In late 2018, Norfolk Housing joined forces with Calgary Dollars and the City of Calgary, to implement the use of Calgary Dollars among residents as a platform for engaging with one another and improving quality of life.
Calgary Dollars (C$) is a local and complementary currency. This means Calgary Dollars are only used in Calgary, and can be used to help purchase goods and services from businesses and other users. Local currencies like Calgary Dollars aim to help foster stronger community connections by facilitating and encouraging local consumption (taken from www.calgarydollars.ca).
The anticipated outcomes included providing residents an opportunity to offset their rent, to connect with one another, support one another, and to build up skills and even employment opportunities.
The Calgary Dollars team has worked persistenly with residents to achieve these aims, and showed up consistently during the pandemic (at a time when it was exceptionally difficult AND increasingly necessary). We are so thankful for the support that Calgary Dollars was able to provide to our residents (and staff!) throughout the pandemic.
And so, our partnership with Calgary Dollars has only strengthened with time. Calgary Dollars is used to incentivize resident engagement and pride of place within the Norfolk resident community. This program also contributes to increased resident participation in community well-being activities, and supports NHA through savings of admin time and ongoing resource support.
Calgary Dollars are accepted for a portion of rent fees by Norfolk Housing and Norfolk pays or incentivizes residents for various activities (see below). Residents can also earn by posting advertisements on the Norfolk Network – a “safe”, neighbours only, network just for us and our residents.
Common Ways Residents Earned C$ – Attending digital skills sessions; delivering NHA’s monthly newsletters; making positive window messages; attending the Community Advisory Group (CAG) and helping build a stronger and more transparent community; attending community events and workshops such as the Environmental Sustainability workshop; storytelling, sharing family histories and travel experiences with the community; hosting events and workshops such as yoga or a technology support hub; participating in Calgary Dollars ambassador programs; weeding and gardening; managing in-building recycling and overflow.
NHA staff will continue to work closely with Calgary Dollars staff to ensure three main outcomes moving forward: improved resident health, improved NHA and resident environmental stewardship, and resident access to income and other supports.
At NHA, we believe that everyone has the right to community and home – and the right to self-determination about how and when they want to interact with that community. By offering programming and opportunities in partnership with Calgary Dollars, we hope to enable easier integration into community in a variety of ways that are available to everyone. Participation in these programs and all others is optional and we’re happy to say that engagement remains a blend of social impact renters and those who pay rent geared to their income, further showcasing the effectiveness of the mixed income model in building healthy, thriving communities where everyone belongs.