Hey Neighbour! is a resident-led initiative aimed at increasing social connectedness, neighbourliness, and resilience in multi-unit buildings.
This is achieved by encouraging residents to get to know each other through activities organized by resident animators (RAs).
The program highlights the impact that increased sociability can have on the mental and physical health of the residents, and the role that municipalities, residents, and the housing industry can play in cultivating these connections.
Hey Neighbour! aims to:
- Increase sense of community amongst residents within their buildings
- Decrease frequency and intensity of loneliness among residents
- Support participating buildings to feel like home, and not just a temporary place of residence
- Increase sense of responsibility and care over common property amongst residents
Who's in your network?
A target of the Healthy City Strategy is for all Vancouverites to have four people in their network that they can rely on.
Hey Neighbour! helps to address this initiative.
How it works
Two to three residents are recruited to act as RAs to provide the initial leadership and excitement to get neighbour initiatives going. They receive a monthly honorarium in recognition of their efforts, and have access to an annual budget to help cover expenses for events and supplies.
These RAs can initiate events like board-game nights, potlucks, walking clubs, emergency preparedness workshops, skill shares, among other activities that bring neighbours together. They can also help build up a larger pool of residents that are interested and willing to help with these initiatives.
Property managers act as a close liaison for the RAs, assisting if they need access to an amenity room, leveraging their buying power to purchase supplies, having periodic check-ins, but largely allowing the residents to lead the charge.
Hey Neighbour! pilot complete
The program was introduced in 2018 as a one-year pilot program in two market rental apartment buildings, with support from planH External website, opens in new tab, BC Housing, Vancouver Coastal Health, City of Vancouver, and property management companies Concert Properties and Qualex-Landmark.
The pilot wrapped up in December 2018.
Feedback from partners and participants has been positive, reporting improvements to social connectedness, engagement, and tenant satisfaction. A formal evaluation of the pilot led by Simon Fraser University Urban Studies is underway and will be shared once complete.
Key documents from the pilot include:
- Hey Neighbour Pilot - Final report PDF file (2.1 MB)
- Hey Neighbour Toolkit - A manager's guide to creating community in buildings PDF file (850 KB)
- Hey Neighbour Recipe book - A resident animator's guide PDF file (3.7 MB)
- Pilot evaluation from SFU Urban Studies (coming soon)
The Hey Neighbour! pilot was designed as an experiment to learn about the potential of resident-led leadership in creating more socially connected buildings.
While we remain involved in an advisory capacity, the initiative has transitioned to the community for continued development under the name "Hey Neighbour Collective".
The Hey Neighbour Collective External website, opens in new tab is housed at the SFU Morris J Wosk Centre for Dialogue.
Stakeholder field trip
In fall 2017, we took a diverse group of stakeholders from the housing, public health, municipal, private and non-profit sectors on a Hey Neighbour! field trip to tour friendly buildings in Vancouver.
This provided an opportunity for the attendees to hear directly from the residents and property managers, and see the local best practices first-hand.
It also started a conversation around the importance of working collaboratively across industries to support increased sociability among neighbours living in multi-unit buildings.
We collaborated with industry leaders to research building social resiliency in multi-unit buildings and neighbourhoods. These partners include Happy City External website, opens in new tab, Resilient Neighbourhoods External website, opens in new tab, CityStudio External website, opens in new tab, and Vancouver Foundation External website, opens in new tab.
Let us know what works in your building that connects neighbours and creates community.