Housing Matters: What to Know for the Upcoming Federal Election

Housing Matters: What to Know for the Upcoming Federal Election

The past two years have certainly shed a light on where governments can best serve and we hope you’re encouraged to engage on the issues and vote, vote, vote!

Without a doubt, the pandemic illuminated for us all the importance of home for everyone. Home to keep us safe, keep us healthy, and keep us moving forward against the odds.

We hope you’ll take some time to get informed on this issue and the others that matter to you, and cast your vote on September 20th for the candidate and party you feel best reflects your values.

And to help with that evaluation, we are sharing a few key messages on housing to consider, along with resources to help you understand and evaluate the key party platforms on these issues, and ultimately cast your vote.

Here’s why we at NHA think housing is ALWAYS a primary election consideration, and why we think all people in Canada deserve a safe, appropriate home:

  • Preventing people and families from falling into homelessness eliminates the trauma associated with that experience and prevents ongoing inter-generational trauma from further harming children and youth.
  • We are a country of significant wealth and hold value in all Canadians being equal participants in community therefore it is an unacceptable circumstance that children and youth are subject to experiences of homelessness.
  • It is more fiscally responsible to treat the root causes of homelessness than it is to manage homelessness.
  1. The annual cost of for persons struggling with homelessness and mental illness has been estimated at $50K per person and for some highest users of the system as much as $340K.
  2. Contrast these numbers with the cost of housing first with supports ranging from $14K-22K. It costs NHA about $5000 annually to provide subsidized housing.

All people, regardless of income, should have the choice to live well in community.

Check out these helpful links compiled by the CBC:

You can also read through each party’s platform in its’ entirety on their party sites.

The Liberal Party Platform

The Conservative Party Platform

The New Democratic Party Platform

The Green Party Platform

The Bloc Quebecois Party Platform

The People’s Party Platform

To determine voter eligibility and where to vote, head to www.elections.ca and pop your postal code in the box on the left. They’ll tell you everything you need to know for both before and on voting day!

Regardless of how you vote, we hope this arms you with the resources to make the best decision for yourself and your community. Get out there, ask questions of our elected officials, and vote!

Collaboration with Calgary Dollars

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.


Community Stories: Meet The New Forest

Community Stories: Meet The New FOREST

Norfolk Housing Association is fortunate to own several commercial spaces in the heart of Kensington. The rents collected from these spaces are one of the important ways that we can maintain our ongoing operations. But more than that, these businesses are another key component of our community, adding to the vibrancy of the neighbourhood, the diversity of our model, and the relationship between neighbours and small businesses.

And as such, we think they’re worth celebrating! So this month, let’s get to know The New Forest a little bit better. It’s been a tough year and a half, and we’re so glad to have these folks as part of our community. We appreciate you supporting ALL small businesses in whatever way you can comfortably do so.

Ok, now let’s get to know The New Forest!

How long have you been renting commercial space from NHA and how did you first hear about us?

We have been renting from NHA for nearly 2 years. To be honest we didn’t know much about NHA, but the location and space were perfect for our needs. We spoke with the owners of InGear, located in the same building, and after giving you such a glowing review as landlords the decision was simple.

What were the key factors in choosing to rent one of our commercial spaces instead of others?

We didn’t really search out an NHA space specifically, but the location and exposure with such large windows was key for us. Having been in business before, we realized the importance of choosing the right location for traffic. Once we learned more about what you do it made us feel great knowing that our rent money was going to such a great organization, not just a random corporation.

Tell us a little about what sets you apart as a business.

What sets us apart is that we really set out to offer pet products that are well made, while being aesthetically pleasing. All of the brands that we stock are developed by people who go that extra bit to think about the design aspect of what they are making.

We also feel that our backgrounds – over 40 years combined experience in retail (the clothing and pet industries) gave us the ability to combine a traditional pet shop with a boutique feel.

We work in the store ourselves everyday, getting to really know our clientele, and what their needs are. It truly is a family business!

What does community mean to you/your business?

Community is very important to us. We live a couple of blocks away from the shop so we understand the importance of supporting the small businesses in the area. Without them it would not be the same experience living in the area. Lots of our customers even live on our street! Getting to know the people that directly support you is key.

We also offer a 15% discount to residents of NHA, as well as employees of the businesses around us. This pandemic has been so challenging for us all, it has never been more important to help out in ways that you can.

“Choosing to purchase something from a small business rather than Amazon truly makes a direct difference to all Calgarians.”

We also give back directly by supporting animal rescue – we donate $5 to the Humane Society from every bag of bulk dog biscuits that we sell.

What’s one thing that community members can do today to support your small business?

One way that the community members can support us is obviously choosing to shop at the store. But there are so many other ways, such as letting people know about the shop when they are at the dog park or doggie day care, posting pictures of purchases on social media and tagging us. Every bit helps in increasing awareness for our little shop!

You can find The New Forest online at www.thenewforest.ca or pop in at 1120 Kensington Road NW to check out their incredible range of fur baby approved goodies.

Building Healthy Communities