Staff & Steering Committee

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David Martins

VAHC Director​

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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

Grace comes to Vermont from the New York metropolitan area with a background in advocacy, political organizing, and communications. She earned her degree at New York University, where she majored in Politics and minored in Philosophy. Her work experience includes a communications role for a health advocacy nonprofit and campaign experience for elected officials such as Congressman Jerry Nadler and New York State Attorney General Letitia James.

 

Grace believes that housing justice is deeply connected to other social justice movements, and seeks to use her background in advocacy to unite people in the fight for fair and affordable housing. She is ardently aligned with VAHC’s goal to provide Vermonters safe, dignified, and affordable housing, and looks forward to helping realize it over the coming year

Grace Shyer

VAHC AmeriCorps VISTA

Communications  & Outreach Coordinator

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Justin Srsic

VAHC AmeriCorps VISTA

Resident Engagement & Outreach Coordinator

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Justin comes to VAHC after recently graduating from Marymount University with a degree in Political Science. While in school, he first came to Vermont for a summer internship with the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity, specifically working as a resident liaison for the Mobile Homes Program. Through this experience, his interest in affordable housing and community action grew and was supplemented with work later in his academic career for the National Community Action Foundation in Washington D.C. After now returning to Vermont, Justin is excited to support the important work of VAHC in combating poverty and advocating for affordable housing for all Vermonters.

Alexander comes to Vermont from NYC after graduating from Columbia University. He first learned about the affordable housing crisis during a summer service oriented cycling trip with an organization called “Bike & Build”. A month of riding across the Pacific Northwest allowed him to both do fundraising for smaller non-profit housing providers as well as participating in active builds with the Makah Tribal Housing Authority, San Juan Community Home Trust, etc.

 

Outside of his volunteering work with the VAHC Alexander is training full time to earn a spot on the US men's rowing team for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. He is currently training out of the Craftsbury Outdoor Center located in the beautiful “Northeast Kingdom” with the Green Racing Project."

Alexander Hedge

Volunteer

Administrative Assistant

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VAHC Steering Committee

VAHC receives guidance from our Steering Committee regarding our policy positions, advocacy, strategic planning, and fundraising goals. The Steering Committee’s input is invaluable to the work we do at the Coalition.

Michelle Kersey, Chair

Michelle serves as the Donor Relations Manager at Downstreet Housing and Community Development, where her responsibilities include growing the organization’s annual fund, raising funds for special initiatives, and applying for grant funding. She has more than 15 years of experience working for nonprofits in fundraising and event planning and management and has worked in affordable housing since 2017. She recently served as a member of the Hartford Committee on Homelessness. Michelle has a BA from Dartmouth College.

Jess Hyman, Vice Chair

Jess joined the Steering Committee in 2019. She is the Director of the Fair Housing Project at Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity (CVOEO), which provides fair housing education, outreach, and referrals statewide. FHP also helps municipalities plan for more inclusive, affordable housing through the Thriving Communities campaign and, together with partners, develops creative ways to raise awareness about fair housing law with the goal of eradicating housing discrimination in Vermont. A former community journalist, food systems researcher, and director of the Vermont Community Garden Network, Jess has spent more than two decades supporting community development and food security efforts. She has a Master’s in Community Development & Applied Economics from UVM and also serves on the Old North End Arts & Business Network Steering Committee and the Young Writers Project Board.

Michael Redmond, Treasurer

Michael joined the Steering Committee in the fall of 2020. He became Executive Director of the Upper Valley Haven in October, 2018 after nearly 20 years at the Crotched Mountain Foundation in Greenfield, New Hampshire where he served as Vice President for Advancement, Chief Financial Officer, and Chief Operating Officer, among other roles. Prior to his time at the Crotched Mountain Foundation, Michael held leadership positions at nonprofit organizations in New York including Grand Street Settlement, MDRC, the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement-Graymoor and the New York City Private Industry Council. Michael’s career has been grounded in care-based organizations serving diverse communities, individuals, and families in need.

Robert Little, Secretary

Robert Little is the Director of Community Development at RuralEdge, which serves the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. In that role, he oversees resident services, community engagement, and communications. He holds a Master of Divinity degree from St. John’s Seminary in Boston and a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Providence College. Prior to working in affordable housing, he spent a decade in a variety of ecclesial ministries throughout New England. Robert has a passion for building communities through learning from people what matters most to them and using that as a catalyst for service and engagement opportunities. In his free time, Robert likes to golf and spend time with his young family.

Cindy Reid, At Large Member

Cindy has been a Steering Committee member since 2014.  She is the Director of Development at Cathedral Square Corporation (CSC), where she develops and preserves service-enriched affordable housing for seniors and persons with disabilities and works on policies and programs to support CSC’s mission, Advancing Healthy Homes, Caring Communities, & Positive Aging.  Cindy has worked in the field of affordable housing for over 30 years. She previously served as the Assistant Director of Development at Vermont Housing Finance Agency. She currently serves on the Advisory Council of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston and on the Affordable Housing Committee of the City of South Burlington. Cindy holds an MS in Community Economic Development from Southern New Hampshire University and a BA from the University of Vermont.  She is certified as a Housing Development Finance Professional by the National Development Council.

Kerrie Lohr, At Large Member

Kerrie joined the Steering Committee in the fall of 2019. She is the Fundraising and Public Relations manager at Lamoille Housing Partnership (LHP) in Morrisville, Vermont. After receiving her BA in Anthropology and Environmental Studies from the University of Vermont in 2010, she pursued a career in ski industry sales and marketing. Her concern for, and interest in supporting Vermont communities and vulnerable populations led her to join LHP in 2017, where she develops and initiates fundraising initiatives, facilitates community outreach efforts, writes grant proposals, and oversees the organization’s communications. Kerrie is committed to shifting the conversation towards advancing housing solutions, reducing stigma towards those that are housing insecure, and collaborating with partner organizations to support the greater community’s needs. Kerrie lives in Waterbury with her husband and dog, and enjoys skiing, stand up paddleboarding, and mountain biking.

