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Posted by on Jun 2015 in All Stories, Member Support | 0 comments

Meet four young housing professionals

young womanEllery Swinkels, BA, BSW. Public Housing Review Officer, City of Stratford

I work as a Public Housing Review Officer for the City of Stratford. I am responsible for making sure tenants comply with their leases. I work with tenants in the community and also investigate allegations of fraud and determine past and present eligibility for RGI.

I am a registered social worker, so I started my work in the housing sector as a community support worker for tenants and made the jump into municipal work more recently. I have worked in a child welfare setting, with patients in the ER, and with women and children fleeing domestic violence. That work has better equipped me to work with clients in my housing portfolio.

Working in the housing sector requires you to be flexible, as things can change rapidly with tenants. The best part about working in the housing sector is the ability to liaise with clients, community workers, and other stakeholders in the community.

young manGabriel Lawrence, Financial Manager, Ecuhome

Gabriel Lawrence was influenced by his mother who has worked in social housing for most of her career so his move into the sector was just a natural progression. His first job in the field was directly out of university at JTM – a property management company. As a finance professional he now works at Ecuhome as the Financial Manager.

He finds that he has the opportunity to engage in operations but also has the opportunity to do strategic work. His work with this supportive housing provider is colourful and interesting.

young womanAmber Seager, Property Manager, Wigwamen Inc.

From a young age I knew that I wanted to work in a helping profession, specifically with Aboriginal families and housing. Shortly after graduating with a Social Service Worker diploma, in 2007, I was hired as an Administrative Assistant by Wigwamen Incorporated, Ontario’s largest and oldest urban Aboriginal housing provider.

Since that time, Wigwamen has provided me with excellent opportunities to learn and excel in my career as part of a team where both the creation and sound management of safe, affordable housing are priorities.  In 2014, I was promoted to the position of Property Manager at Place Perrault, Wigwamen’s new 41-unit affordable housing project in Ottawa, Ontario.

What I enjoy most about working in the sector is seeing the smiles on children’s faces when they get to see their new home for the first time. Seeing the stability that affordable housing provides to families is truly the most heartwarming and fulfilling part of my job.

young womanJenna Fleming, Supportive Housing Worker, Mainstay Housing

After working in women’s shelters for some time, a place that provides temporary housing, I thought it would be interesting to work in a place that provides permanent housing. I fell upon a position in a supportive housing organization about three years ago and I just adored it from the moment I started.

I truly believe in the housing-first approach and that providing an individual with a permanent place of their own, a place where they call home, is the first step towards recovery, stability, and greater quality of life. I get to see our tenant-members grow, thrive, reach and often surpass their self-identified goals. It’s incredible that I get to see these changes first hand. The most rewarding part is when tenant-members share with me that this housing has changed their lives and that they wouldn’t know where they would be right now without it.

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