our staff are community members who believe in ending homelessness in Blount County.

We’re a collection of like-minded, community members who believe everyone deserves a place to stay, to live, and to call their home. Through our collective resources, abilities, and connections, we’re addressing the problem of homelessness in Blount County.

Kathi Parkins

Kathi Parkins

Interim Executive Director

Kathi was born and raised in Indiana. She received  bachelors degrees In criminal justice and sociology from Indiana State University and a master's degree in special education from the University of Tennessee.
Kathi and her family moved to Dayton TN in 1984 where she  assumed the role of children's coordinator at First United Methodist Church. She also taught special education in the Rhea County School system and was adjunct faculty at Bryan College.
She has enjoyed many career opportunities since moving to Maryville in1991. All her work has been with the most vulnerable: special needs adults and children, the elderly, foster children and the homeless.
She has served on the Board of Directors for The Gate and A Place to Stay. She is a graduate of Leadership Blount Class of 2012. She received the Athena Leadership Award in 2017.
Kathi and her husband, Chuck, have 3 children and 3 grandchildren. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, baking, helping her husband in his food truck, and teaching Sunday School.

2021 10 13 Keela Paulsen CoC 01 ed

Keela Paulsen

Community Outreach Coordinator


Keela Paulsen is a proud native of East Tennessee and enjoys all the adventures the area has to offer. She is a graduate of Roosevelt University in Chicago, IL and has spent 20 years in Customer Relations and enjoys supporting others. She is passionate about helping our Blount County neighbors flourish in our community.

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