Senior Vice President, National Initiatives
Fekade-Sellassie was just one year into her job as a NeighborWorks homeownership specialist when she was asked to serve as director of the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling (NFMC) program and work to ensure that hundreds of thousands of at-risk homeowners across the country receive critical counseling services to help save their homes from foreclosure.
“It was a very challenging time,’’ recalls Fekade-Sellassie. “Our 2008 appropriation from Congress increased by $180 million, targeted directly to foreclosure-intervention counseling. We were given 60 days to get the program up and running and we did it. I’m pretty proud of that.”
The appropriation was meant to be a one-time infusion to boost the infrastructure and let people know that help was available. To date, NeighborWorks has received more than $750 million in appropriations to support the efforts of more than 1,700 counseling agencies across the country and served more than 1.75 million individuals facing foreclosure.
Fekade-Sellassie says affordable housing is in her blood. Her father was director of Seattle’s Archdiocesan Housing Authority, which developed and built housing for the homeless. So it seems only natural that she began her career as manager of the women’s homeownership program at the McAuley Institute, where she ran a national campaign to assist more than 12,000 low-income women build assets through homeownership.
Prior to joining NeighborWorks, she was a promotion specialist at the Catholic Campaign for Human Development at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Fekade-Sellassie holds a bachelor’s degree from Seattle University and a Master of Science in Applied Community and Economic Development from Illinois State University.