be reached at 707-441-0504.


© 2018 Eureka Times-Standard (