Move-in days at the property LaShonda manages are some of her favorite days. She describes one resident’s first day in the building: “I was really excited to get her in and say, ‘Welcome home!’ Her energy was awesome!” As property manager of the 76-unit apartment building, LaShonda says that no two days look the same, but that’s part of why she loves her job.
The company that LaShonda works for is Skid Row Housing Trust, a provider of permanent, supportive housing to individuals who have experienced homelessness, poverty, poor health, disabilities, mental health conditions, or substance use. As an individual with exceptional customer service skills and a heart for her fellow community members, LaShonda can’t imagine a more appropriate career for herself.
Her pathway to this job started six years ago with a big change. At that time, she had been working for more than a decade as a life skills instructor for individuals living with mental illness when her employer abruptly let her go with little explanation. It had been so long since she had conducted a job search that she was not sure what her next step should be. “[That job] was all that I knew,” LaShonda says softly as she reflected how jarring it was to be let go, especially after years and years of service.
Referred by her daughter, LaShonda dove right into Chrysalis’ job-readiness program. “I didn’t expect the team to be so welcoming,” she shares. After completing our core classes, receiving assistance with her resume and participating in practice interviews, LaShonda attended supplemental workshops on customer service and money management. “There were so many resources. I thought, maybe I will be okay.”
LaShonda was then referred to Chrysalis Staffing, our social enterprise that connects clients to temporary and temporary-to-permanent employment opportunities with a diverse pool of hiring partners throughout Los Angeles and Orange Counties. After working a few temporary janitorial positions, LaShonda was offered a temporary role as a desk clerk with Skid Row Housing Trust. Recognized by Chrysalis staff and our hiring partner alike for her optimism and reliability, it wasn’t long before she was hired on permanently as an assistant property manager.
Years after participating in our program, LaShonda continues to be a part of our Chrysalis community. We are grateful to her for sharing her story of perseverance and hope with clients in the midst of their journeys and for reaching out to connect with staff whenever she needs a bit of advice or has good news to share. She tells us, “My Employment Specialist was awesome. Even now, before I do anything that affects my job, I always call and consult with him.”
Today, LaShonda oversees a team of nearly 10 people and ensures that her residents are safe and happily housed. Providing top-notch customer service to her residents, her team, and vendors – all while managing an apartment building – is no easy feat. But day after day, LaShonda wakes up ready for another busy day ahead. “Having a job means everything. I’m thankful I’m able to work. I like to work. And I’m thankful for Chrysalis.”