St Francis House has been in operation since 1984; originally providing meals, then adding lodging, and more support services for those in need in St Johns County. After six-years of leadership, Renee Morris stepped down as Executive Director last month, citing health reasons for her resignation.
During the past week, St Augustine Society, Inc., the nonprofit corporation whose board oversees the operation of St Francis House, announced to Historic City News the appointment of their new Executive Director, Judy Dembowski.
“Judy brings twenty-three years of background in all phases of shelter operation,” Chairman Jon Benoit told Historic City News. “She had been acting as the interim director for over a month, and has shown amazing progress in comprehending the complexities of the St Francis House shelter; adapting to the challenges, and appropriately adjusting the course as necessary.”
The board told local reporters that St Francis House is looking forward to moving into the future with a renewed vision of its role in service to the community. Dembowski has been employed in various positions by St Francis House since June; during her short time with the shelter, she has begun much needed upgrades to the computer systems, financial procedures, grant writing, and writing employee handbooks, among other improvements.
“While the board has been impressed with Judy’s excellent progress, we also realize the magnitude of changes needed,” Benoit said. “At this time, we are looking into hiring a qualified person to act as Assistant Director to support our Executive Director on a day-to-day basis.”
In a recent announcement, a spokesperson for St Francis House reported that the shelter is very optimistic that the new management team will be well prepared to maximize the value of our reinvigorated economy to open doors of opportunity for its clients.
Dembowski says that she looks forward to working with the community, its social services agencies, and new volunteers, to answer the changing possibilities and vision of St Francis House.
If you would like to be a part of this renewed endeavor in any way, please contact the “House” at 904-829-8937.