The Daily Pulse:

Gianni Longo's Return Responsible for Ten-Year Plan Shakeup?

A source sends us the following e-mail from Robert Finley, sent to a number of local leaders yesterday about Wednesday's TYP mess:

From: "Robert Finley"
To: <redacted>
Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2011 18:14:03 -0500
Subject: TYP: yesterday's press conference: some added details
All:
 
Some important background information might have been a little unclear at yesterday's joint City and County Mayors' press conference regarding the Ten-Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness. I would like to use this email to fill in some missing details.
 
It has been evident for some time that the TYP was "stuck," that it didn't have sufficient support from the community to move forward with good political support. When initiatives like the TYP become frozen in place like this, it can be very helpful, even necessary, to call in some outside help, and that's what happened in our case. 
 
Gianni Longo is a professional with seventeen years of experience working in the field of community facilitated processes. Back when Market Square got locked up in a way not entirely unlike what has happened with the TYP, Longo came to Knoxville and helped to develop a community process to help build consensus and help that project regain momentum. That was a success right in our own community, and is one reason he was invited to come back to Knoxville, at the request and with the financial support of Cornerstone Foundation, to help citizens in our community develop a public input process that will help us to get our community's approach to ending homelessness "unstuck." 
 
During his initial visit a week ago, Longo conducted eight meetings with different constituents and constituent groups including service providers, government officials, and private citizens. He's supposed to come back in a week or so to advance the development of this community process. Cornerstone Foundation sponsored Longo's initial work here because it's so congruent with that foundation's mission of helping the City to reach its potential.  
 
We want to describe for you what we anticipate at the present time about this emergent process. (This could certainly change if the sponsoring entities choose to do things differently.) We want to very clearly say that the TYP office will not be involved in running it. That will be the work of Citizens for the TYP and TYP Choice, and the committee they assemble, within the structures and parameters they establish. 
 
Gianni Longo will work initially with Citizens for the TYP and TYPChoice to do two things. First, Longo will help these two groups create a committee of community members who come from a variety of backgrounds but who all have a good knowledge of the Knoxville community. This committee will be called the Initiating Committee. Second, Longo will work with the Initiating Committee to develop a process whereby the entire community will have the opportunity to share their ideas on how we as a community should work to end homelessness.
 
We anticipate that the Initiating Committee will develop an intensive community-based public input process to develop broad consensus on a Knoxville and Knox County approach to the issue of homelessness, and that the Initiating Committee will also select facilitator(s) to lead this process. We also anticipate that the Initiating Committee will determine and heavily advertise meeting times and locations throughout the community. 
 
As you know, the TYP is operating in a kind of maintenance mode right now. It won't be involved in developing any new supportive housing, and it won't be forwarding any new initiatives. Jon Lawler and I are voluntarily stepping away from our positions in the TYP implementation office precisely because we recognize the very clear need for a citizen-led public input process and are fully supportive of it. We are actively honoring the development and implementation of that process by getting out of its way, clearing the decks so as not to be a distraction as it does its important and necessary work. 
 
A diverse group of citizens has a strong interest in sponsoring an open and comprehensive citizen-led process in which the members of our community will be given an opportunity to communicate their ideas on how we as a community should work to end homelessness. This nascent process, we believe, is a good development and will produce a plan that we as a community can unite behind. 
 
Sincerely,
Robert Finley
Mayors' Office of the Ten Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness
400 Main Street
Knoxville TN  37902

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