Calgary Dollars offers innovative solutions for CHC Tenants
Calgary Housing Company partners with Calgary Dollars on projects designed to help tenants unlock assets in the community, and within themselves.
Calgary Housing Company (CHC) and Calgary Dollars (C$) have partnered for the last three years on a program designed to empower CHC tenants by using a local currency system to purchase goods and services from businesses and other users. In some cases, tenants can even use Calgary Dollars to pay a portion of their rent.
Calgary Dollars, known as a complementary currency, can be used as a form of exchange with any of the hundreds of individuals and businesses in Calgary that have signed up with the program. The main aim of the program is to create stronger community connections by providing additional ways for people to support local and to shop locally. The program is operated by the not-for-profit Arusha Centre which focuses on community building and sustainability.
Successful pilots at CHC’s Manchester, Lumino, Chinook and Louise Station communities throughout 2019 and 2020 encouraged tenants to use Calgary Dollars to exchange goods and services with each other, or to buy goods from partners like Fresh Routes Mobile Market.
Calgary Dollars has also helped tenants at some CHC properties launch initiatives like the “Sharing is Caring Library” – a tool and equipment library at CHC’s Manchester building. In this program tenants can earn C$ by helping manage the tools and equipment (like a carpet cleaner, drain snake, vacuum, and simple household tools) and ensure that borrowers know how to use them, and also return them.
Calgary Housing Company and the other partner housing providers, Calgary Urban Project Society (CUPS), Norfolk Housing, and Inn From the Cold, were also able to create customized “subnetworks” for tenants to connect with each other in their communities. The subnetwork design allows residents in specific buildings to meet, engage, and earn recognition credits for helping one another or their housing provider.
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“What I’ve saved in C$, is helping make a holiday meal for 6 in my building” ~ Margaret
“What I can pay for rent in C$ is my spending money that I wouldn’t have otherwise” ~ Jean
“I know January is a bad financial time for me so I save up my C$ and use them for rent then to make it less stressful” ~ Saul
“The C$ reward encouraged me to, for the first time, put up Christmas decorations” ~ Hank
“Calgary Dollars has assisted us with our mission by creating conditions for residents to become more independent while simultaneously creating greater community.” says the Christina Budnick, Partnership Coordinator for Calgary Housing Company. “CHC is committed to providing affordable and dignified housing to Calgarians in need. Our collaboration with Calgary Dollars has assisted us with this mission by creating conditions for residents to become more independent while simultaneously creating greater community in our participating units.” The program has helped CHC residents discover alternative methods for earning supplemental income while developing skills and relationships with people in their community. In the CHC pilot, one hundred per cent of Calgary Dollars earned were used for basic needs or for community building exchanges.
The Calgary Dollars model is truly a demonstration of partnership, as the program received seed funding from the Home Program, a City of Calgary Affordable Housing Grant program that provides funds to local non-profits for initiatives designed to improve the non-market housing system. The Home Program invests in projects that contribute to improving housing stability and successful tenancies, and Calgary Dollars is a great example of how innovative initiatives can make life better by helping CHC residents unlock assets within themselves.
What can users spend C$ on?
View these and other listing on the C$ Marketplace.
~ Photocopies & Printing!
~ C$ Community Market
~ Jaunty Gypsy Jewelry
~ Bracelet Making
~ Math Tutoring
~ Earn C$ by Delivering Flyers
~ Drumming Lessons
~ Calgary Transit Tickets from Calgary Dollars
C$3.50/ticket, C$35 for a book of 10
Email email@example.com for info
Other marketplace categories include:
~ Local Businesses & Retail
~ Food and Restaurants
~ Free Goods and Services
~ Leisure and Entertainment
~ And more!
You Could Win $500 in C$ for participating in these or other C$ initiatives!
How to get involved
There are a few ways to get involved with Calgary Dollars. Join an upcoming virtual social or C$ roundtable and be entered into a draw to win $500 in C$!
C$ Virtual Meetups!
Calgary Dollars Virtual Social: Every Wednesday at noon (12pm)
Calgary Dollars Roundtable: Alternating Tuesdays at 6pm (Feb 23, Mar 9, Mar 23)
You Could Win $500 in C$ for participating!
Tenants at participating CHC properties can get involved with their property level marketplace, and are also eligible to use C$ to pay up to $100 towards a portion of rent!
C$ Virtual Sessions and Meetups
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, C$ has been hosting weekly virtual sessions at Manchester and Louise Station properties to chat about community building and personal issues, as well as to help participants develop digital and financial literacy while they learn how to manage their C$ account on the mobile app or website.
Calgary Dollars is also hosting C$ Virtual Meetups every Wednesday and Roundtable Discussions every other Tuesday.
For more information about C$ sessions, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
Program for using up to C$100 towards Rent
At CHC’s Manchester, Lumino, Chinook and Louise Station properties, C$ can be earned and then used to pay a portion of rent. One CHC resident has earned new revenue by selling her handicrafts for partial C$, and been able to use up to C$100 towards rent some months. She has also used her C$ to buy groceries from Fresh Routes Mobile Market, which accepts 50% of payment in C$. This resident also helped her neighbour who doesn’t have regular computer or phone access to manage her C$ account. This developed into friendship where the two continued expanding their digital and financial literacy skills together.