What: CANCELED: Ten-Year Plan public conversation: Permanent Supportive Housing Residents – Three Stories
When: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 - 6:00pm
Where: Volunteer Ministry Center’s Resource Center, 511 N. Broadway

Please note that tonight's Ten-Year Plan Public Conversation meeting is canceled due to the threat of inclement weather.

This meeting had been scheduled for 6pm tonight at Volunteer Ministry Center's Resource Center. It will be rescheduled for a later date.

The Office of the Ten-Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness would like to invite the public to a public conversation at VMC’s Resource Center. We’ll be talking with three people who have experienced homelessness but who now reside in supportive housing.

They’ll discuss their housing and what it has meant to them and helped them to do. Presenters will be clients of VMC, Knox County Community Action Committee, and Catholic Charities of East Tennessee. This conversation will follow the same basic format as usual. The first half hour will be presentation while the second half hour will be devoted to conversation about the subject.

This is the eighth in a series of similar public conversations, and the first public conversation of 2011.

Please note the venue location. VMC’s Resource Center is located on the ground floor, accessible from the rear of the building.

We will keep these meetings concise to respect the time of attendees. We will continue to offer them on a regular basis, and invite presenters who can speak to their areas of expertise and experience and to the roles that they play in relation to addressing homelessness in our community. We’ll open up the floor for questions and conversation on the specific issue being addressed, and we’ll ask attendees for ideas about subjects they’d like for us to address in future public conversations. Comprehensive notes from all public conversations like this one are posted at the TYP's website and are tagged "public conversation."

Just a nobody's picture

Concentration Question

Mr. Finley,
What is the breakdown of PSH residents by zip code?

slapshot's picture

Is there a wall at Northshore

Is there a wall at Northshore Drive that you people cannot go across? Looks like you want County taxpayers to pay for your personnel.


But you seem shy to make it convenient for those people to attend your meetings. Almost every meeting in North Knoxville.

"If the only thing at stake was the piddling $50,000 a year the county has been contributing to the Ten-Year Plan’s administration (compared to $200,000 from the city), then the threatened loss of county funding might not make much difference. But the plan’s director, Jon Lawler, foresees a $570,000 “funding gap” for case management services in the fiscal year ahead, and he’s looking to Knox County to cover most, if not all, of it."

Why are you not asking the City of Knoxville to split this $570,000?

Don J. 's picture

"Comprehensive notes from all

"Comprehensive notes from all public conversations like this one are posted at the TYP's website and are tagged "public conversation."

Spending some time at the TYP website the comment below caught my eye. I find it very difficult to believe there are 7,000 to 8,000 homeless people in Knoxville.


"Robert Finley
Posted July 1, 2010 at 10:31 am | Permalink

Thanks for the questions, Judy.

HMIS can produce reports that can be used precisely as you suggest. Increased usage of HMIS across the service provider spectrum is one reason we know more about the homeless population than we did a couple of years ago. HMIS is a work in progress, but every month it helps us add to our knowledge and work much more efficiently with people in Knox experiencing homelessness and those in supportive housing.

The 7000-8000 number refers to unique individuals, not episodes, including people who are chronically homeless and those who experience homelessness episodically.

Episodes of homelessness are counted in terms of entry into the system of homeless services and exit from them. A person exits that system when he or she moves out of emergency shelter or transitional housing and into permanent housing. A person re-enters that system if he or she becomes homeless again and becomes “visible” to the service delivery system by accessing services."

Barker's picture


There aren't 8,000 people who are homeless at this moment. If you had comprehended what Finley was saying, you would know that 8,000 people have been entered into the database. That means that 8,000 people have moved in and sometimes out of the system.

If, for example, I spend one night at KARM, I'm entered into the system. When I leave KARM, I might go back home or to a relative's house. It does not mean that I am chronically homeless and on track to get into PSH. But I am counted as one of the 8,000 in the HMIS.

HMIS counts all the people who get services through the participating agencies. The total number is obviously going to be greater than those who qualify for PSH under the TYP. TYP opponents, however, use the number to confuse the public for their own ends.

Don J. 's picture

Hey, I only asked a question

Hey, I only asked a question about something that doesn't make sense. I don't need to be attacked or labeled by someone I don't know.

Mr. Finley wrote, "The 7000-8000 number refers to unique individuals, not episodes, including people who are chronically homeless and those who experience homelessness episodically."

That is not what you wrote. It seems that you are the one who is trying to confuse people.

Barker's picture

I didn't libel you in any

I didn't libel you in any sense of the word. I explained the number in layman's terms.

Barker's picture

I read too fast. You didn't

I read too fast. You didn't say anything about libel (in my business, that's a red flag), and I apologize. That said, I didn't attack or label you. I just wanted to explain the numbers because there are some who spread misinformation about them.

