When Semira Negasi first came to Good Shepherd Housing & Family Services, she came as a client. Now she is a full-time property manager at GSH and helps other clients.
“I love being part of Good Shepherd Housing,” she said. “I love getting up every day and going to work.”
Just a couple of years ago, she didn’t have a job and, after separating from her husband of many years, she was left homeless with two children. A friend told her about GSH and she came to them for help.
“It was very hard,” Negasi said. “In the Ethiopian culture, we are very prideful.”
It turned out to be the saving grace for her and her family. They found her a place to live in Janna Lee apartment complex and since they happened to be looking for somebody to work there, she was also offered an administrative position. From there she became an assistant housing manager, and then eventually she got her current position.
She has since reconciled with her husband but is much more self-sufficient. Her son David attends the gifted and talented program at Stratford Landing Elementary School and her younger son, Daniel, is in the Head Start program.
“It did teach me that when you’re down you need help,” Negasi said. “This program really worked for me; I had no resources but it was very hard to ask for help.”
Negasi found that the budget counseling was especially helpful. She also returned to school and received her Realtor’s license.
“I love being able to give back and to see clients from a different point of view,” Negasi said. “I have a compassionate view because I was a client myself once.”
Shannon Steene, executive director at Good Shepherd Housing sent out an e-mail saying, “Semira Negasi has joined our staff, edging out other qualified applicants in the pool for our Property Manager position. Several things set Semira apart — her property management experience with low-income working families, having passed the real estate licensure exam and also her personal success having graduated from the services of Good Shepherd Housing's Homeless Transition Program.
“She embodies so much of what we strive for at Good Shepherd Housing. Hard work, perseverance and self-improvement are three of the elements that made her a success and the best fit for GSHFS' property management position. As a GSH program graduate, Semira can earnestly tell you what it is like to be down and out and how pressing forward will pay off in the long run.”