Building a strong, supportive and inclusive community

The City of Calgary’s Fair Entry Program and Community Hubs Initiative make a difference in the lives of low-income Calgarians

8 November 2021

The City of Calgary’s Fair Entry program lets low-income Calgarians apply for multiple programs and services with one application. This makes a difference in the lives of low-income Calgarians as it creates a dignified way of sharing one’s story without having to repeat the process of applying several times for many programs. This aligns with the Enough for All principle of “Focusing on the dignity of all.”

Acting Director of Calgary Neighbourhoods Melanie Hulsker shares “As an Enough For All partner, The City of Calgary is committed to reducing poverty in our community. The City’s Fair Entry Program is a great example of how we put our commitment into action by providing citizens with a ‘one-window-in’ application process to access many City programs and services at reduced rates taking into consideration a customers ability to pay based on their income.”

The subsidy programs included in the Fair Entry Program include:

  • Calgary Transit-Low Income Youth and Adult Monthly Pass
  • Calgary Transit Low-Income Seniors Yearly Pass
  • Recreation Fee Assistance
  • No cost Spay/Neuter Program
  • Senior Services Home Maintenance
  • Property Tax Assistance Program (including Waste and Recycling)

The Calgary Transit Low Income Transit Pass Program provides lower-cost monthly passes for adults, youth, and an annual pass for seniors. The City of Calgary first introduced a subsidized monthly transit pass for low-income Calgarians in 2005. The sliding scale fare structure was introduced in April of 2017. The City of Calgary undertook a survey of nearly 700 customers in the fall of 2017. Respondents to the survey indicated that changes to the price have made it easier to:

  • Access employment
  • Make social connections through visiting family and friends
  • Attend medical and other appointments.

Additionally, respondents to the survey indicated that other benefits to them included:

  • Having money available for expenditures on other necessities, such as food or shelter
  • Increased use of Calgary Transit to access the community.

It is an important initiative that addresses the Enough for All Transportation Lever of Change that must be addressed if we are to reduce poverty in Calgary.

The Recreation Fee Assistance program provides lower-cost fees for City of Calgary Recreation facilities, golf courses, leisure centres, and access to partnering organizations. This initiative addresses the Enough for All Physical and Mental Health Lever of Change.

The Property Tax Assistance Program is an annual program that provides a credit/grant of the increase in property tax for a property; anyone who is approved will receive an additional rebate from Waste and Recycling Services. This initiative addresses the Enough for All Income Support Lever of Change.

The Senior Services Home Maintenance program includes services for renters and homeowners including grass cutting, snow removal, and light house cleaning. The No cost Spay/Neuter Program provides free spay and neuter surgery for companion cats and dogs of eligible low-income Calgarians.

In addition to the Fair Entry Program, The City of Calgary is also intentionally activating six Community Hubs in Calgary that have been developed to increase social inclusion, economic participation and reduce poverty. The Hubs are located in the following spaces:

  1. Sunalta Community Association,
  2. Bowness Community Association,
  3. The Alex Community Food Centre,
  4. Village Square Leisure Centre,
  5. Bob Bahan Aquatic and Recreation Centre, and
  6. 1000 Voices at Genesis Centre.

The Community Hubs initiative is a partnership between the United Way Calgary and Area, The City of Calgary and the Rotary Club of Calgary, in support of the Enough for All strategy and goal to have ”all Calgarians live in a strong, supportive and inclusive community.”

Community Hubs are welcoming gathering places where everyone feels a sense of belonging. They offer opportunities to participate in a variety of ways, access a range of services, and advance community economic development.

Hubs empower residents to build the kind of community they want to live in and supports them in being the change they want to see. Where we live matters to people. Creating and sustaining neighbourhoods we want to live in and raise families in makes us proud to call it home, encourages a sense of belonging, and instils strong community attachment.

Community Hubs provide residents with a central access point for a range of health and social services. This includes social, cultural, recreational, and green spaces that promote a strong and vibrant community. Each Community Hub is as unique as the community it serves.

In 2020, more than 66,000 people accessed the Fair Entry Program, 269,940 low-income transit passes were sold and 123,866 people were reached through the Community Hubs Initiative.