BRATTLEBORO -- The Morningside Shelter Board of Directors has named Joshua Davis as the new executive director.
Davis, a graduate of World Learning SIT Graduate Institute, has been serving as the interim director since former director Paul Capcara stepped down in March.
When he arrived at SIT in 2008 he imagined himself traveling on to work with an organization somewhere else in the world.
But after learning more about Brattleboro and about the groups that are doing their work around the area, he saw an opportunity to serve and jumped at the chance to work at Morningside.
"I went to SIT to work with low income people either here, or abroad," Davis said. "This organization does something that is so necessary and vital to the community, and we do it in a compassionate and dignified way. I'm very happy to be a part of it."
Morningside Shelter is Brattleboro's largest year-round shelter which provides housing, and housing services, to the homeless in southeastern Vermont.
The shelter has 29 beds.
Davis started at Morningside as a volunteer cook for the community meals program.
He became an overnight case manager in 2010 and then served on the Board of Directors starting in 2011.
Morningside Board President Biz Dana said the board was impressed with his education and background, as well as the commitment he has shown to the organization.
"Josh was selected based on his unique experience with
After graduating from SIT, Davis worked as an AmeriCorps member with Post Oil Solutions, working on the group's food security issues.
He went on to work as a staff member at Meeting Waters YMCA and says he has been impressed with the collaboration that goes on around Windham County, and across Vermont, between organizations.
As director of Morningside Shelter, Davis works closely with the Brattleboro Area Drop In Center, Brattleboro Housing Authority, the Windham-Windsor Housing Trust and a variety of state agencies.
"I am going to do my best to strengthen those ties," he said. "Our success ties into their success, as well. Homelessness is not something that one agency is going to be able to solve."
Morningside opened its newest expansion apartments in 2010 and Davis said the organization is now working to maintain funding and help the people who do end up at the shelter.
There are currently about 50 people on the waiting list even before the usual spike that occurs when the winter weather hits.
The group's largest fundraiser of the year, Hike for the Homelessness, takes place on Oct. 6, and Davis said Morningside has just been admitted into Benchmarks for a Better Vermont, a group that works with nonprofit organizations to help them evaluate their systems and goals.
With state and federal funding mostly remaining stable, but the need continuing to grow, Davis said he is going to work with the staff and the board to make sure the people who come through Morningside get the care and services they need.
"I have been able to see this organization from multiple levels and I know the staff and the board are dedicated to everyone who is staying here," Davis said. "The people who are here are trying hard. They do everything they can and sometimes they still end up at Morningside. We want to support them through that process and I want to be a part of that."
Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 802-254-2311 ext. 279.