Barker's picture


Finley is referring to unique individuals. In my scenario (spending one night at KARM), I am a unique individual with one episode in the system. If my cousin, say, spends one night at KARM in April and three nights at KARM in July, he is entered into the system as one unique individual with two episodes. He is counted as one person, same as I was. The point is that neither of us would qualify as chronically homeless. There are many more people who experience episodes of homelessness than there are people who are chronically homeless.

Barker's picture

number con't

The best number we have on the homeless at any one time is from Roger Nooe's biennial study of homelessness. The most recent report, released last month, indicates there are about 1, 300 people in shelters during any one month and another 300 in homeless camps. Nooe is the state's leading expert on the homeless, and his report is based on revisiting shelters and camps during the same month (Feb.) every two years. He's been doing this a quarter of a century and knows more about the homeless than most of us can ever hope to achieve.

Don J. 's picture

You accused me of being a TYP

You accused me of being a TYP opponent for asking a simple question. Now you say there are 1,300 people homeless. But the TYP expert said there are 7,000 to 8,000.

Now you say the TYP expert isn't right but this Nooe person is. So can you see why I ask the question to begin with?

Barker's picture


Yes, I can see your confusion, and a big part of the problem is the bureaucratic language used by the people in the TYP office. I'm not saying you're a TYP opponent; I'm warning you against the way some of the opponents manipulate data.

You can see my post above for an explanation of the numbers, but I'll do it again.

The database records every single person who has sought services from one of the homeless agencies since it (the database) was established. So far, some 8,000 people have done so. That's a cumulative total, not a snapshot of any given night.

Roger Nooe, who is the best expert on homelessness in Tennessee, surveys the number of homeless at any one time. His survey indicates there are about 1,300 who stay in shelters and another 300 in homeless camps.

Barker's picture

a point

One of the things that should give everyone pause, regardless of their opinions of the TYP, is that over the past three or four years about 8,000 people have sought services through homeless agencies in Knoxville. That's a lot of folks in desperate situations.

jlynn's picture

Does anyone remember...

The first couple meetings that Jon Lawler lead in SoKnox, he threw around some figures with regards to the number of *chronic* homeless in Knoxville that were bleeding the city/county dry (costing an estimated $40K/person/year).

I can't remember the estimate that was given at the time. NOTE: this was *before* the HMIS system was implemented to get more accurate figures.


Barker's picture

A study of 25 chronically

A study of 25 chronically homeless in Knoxville by Nooe indicates that each one of them costs us $37,160 per year in jail, detox and hospitalization costs every year. National studies put the cost at $44,000 per person, per year.

Pam Strickland's picture

Transition Concern

One of the things that has me concerned is that TYP is losing Bill Haslam and Bob Becker at the same time. I'm no overall fan of Haslam, but he has been an unabashed supporter of TYP. And Becker knows more about TYP and is a bigger supporter of it than anyone on council so far as I can tell. I don't see Daniel Brown stepping into the same level of leadership as Haslam, and I'm not sure who will take Becker's place as the TYP expert on council.

Barker's picture


I don't know about Brown's commitment to the TYP, but as long as he keeps Martin and Lyons on board he'll have good advice about maintaining its momentum. City Council won't do much and won't have to - my guess is that the TYP Office will take a pause to see how things work out with Flenniken and Minvilla while the political landscape shakes out.

OhWell1942's picture

I'm curious why no one can

I'm curious why no one can answer the previously-posed question regarding the number of PSH residents by zip code. Obviously, over-concentration has been a concern to the folks in the 37917 zip code. Wouldn't the HMIS system provide this?

Barker's picture

Can't answer that one, though

Can't answer that one, though since the vast majority of chronically homeless housed so far have been in KCDC housing, I would suspect they are concentrated in North and East Knoxville. HMIS might be able to provide that. I recommend contacting Robert Finley at the TYP Office.

OhWell1942's picture

Thanks Scott. This question

Thanks Scott. This question was addressed to Mr. Finley in the earlier section of this thread.

Crawfish's picture

Getting answers on the TYP

Getting answers on the TYP seems way to difficult. From the Metro Pulse piece by Joe Sullivan we see $570,000 is needed to serve 300 homeless people. Commenter Barker says we have 1,600 homeless people. That is over $3 million dollars that must be found.

The TYP promised that the case managers would not come from local tax dollars. Now they say that money must come from local tax dollars. And there is no agreement on how many homeless people there are. Only various experts arguing.

To top it off MinVilla has many open apartments right now in the middle of a cold winter. Maybe that is because they don't have the case managers? Who knows.

Add to that anyone who asks a question gets their head bitten off. This is a very poor way to administer public policy.

