We caught up recently with Jaime, a long time member of the Kanso family, to talk about her work – and the people she’s proud to serve.
Q: Tell us about your role with Kanso?
I’m a HUD Specialist, and that entails submitting data to the government’s Housing and Urban Development on behalf of low-income housing agencies, and making sure they’re compliant for reporting purposes. Not only do I submit all their data, but I also analyze it to ensure it’s in compliance – and then make corrections where needed.
Q: Why is that important to your clients?
People depend on me to get the info that our clients send to HUD in a timely manner, and my rule of thumb is that it will always be submitted the same day that they send it. We do have some agencies that use our software, but they submit the data on their own. But they often end up calling me to help them.
Q: Why is that?
I think a lot of our clients are understandably frustrated with the process, so when they call us, they’re upset because maybe they don’t understand what HUD wants them to do. So my job is to calm them down, and say this is what they want, and we can help, and then put the fire out.
Q: What’s the biggest challenge in putting those fires out?
I think it’s all about getting clients to understand how things work with HUD, starting with how to read the reports that they issue. Everything begins with the 50058 Form that you submit, and then it goes to reports. We also have the income verifications that those 58’s get reported to. So it’s a big process.
Q: What do your clients mean to you?
I feel like the work I’m doing makes an impact for my clients. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting several of them face to face at conferences over the years that I’ve been here. And I refer to them as “my babies,” because I take care of them, and I’ve been working with so many of them for so many years. When they call me for something, it’s like I’m talking to a friend, not a client.
Q: How did you join Kanso?
That’s kind of an interesting story. My background is accounting – I have an Associates Degree in Accounting. I’ve done Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, and I was actually working at a bank at the time that the position with HDS (our previous company name) was mentioned by a friend. She said, “Do you want to work in Housing,” and I said, “Sure, let’s give it a whirl.”
Q: And over 16 years later, are you still happy you gave it a whirl?
I’m very happy where I am, and I don’t see myself doing anything else. And even though I’ve been doing this for a long time, I still learn new things every day.
For example, HUD has come out with this latest thing, because of COVID: they have housing emergency vouchers that were issued to several agencies in the country, so that required some new setup in the our HDSWin software to facilitate the new vouchers. It just seems like there’s something new, and things never get boring or dull here.
I still think of Kanso as a new company, but we have old, traditional values. Being that I’ve been with them so long, I see how deep the roots run in this company, and we want to make sure that we convey that to clients: that we truly care about what’s happening in the housing sector, and that we’re furthering our presence in the housing industry by making things easier for them.
We’re a great, laidback, innovative company, and we have a great team that’s not afraid to take chances and risks. I think we’re really going places in the housing and homeless sector.
Q: And when you’re not making things easier for clients, what do you love to do outside of work?
I love to garden. In fact, I have a small vegetable garden and a ridiculous amount of flowers. I also like to cook and bake, hang out with friends – and we’re even buying a new UTV (Utility Terrain Vehicle), and we’re very excited to take it out exploring around where I live in Wisconsin.
Q: That sounds amazing! Final question: what’s one thing people are surprised to learn about you?
I may seem like I’m quiet and shy on the outside, but that’s definitely not the case. I have a great sense of humor, I don’t sugarcoat anything, I’m not Willy Wonka, and I like to tell it like it is.