As we come up on a year of “life with COVID”, NHA is taking stock of all the ways that we can continue to support residents through these truly trying times. With no clear end date on the horizon, but hope for something like normal life soon, we are focused on keeping residents safe, housed, engaged, and informed.
Here’s what we’ve been up to, and what we plan to continue doing:
Residents are being asked to complete this survey by Feb 15th to let us know how else we can engage digitally or “from a distance” – your input matters to us!
When the first wave of the pandemic hit, we upped sanitization efforts in the buildings to 3 times daily, 7 days a week. As new information came out about the limited spread of the virus through surfaces, and as residents became more aware of how to best protect themselves in common areas, we shifted to a once daily deep sanitization in every building. Every railing, mailbox, door handle, washer, dryer, every shared surface gets a good bleaching once a day and we will continue with these measures indefinitely. In addition to these efforts, we also installed sanitizer stations throughout the building common areas for residents to use as they come and go.
Preventing people from falling into homelessness is what we do! So we worked with residents to manage rent payments through job loss, while waiting for CERB and EI payments, and/or decreased hours and security of their situation. While this takes on various forms and is highly contingent on each person’s circumstances, we encourage all residents to get in touch with us before missing rent payments to discuss options.
While it would be a stretch to say it’s been helpful to have to wait longer times between entering units after move-outs and before move-ins, we will say that we’ve been using these lemons to make lemonade. The longer times between occupancy have enabled us to do some more in-suite upgrades that otherwise might have to wait or that would disrupt current residents. In tangible terms, this means that more of our units will be ready for easier move-ins down the road AND at the level of quality that we like to maintain. Quite a sweet lemonade, after all!
Partnerships are an incredibly important part of what we do. They allow us to focus on the business of keeping people safely and appropriately housed, while ensuring that those who require or desire supports still have them. Calgary Dollars, especially, has been instrumental in engaging with residents in the past months and creating opportunities for safe learning, sharing, accessing food, and more. In fact, residents of all incomes can earn Calgary Dollars and use those dollars to pay a portion of their rent with us – a huge help for some in these uncertain times!
Our commercial residents matter to us, too! They’re an instrumental part of our community and we were diligent about staying in close contact to work together to ensure their survival through this chaotic time. We provided various forms of partnership to ensure the longevity of their businesses, including through the CECRA, payment plans, and deferred rents as applicable. We are so happy to say that all three commercial residents have survived – but we’re not out of the woods yet. Please support local if you can!
No doubt there will be ongoing changes and challenges as our governments work hard towards vaccinating the majority of the population – but we are determined to find ways at every stage to support everyone who makes their community with NHA. Thank you for continuing to support each other with kindness and patience!