Providing food, shelter, help and hope to Missoula's hungry and homeless.

About The Poverello Center

For over 40 years, the Poverello Center has provided a necessary safety net for our community members living in hunger and homelessness. An award winning non-profit organization, the Poverello Center provides education, advocacy, and a multitude of services to improve the health, well-being, and stability of people struggling with poverty in Missoula.


The Poverello Center, Inc. is an innovative and progressive non-profit organization in Missoula.

As a helping organization, it is our intention to understand and meet the needs of our clients as well as to understand the larger causes of poverty and homelessness in our community. We do this work to assist our clients in becoming independent and to promote a healthy and sustainable way of life for all those whom we serve.


Philosophy of Care

  • Foster dignity and respect in every human interaction
  • Help people engage in healthy, positive change
  • Recognize people as unique individuals with strengths
  • Expand possibilities for choice and change

Our History

In 1974, a group of community members united to create The Poverello Center.  The organization was established as a ministry to feed the hungry, cloth the naked, and shelter the homeless in the Franciscan spirit of peace and care for others. In the last four decades our organization has grown from a simple mission to a lifelong cause – working to alleviate the experience of poverty and homelessness in our community.

Contact Us Today

Amy Allison Thompson: Executive Director

Amy Allison Thompson, LCSW, is the Executive Director of the Poverello Center.  She graduated from the University of Montana twice, with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in social work.  Previously, she served as the Executive Director of the National Association of Social Workers Montana Chapter.  She also worked as a psychotherapist for the past five years and specializes in issues related to domestic violence, the LGBTQ community, and homelessness.  Her most notable accomplishment is the development and implementation of an integrated behavioral health program in a primary care setting at the Northwest Community Health Center in Libby, MT.  In addition, she served on the board of directors for the YWCA of Great Falls as President Elect.  She was instrumental in the creation and development of the Great Falls LGBTQ Center.  When she is not working or volunteering, she enjoys spending time with family and going on adventures in remote corners of Montana on foot and mountain bike.

Kristen Border Patton: Director of Operations

Kristen Patton is the Director of Operations at the Poverello Center. She graduated from the University of Montana with a bachelor’s degree in political science and began working at the Pov in 2009 as the Administrative Assistant. Kristen has completed graduate courses in Human Resource Management, Technical Writing and Non-Profit Management while working at the Pov. In her spare time Kristen enjoys golfing, fishing and spending time with rabbits.

Laura Folkwein: Development Coordinator

Laura Folkwein, MSW, M.Div, is the Development Associate at the Poverello Center. Laura earned her MSW from the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver and her Master of Divinity from Iliff School of Theology in 2005. She started work with Housing MT Heroes and “the Pov” in the fall of 2014 and recently transitioned into a part-time development role to pursue other passions. Laura’s non-profit human services experience includes significant program development, implementation and evaluation work. She has worked with homeless and low-income families and volunteers in faith-based and non-profit settings, including helping to develop community partnerships to provide additional cold weather emergency shelter beds in Adams County, Colorado (near Denver). She speaks and writes intermediate level Spanish, and enjoys reading, cooking and getting outdoors to hike, snowshoe or bicycle as often as possible. Laura is also an ordained pastor in the United Church of Christ and the small groups coordinator with University Congregation Church in Missoula. She grew up in Montana and is thrilled to have recently moved back to her home state with her family.

Anastasia Bakos: Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator

Anastasia Bakos is the Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator at the Poverello Center. She supports and assists all perspective and current volunteers, helps staff with any volunteer needs that they might have, as well as speaks to various groups about the services that the Poverello Center provides for the community. Prior to being the Volunteer Manager she was a volunteer at the Poverello Center, serving in various capacities.  Anastasia has a true passion for volunteerism, and has given her time to the Roxy Theater, the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, and the Western Montana Humane Society. Anastasia made her way to Montana to attend school, studying primarily Physics and History. In her free time, she loves to play with her dog Chewbacca and play board games with her friends and loved ones.

