A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A SOCIAL HOUSING PROPERTY MANAGER
7:00 a.m. Jump out of bed and wonder what good things can be accomplished at ENF today! Get dressed, make lunches, take kids to school and drive to work.
8:30 a.m. Stop at Tim Horton’s for that delicious first coffee of the day.
9:00 a.m. Get to office, open blinds, sip coffee, just sit down when the first tenant
of the day comes in to discuss the overflowing garbage bins. Tenant leaves; prepare memo reminding everyone to please pick up after themselves and to remind their children to do so, too, and to please take pride in their home and community by helping to keep it clean.
9:30 a.m. Take another sip of my now cold coffee and then interview prospective tenants for a 3 bedroom unit. They are a newly arrived immigrant family from Turkey. Because of language difficulties he is having trouble finding steady work and they do not qualify for assistance. Currently they are in a one bedroom basement suite paying $750/mth. The suite is dark and depressing and there is no where for their little boy to play. The wife is also expecting another
child. They are thrilled to find out they will be able to move into a light and airy 3 bedroom townhouse at Jessica Place next month. It will be great for them to bring their new baby back to such a nice home.
10:00 a.m. Tenant calls to complain about raccoons (or something!) in attic of townhouse. Go to investigate and can see where critters are getting in the attic through soffits. Call pest control who provide quote. Oh, no! No operating funds for that amount, so call Property
Portfolio Manager at BCHMC who says to fax him a copy of the quote and he will try to get us approval to cover this cost as an Extraordinary Expense but reminds me that funds are getting very, very tight at BCHMC.
10:30 a.m Go outside to do a quick property inspection and run into a couple who moved in a few months ago. Just prior to moving in they had both been to rehab for drug addiction and had made a commitment to live a better life for their 16 month old son. Today they are taking him to the park as the husband has a day off-a far cry from the meth addicts they used to be! They thanked ENF again for giving them the opportunity to safely house their son and start afresh.
11:00 a.m. Call the Executive Director to confirm the date of the United Way Day of Caring. Thank goodness that a group of volunteers from United Way help each year to give one of the properties a thorough weeding and trimming which the Society cannot otherwise afford to do within its operating budget.
11:30 a.m. An older tenant comes in just to talk as she has recently found out she has terminal cancer. Put phone on ‘Do Not Disturb’and spend an hour talking and finding out what she needs, as she has no family to help her. Call a local hospice to find out how to get her into one. They will get back to me later today.
12:00 p.m. Single mom comes to discuss the Notice to Vacate that had been issued because she had not paid rent. She said her ex-husband has not been paying her support payments as he agreed to. Referred her to the Family Maintenance program. Work on a repayment plan that she can live with for outstanding rent payment.
1:00 p.m. Pull out sandwich to eat lunch but receive a call about a burst hose bib, so call the plumber which leads to working on other maintenance concerns, like arranging for the yearly fire system inspection, an electrician to come in and check on the exterior lights that mysteriously stopped working and coordinating the cleaners and painters for month end.
2:00 p.m. Take bite of sandwich…plumber comes in to advise that it looks like the hose bib was vandalized… heavy sigh…plumber gives an estimate of the repair cost which is going to take a huge bite out of the operating budget…but then what doesn’t???
2:30 p.m. Take another bite but have lost appetite. Get call back from hospice. Miraculously, they have been able to find a hospice bed for ENF tenant at another facility if she can come immediately. Call tenant and then start working on finding a tenant for her suite which will now become available for month end which is in 10 days.
3:00 p.m. Sandwich now looks old and tired so throw it out. Tenant moving into new suite at month end calls and sadly says she has no furniture to move in so it will not take her long. Tell her to hang tough while I make call on other line to Homestart. They agree to furnish her apartment at no cost to her. Thank goodness that ENF put together the Tenant Support Services Guide so this information is always handy and ready to use for just such situations! New tenant is absolutely gob-smacked at such wonderful news!
3:30 p.m. Get a call from the other property I manage in regard to the leaky suite that is part of an overall building envelope failure. The tenant is understandably upset about paying lower end of market rent yet not being able to use the balcony. Call the Executive Director and discuss progress on repair options that are being considered and the timeline for resolution to the problem. Also discuss the potential for having to start closing down some of the leaky suites. It’s agreed that if we do this, it will definitely cause cash flow issues.
4:00 p.m. Three tenants come into office, each complaining about the others’ behaviour. Try to sort out the issues but cannot get the tenants to calm down and be reasonable so suggest that ENF coordinate bringing in a mediator. They go off to think about it and will let me know by end of the week.
4:30 p.m. Applicant calls to advise she cannot take the suite she agreed to take at month end due to a family emergency requiring her to move back to Ontario. Hmmmm, have to go back to Waiting List to scramble for a new tenant. Ask ED to fax over Waiting List. Spend next hour making phone calls to applicants.
5:30 p.m. Feeling kind of hungry and realize it’s past time to go home and have forgotten to pick up the kids from soccer practice-again!
9:30 p.m. Kids are doing homework, husband working on his project car so I’m just relaxing watching TV when I get emergency page advising the fire alarms are going off at one of the buildings. Call the tenant who cleans the building and find out that someone had left a pot on the stove unattended and the fire started there. Jump in car and drive across the Lower Mainland to the building, find water so deep from sprinklers going off in common hallways that kids are practically swimming down them! Tenants have followed fire alarm procedure and gathered at the appointed spot (those fire drills DO pay off!). Fire department looks after fire, tenants go back to suites, I call out the restoration company and then call ED to advise her there’s going to be an insurance claim tomorrow. Midnight Go to bed and reflect on day-not too bad, all in all; helped a family in need find appropriate affordable housing; helped a sick tenant find hospice care; helped another tenant file with Family Maintenance; sound furniture for another person…hey, just try finding that kind of job satisfaction and sense of fulfillment as a property manager in the market place!
Reprinted from BEYOND THESE WALLS
Statement of Purpose: ENFHS Semi-Annual Newsletter is the outreach publication of Entre Nous Femmes Housing Society. Its purpose is to further ENFHS’s goal (ENDS) of ensuring that economically disadvantaged families in the greatest number possible within the MetroVancouver (GVRD) area have the opportunity for their lives to be enhanced by secure, safe, affordable, and appropriate homes to an extent that justifies the use of all available resources.