Barker's picture

exhibit A

Crawfish, the 1.600 or so homeless I mentioned are not all eligible for permanent supportive housings and you know it. This is an example of opponents manipulating data to confuse the public.

The experts aren't arguing. The experts understand the distinction between the total number of people seeking services from homeless agencies and the number of chronically homeless.

The TYP might end up asking the county for $570,000 for case management. I don't know. But that works out to $1,629 per person, which is much less than the $37,000 per person that the public currently spends on jail, detox and e.r. services. And the future social benefit is incalculable.

Crawfish's picture

"Crawfish, the 1.600 or so

"Crawfish, the 1.600 or so homeless I mentioned are not all eligible for permanent supportive housings and you know it. This is an example of opponents manipulating data to confuse the public."

How do I know that? You cited the number. So now you wish to retract the 1,600 homeless number? And you accuse me of bad faith?

Here is what I know. You more so than anyone in this thread show an agenda and bad faith. Why are you here? To run people off?

And how in the heck does a self reported study of 25 people prove that it costs $37,000 plus dollars a year in social services? This Nooe person you keep citing could only do a study of 25 people? And you expect us to conduct public policy on a study of 25 people? Are you serious?

All you have proven is that defenders of the TYP will distort data and hurl insults at people. I don't know enough about the TYP to either support it or reject it. You bring nothing to the discussion Barker.

rikki's picture

Another fine example of

Another fine example of manipulation to create confusion from Mr. Crawfish.

Anyone who has been paying attention knows the chronically homeless are a small subset of the general homeless population. Mr. Crawfish has commented on this issue numerous times, but Mr. Barker made the mistake of assuming Crawfish's participation implies an ability to comprehend and learn.

Crawfish's picture

How many chronically homeless

How many chronically homeless are there then? Jon Lawler said there are 1,200. Nooe said more. Who is right?

Pick a number then. Then divide $570,000 by 300 and multiply it by your number and tell us how much this TYP will cost us locally.

You pick the number.

barker's picture

Your math is way off,

Your math is way off, Crawfish. Dividing $570,000 by 300 or 350 results in the per capita figure for the chronically homeless already housed. More residents (400 total?) would mean you divide by 400 (and hence get a lower cost per capita). No multiplication required.

barker's picture

I cited the number as the

I cited the number as the findings of Nooe's study. He found that at any given time there are 1,300 people in shelters and 300 in camps. Not all of them are chronically homeless - I know that you've been keeping up with this enough to know that only about 10 percent of the homeless population can be considered chronic. Bottom line is that anybody who uses the 8,000 figure is either misinformed or deliberately distorting the facts underlying the debate.

As for Nooe's cost estimate, that's the only report we have to go on. And Nooe isn't just some guy off the street. He is the state's leading researcher on homelessness. And if you knew anything about research, you would know that a small sample is all that is needed. That's why Gallup can interview 500 or so people and be accurate when predicting a presidential election.

Crawfish's picture

"Bottom line is that anybody

"Bottom line is that anybody who uses the 8,000 figure is either misinformed or deliberately distorting the facts underlying the debate."

Then why does the TYP keeps using the 8,000 figure? To confuse people? You can't have it both ways.



I do think you are right that there are not 8,000 homeless people of any kind in Knoxville. But that isn't the point you are making.

The problem is with your 10 percent of 1,300 people is that we know we have 300 chronically homeless that the TYP wants funding for. So your math has big problems. Why don't you go find the right answer? You work for the newspaper. Nothing can be decided until that number is known. And you are way off with the 10 percent of 1,300 being the right number.

You have confused people enough for one day.

Robert Franklin's picture

Dear Sir or Madam, The number

Dear Sir or Madam,

The number you use of $1,629 just refers to the Case Management cost, for how many people? And if this is all it refers to, why are you comparing it to the $37K total cost for all services for the Homeless?

What about all the other cost associated with Supportive Housing? Like SSI or VA Disability payments, Medicaid coverage, Food Stamps, Utility subsides, discounted bus transport, HUD Vouchers, Counseling, Job Training etc...

Does anyone know how much all this will cost?

barker's picture

The figure refers to the

The figure refers to the amount of case management funds the TYP allegedly will ask for divided by the number of people currently in PSH. If more people go into PSH, then the average amount will go down.

The total cost will be less because social services cost less than incarceration and emergency medical care. These are people who qualify for SSI, Medicaid and other benefits, including VA disability (would you seriously argue a disabled vet shouldn't get his or her benefits??).

Bird_dog's picture



2010 reports are not posted yet, but prior years' are.

