Skip to main content

May 28th, 2024

CSS on the Beat: Meet Matthew 

Featured Image

Share this story

  • Email
  • Copy Link
  • Facebook
  • Twitter-X
  • LinkedIn

Community Safety Worker Matthew Leaver was drawn to OCH partly because he spent part of his childhood in a social housing community.   

“Social housing helped our family to live a good life. Due to the support of social housing, my mother could build a great career that led to buying her first house,” he said.   

Matthew knows things have changed since then, but support is needed now more than ever.

” Helping to provide safety and security in OCH neighborhoods is very rewarding.”   


Every day as a Community Safety Worker is different for Matthew, and he likes that. Before his shift starts, he puts on his uniform and gathers all the necessary equipment before he hits the road. Next, he logs onto his computer, checks his emails, and gets a quick update with the CSWs who were on before his shift.  

 This communication keeps him safe and updated on what’s happening in our communities that day.   

“Safety is our priority for tenants, our CSS team and OCH staff,” Matthew said. After that, all days are different. We take calls from a queue based on priority and go from there. Things can change quickly on the road, so you must be flexible and alert.”  

Matthew said the 24-hour nature of shift rotation can be a challenge. Maintaining a proper eating and sleeping schedule and keeping up with family and friends can be hard when you work overnight.   

The days come with challenges as well. Traffic can delay Matthew’s work and make it hard to cross the city between calls from tenants.   

“We don’t have vehicle sirens so sometimes you may get stuck in traffic and just like everyone else we wait for the light to go green,” Matthew said. Unfortunately, this can cause frustration for the tenants awaiting our visit. “I will do my best to respond to calls from tenants as soon as possible. However, the time of day can greatly affect the speed at which we can complete calls from the tenants.”      

 We asked Matthew to tell us about his favourite thing on the job.   

Matthew loves connecting with tenants. “We’re not just here for emergencies,” he says. “We want to help solve problems and get to know tenants better.” Matthew added that it is nice when there is time to start a conversation with a tenant you have never met and build a foundation to work with moving forward.   

“Many OCH tenants have great stories, and it is always good to share ideas,” he said.   

When there is time, Matthew enjoys interacting with the CSS team. He said the whole team is incredible.  Everyone is unique and brings something different to the table.   

OCH relies on CSWs 24 hours a day to ensure the safety and security of our communities. They are there to react in real-time as soon as possible.  This includes emergency situations. The team works directly with the Ottawa Police, Emergency Management Services and Ottawa Fire Services in the community where there is an incident – and proactively.   

“We gather as much information from our tenants and partners as possible and then relay that to OCH employees like Tenancy Support Workers to give them an understanding of what is happening with tenants currently and trends in OCH communities.