Amber Gladney: Program Manager for the Valor House

Amber Gladney, MSW, is the Program Manager for the Valor House. In this role she collaborates with residents and community partners to help Veterans transition from homelessness to permanent housing. Prior to serving as the Program Manager Amber worked with individuals impacted by homelessness and addiction in Spokane, Washington, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mali, West Africa, and volunteered for the Poverello Emergency Shelter while completing her Master’s Degree in Social Work at the University of Montana. In her down time Amber enjoys cooking meals from scratch, searching out international and independent films, and taking in Western Montana’s beautiful scenery while hiking and fishing.

Jill Bonny: Program Manager for Housing MT Heroes

Jill Bonny, BSW is the Program Manager for Housing Montana Heroes, a transitional housing program for homeless veterans, located at the Poverello Center. Jill earned her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from the University of Montana where she is currently pursuing her Master’s in Social Work. As the daughter of a veteran, Jill enjoys her work and is honored to give back to those who have sacrificed for our country. Growing up in Montana, Jill has always been involved as a volunteer in hospitals, nursing homes, fire departments, local coalitions, and currently is a member of the NASW-MT Board of Directors. Jill joined the Poverello in the fall of 2014 as a practicum student while earning her social work degree. She has also been a Certified Pharmacy Technician since 2004, which she finds excellent knowledge to have in her current role with Housing Montana Heroes. When she is not working or studying, Jill enjoys spending time with her husband and children on their “little farm” in the Bitterroot Valley.

Melissa Brooks, BSW: Support Services Manager

In her current role, Melissa oversees the provision of supportive services to people accessing our shelter services, focusing specifically on the coordination of services for those most at risk. Melissa joined the Poverello Center team in 2013 as a fill-in support staff. Shortly afterwards, she became a lead support staff member, a role she embraced until she transitioned into her current position. Melissa earned her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from the University of Montana and has worked in a variety of settings. She has supported at risk youth at Missoula Youth Homes and spent time at Open Aid Alliance and the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program where she worked with hard to reach populations. Melissa grew up in the Missoula community and is passionate about social justice issues and advocating for under served populations. In her free time Melissa takes pleasure in fitness activities like boxing and hiking. Most of all she enjoys spending time with her two young sons.

Will Gardner: Homeless Outreach

Will Gardner is the Homeless Outreach Worker/H.O.T. Volunteer Coordinator at the Poverello Center.  He began his work with the Poverello Center in 2013 as a Jesuit Volunteer/AmeriCorps Member, and served through that program for 2 years as a direct care staff member.  He is passionate about learning as much as he can about the interweaving systems that affect our most vulnerable populations.  Originally from New Jersey, he spends his free time relaxing at home and exploring Montana’s vast expanses with his friends and family.

Sam Hilliard Hightower: Homeless Outreach/ H.O.T Volunteer Coordinator

Sam is the Homeless Outreach Worker and HOT Volunteer Coordinator at the Poverello Center. A recent graduate from the UM’s Community Health & Prevention Sciences program, she hopes to promote and improve individual and community health, by direct service and education. After working two and a half years at the Poverello, as both Support Staff and Lead Support Staff, Sam transitioned to her role on the HOT Team. She looks forward to assisting chronically homeless individuals with housing, health services, and feeling cared for. When not at work, Sam enjoys watching horror flicks with her significant other, hiking, and playing with her two adorable cats.

2017 Board of Directors

Keegan Flaherty, President

TJ McDermott, Vice President

Colin Woodrow, Secretary

Debra Lawton, Treasurer

MC Jenni

Jennifer Gibson-Snyder

Thomas Butorac

Ronald Barker

John Daniels

Jordan Guffin

Toby Cook

Barbara Sawyer

Aaron Derry

Katie Sullivan

Matt Lowy

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.
Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.
To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at:, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:
(1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;
(2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or
(3) email:
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.