Most people hear ‘affordable housing organization’ and assume a certain funding model often requiring fundraising or government intervention to support ongoing operations.
And for a lot of housing models, that is absolutely true and entirely crucial to success. Without funds to boost operations, organizations would be unable to deliver the critical services that they provide to populations in need.
But what if we told you that NHA’s unique mixed income model of housing rested in large part on social impact renters, partnerships, and community engagement to build capacity and enhance our effectiveness in delivering affordable housing?
At Norfolk Housing Association, our mixed model means that half of our residents pay rent geared-to-income – they pay a percentage of their income, regardless of what that is (with a minimum base), which allows persons on lower or fixed incomes to live in excellent, stable housing and be part of a community of their choosing.
The other half of our residents, the aforementioned “social impact renters”, pay market rent – rents normal to, or slightly below, the current market price for a given neighbourhood – knowing that in return for their rent payments they receive not only quality housing in a great community, but that they’re also promoting social good and a healthy economy.
Kind of cool, right?
The misconception here might be that only half of NHA’s population benefits from our mixed-income model. But that just isn’t true. In fact, our market renters are quick to share all of the ways they benefit from being part of our community.At NHA, it’s important to us that rent and utilities are kept affordable and stable for everyone. This means that we have a policy to never raise rents more than 5% annually – for any of our residents. Click To Tweet
At NHA, it’s important to us that rent and utilities are kept affordable and stable for everyone. This means that we have a policy to never raise rents more than 5% annually – for any of our residents. It also means that everyone, whether they pay market rent or not, has access to incentive programs such as Calgary Dollars, which allows residents to turn in a portion of their rent through Calgary Dollars instead of federal currency. That translates to savings across the board!
Beyond that, social impact renters have access to a diverse community with rich amenities in a sought-after section of the city. Not to mention, we’re pet friendly and compassionate, meaning they also get to live with the security of knowing that in the event of a major life change, they have landlords who will work with them to ensure their continuity of home, safety, and stability for the long run.
Together, through the mixed income model, neighbours advance an inclusive and respectful community; this ripples out of our buildings and is echoed into the communities that Norfolk serves (and beyond). Social impact renters are not the only reason the mixed model works – but they are a crucial piece of building a community that works for everyone.Social impact renters are not the only reason the mixed model works – but they are a crucial piece of building a community that works for everyone. Click To Tweet
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