NHA's service delivery principles
Here at NHA, we have a lot of conversations with stakeholders about who we ARE and who we want to BE. And while sometimes a few of the words or plans change, it’s safe to say that at the CORE of Norfolk we still want the same things we’ve been built upon.
Here are our guiding Service Delivery Principles that we consider in every decision and interaction with residents, partners, staff, and our board.
Respect, Compassion & Dignity
In all aspects of our service and approach our aim is to demonstrate respect, exercise compassion, and protect the dignity of others. At the forefront of our values is our belief in and respect for an individual’s right to housing, self-determination, and the right to have a say in how their lives unfold.
Non-Judgement & Anonymity
People should never be defined by their annual income – income does not denote worthiness or validate the right to privacy and respect. It is never our place as providers of housing and property management service, to judge an individual’s history, circumstance, or financial capacity in relation to the housing or service they receive from us.
Poverty and homelessness incur a significant social and financial cost to society and may be traumatic for those with lived experience. We know that many Calgarians face hardship due to circumstances beyond their control. We exist to serve the community by providing a safety net, and by operating housing that is in good condition, is inclusive, and provides for community connection for residents at all income levels.
Responsiveness & Transparency
NHA has always valued resident participation, and this is reflected in our governing bylaws and articles of incorporation. While the board of directors employs a governance model of organizational oversight, it recognizes the importance of resident perspectives. It has been our experience that residents care deeply about what happens to the buildings they live in and want to see the association serve more Calgarians.
But that wasn’t enough for us. We recognized the value that giving residents a more direct line into the organization would offer (for residents, staff, AND the board!) and so in 2016 we started the Community Advisory Group. Meeting quarterly, the group ensures that communication, opportunities to connect, transparency, and the opportunity to participate in making our community better are at the forefront of our resident engagement.
We see value in creating relationships with residents built on respect for self-determination around how they wish to engage with the Norfolk community and beyond. We do not have requirements for residents to engage in any of our programming. (We do require residents provide income verification if receiving subsidized rent) All residents are treated as valued clients who are always entitled to excellent customer service and professionalism.
Each one of us at Norfolk would be proud to live in any one of our buildings. Of utmost importance to staff and the board is the health and safety of residents, the integrity of the structural elements and building envelopes, and finally that the units we rent are clean and leased out in the state that we wish to have them returned to us at the end of a residency.
This means we have high expectations of our maintenance staff as well as our residents in upkeep of our housing units. When we demonstrate that we care for our properties we see that residents also show the same care. Well-kept properties also enhance our relationships with our neighbours resulting in acceptance and integration of our housing without stigma.
We strive to run the organization through a sustainable social enterprise model whereby our basic operating standards and subsidy commitments are funded by reliable revenue streams, such as rents. We obtain funding from other sources, such as government, for specific projects or capital upgrades but always with a focus on long-term sustainability.
It is important for us to provide affordable housing in perpetuity for those who need it. Projects with a time horizon or a future transition off subsidy can be a good fit for some, but not all – recognition of this is critical to the stability of the housing market in Calgary and the future of NHA.
We recognize that there is immense value for low and moderate income Calgarians to have an opportunity to live in an amenity rich, vibrant community that provides access to reliable transit routes, community supports, shopping, schools, and employment opportunities. These amenities enhance quality of life and support increased diversity of neighbourhoods and that plays a huge part in the decisions NHA makes around steady, sustainable growth.
We cannot be all things to all people, and therefore collaboration and partnership is key in the delivery of community housing. We are stronger as a sector when we work together.
Sometimes this means we step aside and avoid competition if a partner is better equipped to deliver a project. The affordable housing sector serves a spectrum of complex needs and so it requires many partners to deliver critical services and social supports.
We also believe that as housing providers we should not have knowledge or control over the personal choices of our residents. What matters to us is that residents are safe, healthy, can live and manage their homes to our expectations as compassionate landlords. Information about a resident’s medical history or diagnosis, for example, should not impact their ability to remain housed if they are a good resident that pays rent on time and demonstrates respect for our buildings, neighbours, and staff.
We’d love to hear from you! What do you think of our guiding principles and did anything surprise you?
One of the most important things about who NHA is as an organization is that we value feedback from our stakeholders – and that means you!
We’re looking forward to another year of excellent service, thoughtful change, and aspiring to be THE standard for community housing delivery in our city. Happy new year!