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Meet The Team

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The OCHE team is a group of compassionate people who care about helping you resolve your rental arrears situation.

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The OCHE Team

  • Cynthia Summers, the leader of the OCHE, and one of the people who helps TCHC tenants avoid eviction due to unpaid rent.

    Cynthia Summers

    Commissioner of Housing Equity

    Cynthia Summers is honoured to currently serve as Toronto Community Housing’s first Commissioner of Housing Equity. In addition to overseeing the day-to-day operations of the OCHE, Cynthia also develops departmental and public policy, including establishing cooperative relationships with the public, TCHC and other governmental agencies. She has held this role since January 2014.

    Read more about Cynthia Summers

    With over twenty-five years of experience in the broad social services sector and a Master’s degree in Social Work, with a focus on social welfare policy, Cynthia has extensive experience in understanding and supporting persons facing vulnerabilities.  She has expertise in working with persons and families facing mental and physical challenges, persons of low income, and new arrivals to Canada.

    Her experience includes over fifteen years in the field of administrative law, having been appointed by both the federal government to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada to determine refugee eligibility for newcomers to Canada and to the Ontario provincial government to serve as a Member of the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal (now the Landlord and Tenant Board).   Her knowledge of administrative justice, procedural fairness and in particular the issues related to the issues of rental arrears, eviction and social housing, were developed in her role determining landlord- tenant claims for over seven years.

    As the founding Director of the Office of Student Conduct and Dispute Resolution at York University, Cynthia provided leadership in the areas of student conduct and crisis management.  She co-chaired a Committee to develop a new Code of Conduct to ensure procedural fairness for students, and created new processes for dealing with complaints, including the creation of a University Administrative Tribunal for determining issues of serious misconduct. The mandate of the Office grew under Cynthia’s leadership to include the management of all student crises; such as student suicides, interpersonal conflicts and health related issues.

    Cynthia is an expert in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and she continues to teach administrative law and how to use ADR effectively to work with vulnerable persons, in the School of Business at Humber College.

    Through her professional experiences, Cynthia has gained a practical understanding of the necessity to implement informal resolution prior to subjecting vulnerable persons to the more formal tribunal systems.  Cynthia is committed to the goal of eviction prevention and to ensuring that seniors and vulnerable tenants at Toronto Community Housing Corporation can access the supports necessary to ensure stable housing.

    Cynthia is a Member of the Society of Adjudicators and Regulators of Ontario and also the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers.

  • Deneen Johnson, the Executive Coordinator at the OCHE, and one of the people who helps TCHC tenants avoid eviction.

    Deneen Johnson

    Executive Coordinator

    Deneen joined the OCHE in February 2014 and holds a diploma from Seneca College in Court and Tribunal Administration, and has taken courses at Ryerson and McMaster University. Deneen brings to her role over 15 years of administrative experience from her work at the Immigration and Refugee Board, where she held various positions, including that of Administrative Coordinator for the Central Region.

    Read more about Deneen Johnson

    Deneen’s expertise in planning and coordination, coupled with her strong business acumen, makes her an integral part of the OCHE team to support the OCHE’s mandate.

  • Laura Young, a Senior Advisor at the OCHE, and one of the people who helps TCHC tenants avoid eviction.

    Laura Young

    Senior Advisor

    Laura joined the Office of the Commissioner of Housing Equity in July 2017 where she assists the Commissioner with various aspects of the OCHE’s operations, working to ensure the successful execution of the OCHE’s mandate.

    Read more about Laura Young

    Laura’s background in Social Housing began while working at Housing Connections, where she administered the housing allowance program and was responsible for developing systems to identify trends and issues with the program’s delivery. Laura developed her strong research and administrative skills while working for a consulting company in Toronto, a research centre at York University and the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. Laura holds a Master in Environmental Studies degree from York University.

  • Mary Grace Kistindey

    Mary Grace Kistindey

    Administrative Assistant

    Mary Grace joined the Office of the Commissioner of Housing Equity in June 2018 and is the primary contact for Tenants in need of assistance and provides administrative support to the OCHE team.

    Read more about Mary Grace Kistindey

    Mary Grace began her career in the Home Healthcare Industry where she was responsible for assisting individuals in need of critical assistance with accessibility and rehabilitation devices. Mary Grace has a background in Journalism and brings to her role her skills in investigative research, communication, report writing and editing. With a passion for advocacy for individuals with disabilities, Mary Grace joined the OCHE team because her goal is to influence people’s understanding of what it means to have a disability or vulnerability and has committed to connecting individuals with the resources needed to succeed.

  • Melanie Martin, the Senior Advisor at the OCHE, and one of the people who helps TCHC tenants avoid eviction.

    Melanie Martin

    Senior Advisor

    Melanie joined the OCHE in March 2014 and oversees a team of Early Resolution Officers.