Don J. 's picture

It took a few hours but here

It took a few hours but here is what I have found. The TYP has frequently interchanged the terms homeless, as in recently homeless, and chronically homeless which is a subset of the total homeless. Why the TYP would do this is puzzling because it only confuses people.

Dr. Nooe is a former UT professor and is called an expert in this field.

Barker is Scott Barker one of the editors of the Knoxville News Sentinel.

Depending on you you ask, there are between 3,000 to 8,000 homeless people in Knoxville and 800 to 1,600 chronically homeless people in Knoxville.

The homeless are mostly housed by KCDC. The TYP was created to house the chronically homeless.

The best resource I've found is at the Knoxville News Sentinel where they presented a roundtable.



There is the TYP website:


There is a TYPChoice website:


Based on what I found today I have serious concerns about Scott Barker and what he has written in this thread. Mr. Barker, I feel you owe me an apology. I also feel you have deliberately tried to confuse people. Your behavior is not up to the standards of a professional journalist. You sat through the Knoxville News Sentinel rountable and what you have written here today is misleading. You had access to a great amount of information and you have not relayed that information honestly or accurately here today.

How much will this TYP cost? Good question.

First there must be consistency in the terms used. There must be some agreement on the number of chronically homeless. The other key factor is the behavior of the TYP management. They also have played games with the number of homeless people they will house many times. In a meeting in South Knoxville the TYP shifted their policy from the chronically homeless to the general homeless. The general homeless population is being served by KCDC. It serves no benefit for the TYP to house anyone other than the chronically homeless.


Based on what I have found it is not possible to understand the Ten Year Plan. There is little agreement on the number of chronically homeless, what they currently cost Knoxville, what it will cost to house and care for them.

This is the worst public policy I have ever witnessed in Knoxville.

barker's picture

You are entitled to your

You are entitled to your opinion, sir, but I don't owe you an apology as I haven't insulted you. On the other hand, you have accused me of being unprofessional. Again, you are entitled to your opinion, and I don't expect or ask for an apology.

I'm the editorial page editor of the paper and it is my job to state opinions. My bosses have encouraged me to participate in this and other forums, and I'm doing so.

I'm sorry you don't understand the Ten Year Plan. It's actually pretty easy to understand but there are people who have agendas who want to confuse you and others about it. I've tried to clarify things and will continue to do so. What don't you understand?

Don J. 's picture

Mr. Barker, you have written

Mr. Barker, you have written in the Knoxville Sentinel and KnoxViews many times that the TYP helps people with their addictions.

I don't recall you ever backing that up. You provide opinion based comments from your subjective viewpoint.

I would like to know how the TYP addresses alcoholism. Because I am not sure it cares much about treatment.

Case in point.


25-JAN-57 Address
Black Male
Case # Document Type Booked/Served Charge
Bond Type: APPEARANCE Bond Amount: $500 SET

Court Date Case Division Court Event Court Role

This is the same Ronald Mills:


whooshe65's picture

What does it take to get

What does it take to get arrested for Public Intoxication?

slapshot's picture

Here's the legal definition

Here's the legal definition from Tennessee Code Annotated.

39-17-310. Public intoxication.

(a) A person commits the offense of public intoxication who appears in a public place under the influence of a controlled substance or any other intoxicating substance to the degree that:(1) The offender may be endangered; (2) There is endangerment to other persons or property; or (3) The offender unreasonably annoys people in the vicinity.(b) A violation of this section is a Class C misdemeanor.

whooshe65's picture

So let me get this straight.

So let me get this straight.

Mr Mills lived at VMC's Jackson Ave. apartments for some undisclosed amount of time. He moved with most of the other residents to the Minvilla Manor facility in November. As stated publically many times, the residents of Jackson Ave. apartments were doing well with their Case Management, and were going to have the first opportunity to be rewarded with a new apartment at Minvilla.

On Friday night, Mr. Mills was arrested in some "Public Place" where he was under the influence of a "controlled substance" or an "intoxicating substance" and was possibly a danger to himself or others or someones property.


Rachel's picture

Scott Barker may have his own

Scott Barker may have his own opinions, but he defends them honestly. The last thing he would try to do is confuse anybody.

And slapshot, wrt your "wall at Northshore" comment, I will remind you - for the upteenth time - that city residents also pay county taxes.

bizgrrl's picture

Keep in mind that Northshore

Keep in mind that Northshore residents out to Morrell Road (West Knoxville, West Town Mall) are also city residents, thus they pay city and county taxes.

B. Paone's picture

God, this is entertaining.

Almost as entertaining as watching people try to wipe out hunger and disease. I imagine we'd get somewhere without the egos and competition, but hey - what do I know, right? ;-)

But please, don't mind me. Do go on with the slate of whizzing contests; it's some of the best entertainment on the 'Net this eve.

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