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City of Knoxville, Tennessee
Madeline Rogero, Mayor

For Immediate Release
Director Leaving Office of Ten-Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness
Ten-Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness
Mayor Brown and Mayor Burchett
Mayor Burchett and Mayor Brown
Ron Peabody and Stephanie Matheny
Citizens Ron Peabody and Stephanie Matheny
February 9, 2011 - Knoxville Mayor Daniel Brown and Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett announced today that Jon Lawler will be leaving his position as director of the Knoxville/Knox County Office of Ten-Year Plan to end Chronic Homelessness.

The exact date has not been determined.

Robert Finley, a staff member with the office, will also be leaving his position at the end of March.

The two mayors will discuss the future of the Ten-Year Plan during a press conference at 2 p.m. in the fifth floor atrium of the City County Building.

Lawler - a former vice president for the development firm of Lawler-Wood, a construction company executive and church pastor - was appointed to the post in May of 2007, by former Mayor Bill Haslam and former Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale.

He replaced Dr. Roger M. Nooe, a retired University of Tennessee professor and former associate dean of the University of Tennessee's College of Social Work.

"I very much appreciate Jon Lawler's commitment to dealing with the very real problem of chronic homelessness in our community. He has done a wonderful job in focusing resources and developing awareness of the problem," Mayor Brown said. "Mr. Finley has been tireless in his communication efforts to better inform the community about homelessness and the role of permanent supportive housing."

Mayor Burchett also expressed his appreciation for Lawler and Finley's efforts.

"I want to join Mayor Brown in thanking my friend Jon Lawler for his longstanding commitment to helping those in our community who are so often most in need. I also appreciate the fact that he did not shy away from trying to find solutions to these very difficult problems. Most of all, though, I appreciate that he never walks away from his core values and beliefs," Mayor Burchett said. "Like John, Robert Finley is a tireless advocate for the homeless, and I am thankful for his efforts."

The Office of the Ten-Year Plan will continue to operate but will not pursue any additional permanent supportive housing sites or new initiatives for an indeterminate period. Michael Dunthorn will continue the work of the office in coordinating the work among service providers.

Both Knox County and the City of Knoxville and Knox County will support the office, which will be housed in the City of Knoxville's Community Development Office. Lawler, Dunthorn and Finley are city employees.

The Office of the Ten-Year Plan was established in 2005, after a series of public meetings. Its mission was to coordinate the work of the various agencies helping the homeless with the goal being to maximize the resources of the different groups.

One of the office's primary aims was to try and place the chronic homeless in permanent supportive housing first to more efficiently work with them to solve the problems that put them on the street. Though their numbers are relatively small the chronic homeless were using a large portion of the financial resources - from both city and social service providers - available for helping homeless individuals.

Currently more than 300 people reside in permanent supportive housing located throughout Knoxville.
For Immediate Release
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