Caring for the Most Vulnerable

Downtown Faith demonstrates how to Love Loudly by embracing the staff, management, and residents of Desert Plaza Senior Apartments in downtown Las Vegas. The property manager, Melody Shay, has a big smile and an even bigger heart for the 55-and-over residents as they navigate through strange times together.

Her property management journey started five years ago when Melody was working as a manager at Walgreen’s Drug Stores. The mother of one of the regional managers of Advanced Management Group (property management) was a patient at the Walgreen’s where Melody worked. The mother and Melody developed a friendship, and the mother encouraged her son (the regional manager) to meet Melody. The son would begin to make regular visits with his mother to the drugstore and eventually offered Melody a job.

“I told him that so many people had offered me a job, and I am not ready to leave Walgreen’s,” Melody explains. He told Melody that he managed properties and wanted to hire her as a property manager. That piqued her interest since she had worked as a property manager before. “I let him talk me into accepting and started as a leasing agent. Then six months later, I was offered the position of the property manager at Desert Plaza.” She drove by the complex, liked what she saw, and welcomed the opportunity to manage 55-and-over population that lives in the apartments.

The owners are happy, Melody loves her job, and she considers the residents her family. In fact, most of the tenants have lived there for over 15 years. It was initially built as an army armory in 1943 and now houses 88 residents. The landscape is lush with affordable living spaces (studio and one-bedroom) and close to shopping, medical facilities, and public transportation. Everyone takes pride in the community and helps each other. She credits staff member Abraham for working hard to keep the esthetics outdoors and everything else functioning.

Melody admits to being a senior herself with a 38-year-old son and seven grandchildren, although she certainly doesn’t look it. Most remarkable, she came from a family of 26 children (yes—26) and was raised in Mississippi. Her parents had 14 children together, but her father had other children that Melody would eventually meet. Sadly, her mother and brothers recently passed, so Melody understands losing loved ones and, with Desert Plaza residents and Downtown Faith, join together in comfort and hope.

She and her husband originally came to Las Vegas in 2013 to assist his sister, who was in a car accident. They were not planning on moving to Southern Nevada, but both were offered jobs, so the decision was made to stay and frequently travel to California to see the grandchildren.

It was Pastor Ernie Loya who first met Melody and discovered Desert Plaza in 2019. Ernie had read about Serge Fournier, age 74, a resident of Desert Plaza who was pushed off a bus he was exiting and eventually passed away. He had lived with his spouse, Esther, and Ernie, representing Downtown Faith, visited her and gave her a check. Since then, Downtown Faith has filled the pantry at Desert Plaza for the residents, hosted pizza parties, and distributed greeting cards to show everyone they are loved.


Article by: Debbie Hall

New Community Partner – Desert Plaza
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2 thoughts on “New Community Partner – Desert Plaza

  • October 9, 2020 at 4:10 PM

    This is a wonderful partnership! Melody I’m sure your love and strength is a blessing to the seniors at Desert Plaza!

  • October 28, 2020 at 10:27 AM

    Thank you so much for the kind words.


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