    Read more about Melanie Martin

    Melanie brings with her an extensive background in both Social Services and Social Housing. She holds an Honours B.A. from the University of Toronto and has worked with the Employment and Social Services Division of the City of Toronto. Melanie joined TCHC in 2006, where she held various positions, prior to joining the OCHE. Melanie brings with her a deep understanding of the legislative and policy framework for Social Housing as well as the community resources available to support those Residents who are experiencing challenges.

  • Shauna McClelland

    Shauna McClelland

    Reporting Assistant

    Shauna joined the OCHE team in November 2018. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in sociology from Mount Royal University and a diploma in community work from George Brown College.

    Read more about Shauna McClelland

    Prior to joining the OCHE team, Shauna worked with the City of Toronto’s Specialized Program for Interdivisional Enhanced Response to Vulnerability (SPIDER), Toronto Employment and Social Services, as well as on a sexual assault crisis line. Shauna brings to her role extensive experience with data management, research as well as a strong understanding of vulnerability.

Early Resolution Officers

Early Resolution Officers (EROs) work with tenants facing eviction and identify underlying issues preventing them from paying their rent. The EROs will work with tenants, TCHC and other stakeholders to resolve the unpaid rent and help tenants stay in their homes.
  • Picture of Amber Bourassa, ERO

    Amber Bourassa

    Early Resolution Officer

    Amber holds a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and Public Policy from Guelph University and a post-graduate certification in Alternative Dispute Resolution from Humber College. Amber began her career in social housing when she successfully completed a placement position at the OCHE where she was able to learn and understand the importance of equitable fairness amongst the Tenants of TCHC. With a passion for advocacy for senior and vulnerable people, Amber joined the OCHE because she realizes how important it is to help provide individuals with the tools they need to succeed through understanding and empowerment.

  • Glenn Holland, an Early Resolution Officer at the OCHE, and one of the people who helps TCHC tenants avoid eviction.

    Glenn Holland

    Early Resolution Officer

    Glenn joined the Office of the Commissioner of Housing Equity in August 2017, bringing with him an extensive background in Community Counselling, Adventure Therapy and Case Management. Glenn’s career began with the Ministry of Community and Social Services working with vulnerable youth in alternative custody environments to help them turn their lives around. Glenn continued his work with youth at the YMCA of Simcoe Muskoka working as an outreach counsellor and team leader for youth involved in the justice system. Glenn joined the Office of the Commissioner of Housing Equity because he recognizes the foundational role that stable housing plays in the mental and physical well-being of the most marginalized and vulnerable members of our community.

  • Johanna Vasquez, Early Resolution Officer

    Johanna Vasquez

    Early Resolution Officer

    Graduating with an Honors Diploma from Humber College’s Developmental Service Program, Johanna brings with her an extensive background in services to adults with developmental disabilities and dual diagnosis, and working in and supervising various settings, like residential supports, respite programs, and community participation programs.  Johanna most recently worked with the Ministry of Community and Social Services - Ontario Disability Support Program and understands the needs of the vulnerable tenants affected by low income issues.  Johanna joined the Office of the Commissioner of Housing Equity in October 2018 because she recognizes the need to use a unique approach to helping people and is passionate about educating people and empowering them to understand and navigate the housing system.

  • Nancy Lourenco

    Nancy Lourenco

    Early Resolution Officer

    Nancy joined the Office of the Commissioner of Housing Equity in June 2018, bringing with her a widespread Social Work background. Nancy holds a Master’s and Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from York University, and is a Registered Social Worker.  Throughout her career, Nancy has worked with the Domestic Violence Criminal Courts, frail and vulnerable seniors dealing with Alzheimer’s and Dementia, and most recently, as a Caseworker with the Ontario Disability Support Program.   With a focus on person-centered approaches to social work practice, Nancy joined the OCHE because she recognizes the need to advocate for those who are most vulnerable in society while respecting people’s values and putting people at the center of their care. 

  • Sandy Soares, an Early Resolution Officer at the OCHE, and one of the people who helps TCHC tenants avoid eviction.

    Sandy Soares

    Early Resolution Officer

    Sandy joined the Office of the Commissioner of Housing Equity in August 2017, bringing with her an extensive Social Work background. Sandy holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work with a minor in Public Administration from Ryerson University, and is a Registered Social Worker.  Sandy’s career began as a Child Protection Worker with the Children’s Aid Society where she assisted children, youth and their families facing challenges with addictions, mental health, abandonment, abuse, human trafficking, domestic violence and homelessness. With a focus on critical approaches to social work practice, Sandy joined the Office of the Commissioner of Housing Equity because she recognizes the need to bring awareness on how vulnerable populations are served and is committed to addressing their needs in a humane way.

  • Steven Iserhoff

    Steven Iserhoff

    Early Resolution Officer

    Steven holds a Bachelor’s degree in Geographic Analysis from Ryerson University. He has a background in the public sector, including international experience at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. Prior to joining the team at the OCHE, Steven worked in the Legal Department at TCHC. Steven is passionate about creating connections with tenants and providing support to navigate the community housing system.

INTEGRITY

IMPARTIALITY

INDEPENDENCE