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Allison Thompson leaving Poverello Center; search for new director underway

Amy Allison Thompson, executive director of the Poverello Center, left, discusses the shelter’s plans to operate a second emergency weather shelter at the Salvation Army during the winter in this file photo. Thompson will be stepping down as director in July. (Martin Kidston/Missoula Current file)

After five years at the helm, the director of the Poverello Center announced Monday that she will be leaving the position this summer.

Amy Allison Thompson said the agency’s board of directors are working to transition the homeless shelter and its programming to a new director. Thompson will discuss her departure with the Missoula Current later this afternoon.

In a letter to supporters on Monday, Thompson said she was proud of the work the shelter has accomplished over the past five years.

“Despite weathering staggering budget cuts in 2016, two catastrophic plumbing issues and a global pandemic, we have emerged as a stronger agency; one that serves our mission and our guests with compassion and diligence,” she wrote.

“I know that I am leaving the Poverello Center in solid financial and programmatic shape, and even though I am sad to leave, I am excited for the incredible opportunities that are ahead for the Pov.”

Thompson replaced Eran Pehan as shelter director in 2016, though she wasn’t new to the facility. She worked at the old downtown shelter running the Joseph Residence. Thompson stepped into the role as the Pov’s director about one year after the new shelter opened on West Broadway.

Among her goals at the time, she sought to address chronic homelessness and its underlying factors. The city has launched a number of new initiatives during her tenure, including a mobile support team and new supportive housing initiatives.

The largest of those efforts – the Trinity housing project – is set to break ground this summer and include supportive housing and wrap-around services that address chronic homelessness.

Jesse Jaeger, director of advocacy and development at the shelter, said the application process for director is now open.

“They want applicants in by the 26th of this month,” he said Monday. “Amy’s last day is the last day of July.”

New Poverello Center director to focus on chronic homelessness