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VAHC Announces New Director

David Martins to lead dynamic statewide membership organization

The Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition is pleased to announce that it has selected David Martins as the Coalition’s new Director. David brings to VAHC over a decade of nonprofit and ecclesial leadership, with a background in counseling for those in addiction recovery and a commitment to working for social and economic justice. His work has been built around education, advocacy and peer support. Throughout his professional and life experiences, he has always had a passion for advocacy, giving voice to the voiceless, and empowering the underserved and the marginalized.

“I’m so excited about beginning this journey with VAHC,” David says. “Upholding and celebrating the human dignity intrinsic to every person necessarily includes affordable and safe housing. That’s exactly why it’s altogether appropriate that the Coalition brings together organizations and individuals from so many different backgrounds to work together towards this common mission. In all my work in advocacy, strengthening communities, and connecting folks to the supports they need, stable housing has always been where the work begins. I’m truly honored to take over this role, and to work with a team of such dedicated advocates.”

David hails from Providence, R.I. He holds a B.A. in Philosophy from Providence College and a Masters Degree in Pastoral Theology from Saint Joseph College in Maine. He served as the Pastor of an inclusive faith community in Rhode Island for nine years, while concurrently working in the nonprofit sector. During these years he was heavily involved in advocacy work, primarily with the LGBTQ+ community, the recovery community, and individuals experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity. He was a founding member of “Partners in Service,” an interfaith coalition which partnered with community agencies to provide material and emotional support to at-risk youth and their families. He was also involved with the Religious Coalition for Marriage Equality, and was an active advocate in the passing of the Good Samaritan Law in Rhode Island. Most recently, David served as the Executive Director of Recovery Ministries and Spiritual Enrichment on Enders Island, in Mystic, Conn. 

The VAHC Steering Committee selected David on the basis of his demonstrated leadership and program management history, previous coalition-building and community service work, and his integrity and dedication. He brings to the housing field a fresh, intersectional, and person-based perspective. 

David will serve as the Coalition’s first-ever full-time Director, after the departure in March of  longtime Coordinator Erhard Mahnke, who served as VAHC’s Consultant and Lobbyist for more than two decades before moving on to join Senator Bernie Sanders’ staff. The new Director position is a result of the support of VAHC’s members and partners, and the Steering Committee’s dedication to maintaining and strengthening the Coalition’s future as a voice of advocacy for affordable housing in Vermont. 

“The success of the Coalition is a testimony to Erhard Mahnke’s 24 years of dedication and vision. We look forward to continuing the legacy of change, empowerment, and advocacy that Erhard energized,” Steering Committee Chair Cindy Reid said. “We are thrilled to bring David on to build on these accomplishments, and to continue to address the critical need for affordable housing.”

David begins in his role as VAHC Director Monday, July 26.

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