Debi M. Starnes, PhD
Debi Starnes served as Mayor Shirley Franklin’s policy advisor on metro Atlanta’s initiatives and projects to prevent and end homelessness. She currently serves as a board member of the Regional Commission on Homelessness. Dr. Starnes was steadfast in her support and advocacy for improving Atlanta’s continuum of care for the homeless population during her term as an Atlanta City Councilwoman from 1994-2005.
She advocated bringing homeless providers and advocates together with the business community, forming the Homeless Action Group. She helped develop The Rock, which was the first implementation of a ”coordination station” for comprehensive homeless services. She then worked to help fold The Rock into the Gateway Center.
Dr. Starnes helped develop the Imperial Hotel, Hope House, Genesis Shelter and several other transitional housing facilities for homeless men, women and children. With Mayor Franklin she developed the $20 million Homeless Opportunity Fund.
As the co-founder of EMSTAR Research in 1988, her professional work has included designing and evaluating programs in diverse areas of public service. Dr. Starnes received her BSW and MA from East Tennessee State University and her PhD in 1987 from Georgia State University.