Job Title: Chief Operating Officer (COO), Capital Region Housing
Why He’s Top 40: He sees social housing as a means of connecting people with their community over the long term, rather than just a temporary fix.
Guilty Pleasure: “It’s definitely watching The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. There are lots of men’s men here and they rake me over the coals, but I’m comfortable with me.”
Mark Hoosein was once invited to visit an impressive cabin by an MBA classmate. The sixth level housed a hot tub, but the most awe-inspiring aspect is that it was blasted into a cliff face. On the ride home, another classmate told Hoosein he’d grown up in social housing and had never seen a house like that.
“I thought: ‘We’re all the same now.’ Education was the great equalizer. My classmate was able to have stability and pursue education because of social housing. It’s why I do what I do,” says Hoosein, who is the Chief Operating Officer of Capital Region Housing (CRH).
Born in Edmonton, Hoosein is the son of two immigrants who came to Canada from Guyana with nothing and built a life and home in order to give Hoosein every opportunity. “My wish is that every family has this opportunity, and that is the throughline of my work in both my industry and community,” he says.
That throughline includes involving himself in a new shift at CRH – rather than just providing social housing, the organization is working to end poverty through initiatives like The Edmonton Londonderry Project. The pilot project involves various types of housing at multiple price points; as people’s financial situations improve, they can still remain in the community, or unit, where they’ve set down roots.
He also volunteers as treasurer and secretary at both the Ottewell Community League Playschool, where his son attends, and the Friends of the EPL respectively. The playschool at one point faced financial uncertainty as the fee structure that was in place couldn’t cover the cost – but Hoosein found a way to maintain stable funding while ensuring all children could remain there.
“Some of those kids might not have stability in their homes but for the half a day they feel like everyone else.”