From Resident to Employee

Even though it was nearly 11 years ago, and she was a junior high student, Jocelyn Vazquez very clearly remembers the moment when her family moved into the affordable apartment community of San Antonio Vista in Montclair.

Jocelyn’s parents had been struggling financially. “I remember my mom telling me, ‘Oh, we’re going to be going to a new place,’” Jocelyn said. “And we walk into the office, just seeing the staff, you know, greeting us, letting us know that we were going to be having a move-in date, giving us the house keys. I remember that. Oh, my little brother’s face, his emotions. He was so happy. And I was too. And thanks to that, my parents were able to manage their financials at that time.”

At 18, Jocelyn was able to move out on her own. She was working a job she disliked, but it paid the bills. She wanted something more, something that would lead to a long-term career. Although she was no longer a National CORE resident, she often visited her parents at San Antonio Vista. On one occasion that would become life changing, she struck up a conversation with Hope through Housing’s Regional Director for the Inland Empire, Sandra Bowers. Sandra listened as Jocelyn shared her goals for the future and began working with Jocelyn to create her first resume.

As she began pursuing career opportunities, Jocelyn found one very close to home. There was an entry-level opening for a leasing agent at National CORE in the community where she grew up. The staff at San Antonio Vista encouraged her to apply. Although she had no experience in property management, the National CORE team recognized her strong work ethic and dedicated customer service skills. She was offered the position.

Jocelyn began leasing up apartments, a job that she loved. It gave her great joy to tell families, some who had been on waiting lists for years, that there was an affordable apartment available to them.

“National CORE has changed my life in different ways,” Jocelyn said. “For me, being the person to give a house to someone that really does need it makes me feel good.”

Another key aspect of Jocelyn’s job was less familiar to her – collecting and helping complete the leasing paperwork, including forms and documents that confirm a prospective resident’s eligibility and qualification for an affordable apartment.

Jocelyn quickly developed her skill set and found that she had a keen eye for documentation as well as a passion for her work. Soon, she was promoted to assistant community manager. By taking advantage of the free, on-the-job trainings that are a key part of National CORE’s commitment to employee growth, Jocelyn was quickly promoted again. Jocelyn moved to the corporate office in her new role as a compliance auditor. In this position, she is responsible for auditing paperwork to ensure compliance with all affordable housing laws and regulations. She loves her new job because she recognizes the importance of every document, every number, every word. It can be the difference between a family continuing to struggle financially or being able to move into a beautiful home they can afford, just like her family once did.

Jocelyn said she sees a lifelong career for herself at National CORE, adding, “I love what I do and just come into work every day happy because of what I do.”

As Jocelyn reflects on her journey, she comments, “My parents actually still live at San Antonio Vista. I’m very thankful for the home that I had at that time. And that…” Jocelyn stumbles over her words and pauses to collect her emotions. “…My parents still have a home.”