BRATTLEBORO – The Area Relocation Center Manager is most recently from Southeastern Vermont Community Action where he served as Housing Case Manager.
According to a press release from the Ethiopian Community Development Council, Joe Wiah will run the multicultural community center the organization plans to establish in Brattleboro.
Wiah has spent more than a decade in the nonprofit sector serving vulnerable populations both in Vermont and overseas in Africa, the press release says.
As a Housing Case Manager for SEVCA, Wiah has helped Vermonters in 15 towns in Windham County access housing, fuel, food and home repair services.
Prior to that, Wiah worked for Pathways-DC and Pathways Vermont, providing necessary services to clients struggling with mental health issues or returning to communities after a stint in prison.
At the international level, his work has focused on creating laws, policies and programs that have contributed to the disarmament, demobilization, rehabilitation and reintegration of child soldiers in Liberia.
Wiah’s hiring was made with support from the Shapiro Foundation and the Braden-Harder & Lawrence Harder Charitable Fund, the press release said.
“Joe is an excellent person for this role because he is familiar with the Vermont social service system as well as the international circumstances and environments that create the need for refugee resettlement,” said Dr. Tsehaye Teferra, President and CEO General of the ECDC, in the press release. “His personal compassion and commitment to helping those in need, combined with his budgeting, strategic planning and grant management skills, will ensure the success of our Brattleboro program.”
In this role, Wiah will be responsible for coordinating with community actors and preparing to meet the needs of refugees related to employment, affordable housing, medical care, education, etc. as well as a wider participation in the civic life of the community.
The Reformer requested an interview with Wiah, which was scheduled for a later date.
Wiah is originally from Liberia and holds a Master of Arts in Intercultural Service, Leadership and Management from SIT Graduate Institute in Vermont and a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from the Catholic University of East Africa, Nairobi. , Kenya.
“As someone with first-hand experience of being welcomed as a newcomer to Vermont, it is a privilege to have been chosen by ECDC to serve as a bridge to connect our new neighbors to our community,” Wiah said in the press release. “I am delighted to join this community of experienced professionals and look forward to working with all local, regional and state partners to collectively make this dream a reality.”
Wiah is scheduled to start as director on September 20.
ECDC, based in Arlington, Virginia, is one of nine national resettlement agencies that have resettled refugees since 1991, working with a network of 15 affiliated organizations across the country. ECDC’s mission is to empower refugees and immigrants to become empowered and integrated members of American society who receive support from and ultimately contribute to their local communities. For more information visit www.ecdcus.org.