Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/20/2004 09:06 AM CRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              HOUSE COMMUNITY AND REGIONAL AFFAIRS                                                                            
                       STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                         April 20, 2004                                                                                         
                           9:06 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Carl Morgan, Chair                                                                                               
Representative Kelly Wolf, Vice Chair                                                                                           
Representative Pete Kott                                                                                                        
Representative Ralph Samuels                                                                                                    
Representative Sharon Cissna                                                                                                    
Representative Albert Kookesh                                                                                                   
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Tom Anderson                                                                                                     
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
^OVERVIEW OF DCED COMMUNITY SERVICE BLOCK GRANT                                                                                 
04-12, SIDE A                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  CARL  MORGAN  called  the  House  Community  and  Regional                                                             
Affairs  Standing  Committee  meeting   to  order  at  9:06  a.m.                                                               
Representatives  Morgan and  Kott  were present  at  the call  to                                                               
order.   Representatives Cissna, Samuels, and  Kookesh arrived as                                                               
the meeting was in progress.                                                                                                    
SUMMARY OF INFORMATION                                                                                                        
CHAIR MORGAN  announced that  the order of  business would  be to                                                               
have Jo Grove  provide opening comments and a  description of the                                                               
Community  Services  Block  Grants  and the  Community  Food  and                                                               
Nutrition   Grants  Programs.     David   Hardenbergh,  Executive                                                               
Director, RurAL CAP, Inc., will  then provide a brief overview of                                                               
the plan and be available to  answer questions.  A public comment                                                               
period will follow.                                                                                                             
JO GROVE, Grant Manager, Fairbanks  Office, Division of Community                                                               
Advocacy,  Department  of   Commerce  and  Economic  Development,                                                               
explained  that  funding comes  from  the  federal Department  of                                                               
Health  and Human  Services to  the Department  of Community  and                                                               
Economic  Development (DCED).   The  funds  can be  used to  fund                                                               
community action agencies.  In  Alaska, the only community action                                                               
agency  is RurAL  CAP.   The  exact amount  that  the state  will                                                               
receive this  year is unknown,  but is anticipated to  be between                                                               
$2.3 and $2.4  million.  The purpose of these  funds is to impact                                                               
the  causes and  conditions  of  poverty.   The  plan before  the                                                               
committee   identifies  RurAL   CAP's  actions   and  measurement                                                               
standards  and has  been approved  by  DCED.   Mr. Grove  further                                                               
explained  that  RurAL  CAP   deals  with  administration,  child                                                               
development,   community   development,  housing,   tribal,   and                                                               
DAVID HARDENBERGH,  Executive Director,  RurAL CAP  Inc., thanked                                                               
the committee for holding this  meeting and explained that he has                                                               
only been director  since March 2004.  The focus  of RurAL CAP is                                                               
to  reduce  poverty,  which  leads   to  self-sufficiency.    The                                                               
Division  of Community  Advocacy within  DCED receives  the money                                                               
from the  federal government.   Mr. Hardenbergh  complimented the                                                               
work of  Mr. Grove and Ms.  Jill Davis.  Mr.  Hardenbergh further                                                               
explained that RurAL  CAP is the only community  action agency in                                                               
the state; that it acts  statewide and is a certified non-profit.                                                               
RurAL CAP is governed by a  24-member board of directors who meet                                                               
quarterly  and  set  the agency's  policy,  which  the  executive                                                               
director  implements.     RurAL  CAP  is  able   to  leverage  an                                                               
additional $15  to $20 million  annually and employs  300 people.                                                               
He  highlighted  that  RurAL  CAP applies  the  majority  of  its                                                               
resources to rural  Alaska where there is  more poverty, although                                                               
it  provides   Head  Start  in  Ketchikan,   home  weatherization                                                               
programs  in Juneau,  affordable housing  programs in  Anchorage,                                                               
and AmeriCorps  partnerships in Fairbanks.   In  Anchorage, there                                                               
is a program to integrate  homeless alcoholics back into society.                                                               
RurAL CAP and its partners support a 25-bed facility.                                                                           
MR. HARDENBERGH related  that the RurAL CAP  program has detailed                                                               
outcomes measures,  which focus  on implementing the  program and                                                               
producing measurable  results.  The  program knows the  number of                                                               
