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Mar 1st, 2024

Employee Spotlight: Meet Joelle

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Joelle was an OCH tenant for three years before coming to work at OCH six months ago. She moved to Canada a few years back and was placed in a shelter with her family while waiting for Social Housing. She remembers hugging the rental coordinator when they offered her a home.    

“It was like I got my dignity back,” Joelle said.    

Now, she’s happy to be able to serve the same communities she was once part of.  

“The impact OCH makes, I see that firsthand,” said Joelle.    

Joelle is a Housing Administrator. The team mainly receives documents for rent reviews and completes rent calculations. They also support other departments by answering tenants’ questions on parking, maintenance and housing inquiries and completing other administrative tasks.   

How does it work?   

Each member of the Housing Administration team rotates. One week is at the office front desk, greeting tenants, receiving documents, renting, and answering questions. Another week is on the “queue,” where they take questions from tenants. And another week is doing rent calculations.    

Joelle said she likes to work at the front office. She always greets people with a smile.    

“That shows tenants we are here to serve you,” she said.    

How does the team work together?    

Joelle said her team is very supportive.    

“If you’re new to OCH, this is the team you want to be a part of,” she said, adding that the team of housing administrators speaks seven languages – helping them serve the tenant population. Some languages spoken are Kirundi, Kinyarwanda, Spanish, Arabic, Somali, English, and French, four of which Joelle speaks.  

What are some of the challenges?   

Despite the breadth of languages the team speaks, some tenants still have a language barrier, so determining what services they need can take time and effort.    

“There’s also those with mental health challenges who have trouble expressing themselves,” Joelle said. “Having patience and treating them with dignity by showing that you’re here to listen and not judge is the best approach.”   

What are her favourite parts of the job?   

Joelle recounted a story of a tenant on the phone who expressed some challenges she faced in compiling the documents she needed for her rent review because of some personal issues she was going through. Joelle listened patiently. At the end of the call, the tenant was very grateful.  

“That is very important to me,” she said. “Knowing I made a difference and helped someone.”