Conicia Jackson, At Large Member

Conicia Jackson (CJ) is originally from East St. Louis, IL but is proud to call Vermont her home. CJ has a degree in Economics and an MBA. She relocated to Vermont to pursue a JD at Vermont Law School (VLS) and will be finished in the Spring of 2022. She currently works for NeighborWorks of Western Vermont as a Rental Repair Coordinator aiding landlords in Addison, Bennington, and Rutland counties with accessing grant funding to repair their blighted/vacant units to rent to the homeless or low-income. CJ grew up in an underserved community and is passionate about advocating for others to have access to healthy, sustainable, and affordable housing. Additionally, she works as a clinician in the Energy Clinic at VLS to resolve energy law and policy challenges throughout Vermont. She also serves as a director on the board for the Co-op as a director for the Co-op food markets in the upper valley region. CJ enjoys playing volleyball and finding new movies to watch with daughter.

Kevin Loso, At Large Member

Kevin joined the Steering Committee in the fall of 2020 and is the Executive Director of the Rutland Housing Authority and Housing Initiatives Inc., providers of affordable housing solutions and high quality resident services to the Rutland community. He has worked for non-profit health and housing organizations for nearly 30 years, including positions with the American Cancer Society and Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice of the Southwest Region (VNAHSR). While at VNAHSR he helped establish Rutland Health Services and the Rutland Health Foundation, where he served as their first Executive Director.

Marion Major, At Large Member

Marion Major joined the Steering Committee in the fall of 2020. She is a lifelong Vermonter and grew up in Westminster in a family very engaged in the community. After receiving a Bachelor’s of Science in Environmental Studies from UVM, Marion worked a couple years as a farmer and cheese maker, interned with VT Land Trust, worked with a local solar company, and at a small café before working with the Windham Regional Commission as a planner. With the WRC, she managed grants for the energy programs, facilitated region and town planning, coordinated the Transportation program, and assisted with the brownfields program. Joining the Windham & Windsor Housing Trust team as the Outreach and Marketing Coordinator, Marion works on engaging, communicating, and fostering the relationship with our community. She enjoys bringing a creative lens to the position. She and her young family live in Westminster.

Owiso Makuku, At Large Member

Owiso is currently the Community Development Director for the Town of Essex (VT) and brings her vision and passion for serving and improving communities – of which housing is a critical component – to the position. She received her undergraduate degree from Middlebury College in Middlebury, VT and went on to serve in the Peace Corps as an agriculture volunteer in the Dominican Republic, an experience which both informed her path in life and led her to interest in housing.  Post-Peace Corps, she pursued and received dual Masters degrees in Architecture and Urban Planning from MIT in Cambridge, MA. Owiso has spent most of career in the public sector – Cambridge (MA), Burlington (VT), NYC and Detroit (MI) — but also worked in the private sector on Cambrian Rise, the equivalent of a new neighborhood in Burlington, VT. She is a positive-minded, people-person who enjoys reading, skiing, skating, wine-tasting, sudoku puzzles and a good joke, among other things.

Patricia Tedesco, At Large Member

Patricia joined the Steering Committee in the winter of 2017.  She is the Home Access Program Coordinator at the Vermont Center for Independent Living. She graduated from Endicott College with a degree in Business Administration and from the State University of New York-Brockport with a degree in Liberal Studies. Patricia has worked at VCIL since 2011, initially hired to work with VCIL’s Meals on Wheels program and working with Home Access since 2014.  Prior to joining VCIL, Patricia owned and operated a photography studio for 23 years in the Montpelier area.  Patricia attends several housing meetings, does research, and has developed relationships with a variety of partners in the housing field to better understand and improve affordable, accessible housing for Vermonters with low incomes.

Stephanie Lane, At Large Member

Stephanie Lane joined the Steering Committee in the Spring of 2021. She is the Executive Director and Director of Development for Shires Housing, Inc. in Bennington and has been with the company since 2015. Stephanie believes that everyone has a right to a decent, quality home and has dedicated her life to making housing accessible, dignified and affordable. For several years, she previously worked for within the rural New York affordable housing network before making the transition to Vermont. Stephanie started her career in the trenches as a housing counselor, first time homebuyer grants underwriter, foreclosure prevention advisor, grants administrator, and eventually Deputy and then Executive Director of a small Neighborworks organization. She also served as the Vice President of the New York State Rural Advocates, an organization that, by means of advocacy, secures decent, affordable housing and lobbies before the Governor and legislature, as well as administrative agencies, to further the cause of affordable housing. Under her leadership Shires Housing has grown within the past 5 years from a staff of 14 to 22 and a portfolio of 245 to 400 units. She and her team are committed to continuing to meet the need in Bennington County and have forged many strong partnerships throughout the county to foster collaboration and bring about optimal results while maximizing local resources of time, talent and passion for the work.

Lindsay Thrall, At Large Member

Lindsay joined the steering committee in December of 2021.  She works for Evernorth as the Connections Program Manager. Evernorth’s Connections Program supports initiatives to improve the lives of affordable housing residents including programs to address food security, digital connectivity, and community-building. Lindsay comes to Evernorth with a background in clinical healthcare, program development, and management through her prior work as an occupational therapist. Prior to obtaining a Master’s in Occupational Therapy from the University of Utah in 2011, Lindsay completed an AmeriCorps VISTA year serving people with disabilities in Logan, Utah. Lindsay lives in East Montpelier.