kids that  are better  prepared to  go to  school, the  number of                                                               
home owners who have benefited  from the weatherization programs,                                                               
and the number  of parents who have jobs because  their kids have                                                               
day care.   The goal is to be responsible  stewards of the public                                                               
funds the organization receives.                                                                                                
CHAIR MORGAN inquired as to  the subsistence and tribal issues on                                                               
which RurAL CAP has been working.                                                                                               
MR. HARDENBERGH explained  that RurAL CAP has cut  back in recent                                                               
years at  the direction  of the  board.   Currently, there  is no                                                               
staff assigned to these issues.   However, RurAL CAP does support                                                               
a  statewide newspaper  "The Village  Voice."   Additionally, the                                                               
board identifies  priorities.  Currently, work  is occurring with                                                               
a  Native   subsistence  halibut   group  in  regard   to  better                                                               
management of  subsistence halibut fishing.   In further response                                                               
to  Chair Morgan,  Mr. Hardenbergh  listed the  communities where                                                               
RurAL CAP supports Head Start  programs, and explained that other                                                               
organizations   such  as   Tanana  Chiefs   Conference  and   the                                                               
Association  of Village  Councils Presidents  provide Head  Start                                                               
programs as well.   Mr. Hardenbergh said that RurAL  CAP does not                                                               
fund Head Start programs in urban Alaska.                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA  praised  the   outcome  measures  in  the                                                               
report, and  asked what the  earliest contact is with  parents or                                                               
parents  to  be  as  there are  studies  demonstrating  that  the                                                               
earlier the intervention the better.                                                                                            
MR. HARDENBERGH explained  that Head Start began with  a focus on                                                               
3 and  4 year olds,  but has now  become involved in  focusing on                                                               
prenatal to  3 year olds.   This  is not a  center-based program,                                                               
but  uses home  visits to  educate  and provide  counseling.   He                                                               
offered  to   provide  Representative  Cissna  with   a  list  of                                                               
communities where such services are provided.                                                                                   
MR. HARDENBERGH, in response to  Chair Morgan's inquiry regarding                                                               
the location  and number of  employees, explained that  there are                                                               
about  100 folks  in Anchorage,  70 of  whom are  in the  central                                                               
office.   The other 30  are split  between Mountain View  and its                                                               
childcare facility.                                                                                                             
MR. GROVE thanked the committee  and then introduced Dewey Skan a                                                               
member of the board of directors.                                                                                               
DEWEY SKAN, Member, RurAL CAP  Board of Directors, explained that                                                               
he  has been  on  the board  for 15  years  advocating for  rural                                                               
Alaska.  Currently,  he is working with Kake  to obtain resources                                                               
to  redo its  nearly 100-year-old  building with  a bad  roof. He                                                               
related that the  plan is to name the new  building after Shirely                                                               
Jackson.   He then thanked  the committee for the  opportunity to                                                               
campaign for the money for this new building.                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  KOOKESH  added  that  the  state  engineers  just                                                               
completed  their  report and  found  that  the roof  had  serious                                                               
There  was  a  discussion  between Mr.  Skan  and  Representative                                                               
Cissna  as to  whether the  building  in Kake  would qualify  for                                                               
historical status.                                                                                                              
MR.  SKAN, in  response  to Representative  Morgan, replied  that                                                               
this large board functions fairly well.                                                                                         
There were no announcements.                                                                                                    
COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                              
The committee took no action.                                                                                                   
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Community  and Regional  Affairs Standing  Committee meeting  was                                                               
adjourned at 9:41 a.m.                                                                                                          
NOTE:   The meeting was  recorded and handwritten log  notes were                                                               
taken.  A  copy of the tape(s)  and log notes may  be obtained by                                                               
contacting the  House Records  Office at  State Capitol,  Room 3,                                                               
Juneau,  Alaska  99801  (mailing address),  (907)  465-2214,  and                                                               
after  adjournment  of the  second  session  of the  Twenty-Third                                                               
Alaska  State Legislature  this  information may  be obtained  by                                                               
contacting the Legislative Reference Library at (907) 465-3808.                                                                 

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