OKLAHOMA CITY — With guidance from Senate Bill 661, signed by Governor Kevin Stitt last Wednesday, Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency’s Board of Trustees conducted a special meeting via teleconference March 25.
SB 661 amends the Oklahoma Open Meeting Act, allowing public bodies to meet by teleconference.
“It is important that everyone recognize the environment we are in at the moment, but also recognize the importance that OHFA brings to numerous individuals and families that rely on our services,” said Mike Buhl, chair of the OHFA Board of Trustees. “It was essential to conduct our March meeting by teleconference to make sure we maintained the level of service that many depend upon.”
With each of the trustees joining via teleconference, Buhl presided over the meeting. Trustees approved resolutions regarding rules governing OHFA’s Housing Choice Voucher program, Single Family Homeownership program, which includes down payment assistance, and Multi-Family Bonds program. Other resolutions concerning these programs were also considered and approved.
Generally OHFA’s Will Rogers Conference Room fills with the five-member board, resident board member, OHFA employees and members of the public. For this meeting, fewer than 10 people attended in person.
“We had a very good meeting that was conducted in a way to maintain the social distancing and safety that we are faced with today,” said Buhl.
OHFA cancelled its regularly scheduled meeting, prior to SB 661’s signing, because the Oklahoma Open Meeting Act did not permit meetings via teleconference.
“The quick actions by Governor Stitt and the legislature ensured our trustees could vote on time-sensitive matters that affect the individuals who utilize OHFA’s programs,” said Deborah Jenkins, OHFA executive director.
OHFA continues to serve its customers despite a temporary moratorium on face-to-face meetings due to COVID-19 concerns. While employees telework, customer service remains a top priority for the Agency.
“We continue our mission of providing shelter and housing resources to Oklahoma families,” said Jenkins. “OHFA’s down payment assistance, rental assistance and housing development programs remain operational.”