Berhane Alemu has a long-standing passion for community social work. When he was in school, he pushed for a placement with LOFT. It wasn’t long before he landed his first job with the organization. Nine years later, he couldn’t feel more fulfilled by the work he does.
LOFT’s Mount Dennis Hub provides on-site housing services for at-risk adults and seniors with challenges including mental illness, addiction, chronic physical health issues, and social isolation. As this site’s coordinator, Berhane oversees the day-to-day operations with a dedicated LOFT staff team, all while supporting up to eight clients of his own. More often than not, his day includes crisis intervention and emergency response for clients who are facing severe addiction and mental health issues. It is a difficult job, yet Berhane approaches it with empathy and grace.
Berhane is a dedicated advocate for LOFT’s clients. While employed at another seniors’ program, he worked with the city’s ombudsman to recover a great deal of money owed to a client after his property was sold for back taxes. The client told him, “You are my angel, you saved my life— thank you!” Berhane counts it as one of the most gratifying moments of his career.
With so much at stake when he’s at work, Berhane appreciates the value of relaxation. His personal time is all about hanging out and reading books with his eight-year-old son.