Bennington County Coalition for the Homeless is proud and honored to welcome Avaloy Lanning, MSW to Bennington as she begins as our new executive director.

Avaloy has dedicated her career to issues involving human dignity and human rights. Most recently Avaloy was a senior director for Safe Horizon. Headquartered in New York City, this nonprofit is dedicated to improving the life and dignity of those who have been victims of human trafficking. Prior to Safe Horizon, Ms. Lanning was the director of the New Jersey Anti-Trafficking Initiative at the International Institute of New Jersey, a program she helped create, and New Jersey’s first ever anti-human trafficking initiative. Ms. Lanning was also an assistant professor in the Department of Social Work at Tarleton State University, her alma mater, prior to creating the New Jersey organization. BCCH is excited and proud to have her expertise and dedication transferred to our own community!

Avaloy’s move to Bennington is particularly timely as our community has recently struggled with the issue of homelessness and the stigma it generates. Discussions at select board meetings, on CAT-TV and WBTN have addressed the human right to housing. We are constantly striving to educate ourselves and improve our understanding of what the term human dignity really means. We want to be a community -- caring and lifting up those most vulnerable of our members.


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Avaloy has spent her career doing exactly that. As the new executive director of BCCH we know that the caring, compassion and human rights sensitivity she brings will enhance our ability to care for those vulnerable community members. We look forward to her contributions in our joint efforts make our Town a true community and a source of pride for all that live here.

BCCH has gone through an incredible transformation and emerged as a viable and valuable community organization. As many of you know, we have been blessed with a wonderful and caring staff. Sharon Farrell, shelter manager, and Tiffany Sausville, case manager, have helped us to become an organization that can draw a talented executive director such as Avaloy onto the team. So many of you reading this have been on our team throughout the process -- from individual community members to faith communities; from state partners to federal partners; and from our wonderful group of local collaborating organizations to volunteers and shelter guests.

Please join in welcoming Avaloy Lanning, and her family, into the Bennington community. We look forward to her meeting all of our partners and allies, and to her participation in a team that can truly make a dent in homelessness, with all of your help!

Mary Gerisch on behalf of The Coalition for the Homeless Board.