News and Events
Public Square Series
Reflections on 20 Years of Homelessness Policy Continuity in Knoxville
May 9, 2023 • 5:30pm
Webcast Link: https://tiny.utk.edu/PublicSquare
During the past two years, Baker Center Public Policy Analytics students researched homelessness in Knoxville and now have co-authored a Homelessness Policy Report. On May 9, as a part of the Baker Center’s Public Square Series, Baker Ambassador Emily Morgan will present the report followed by a panel discussion.
The panelists represent perspectives from different eras of local Knoxville politics, reflecting on their time and impacts within the policy field. The panel will discuss the Mayor’s Roundtable to End Homelessness and the possible success of the newly announced Knoxville-Knox County Office of Housing Stability.
Madeline Rogero served as the Mayor of Knoxville from 2011 to 2019, the first woman to hold the position. Before her mayoral administration, Rogero served Knoxville in a myriad of ways, including as Community Development Director, where her team launched a city-county-neighborhood initiative to address the problem of vacant and blighted properties
Bill Lyons currently serves as Director of Policy Partnerships for the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy and Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville having served as a faculty member from 1975 to 2003. Lyons has served multiple mayoral administrations, and has made an enduring impact as Chief Policy Officer to create policies and lead a public process that shaped downtown and the urban core development, as well as the broader goals of sustainable development.
Rick Emmett recently retired as Knoxville Downtown Coordinator, after 31 years as a public servant for the City. His obligations varied throughout his career from urban growth coordinator to streetscapes project manager, but his final position lasted for 13 years as Knoxville’s Downtown Coordinator. Within that role, he was charged with helping businesses and residents navigate bureaucracies and processes of the government.
Rev. Bruce Spangler served as CEO of Volunteer Ministry Center (VMC) from 2015 to 2023. The goal of the VMC is to end homelessness in Knoxville by directly providing services and through programming to prevent homelessness. They focus on serving the chronically homeless population, working with 5,000 individuals annually and running 57 permanent supportive housing units for individuals with a disability. Before his leadership at VMC, Spangler served as a liaison in multiple capacities through the Knoxville Knox County Homeless Coalition.