Calgary Drop-In & Rehab Centre
The Calgary Drop-In and Rehab Centre is the largest homeless shelter in North America and is well-known in Calgary. In 2016 they purchased an old hotel in the city and wanted to renovate it to become a mixed-use affordable housing unit called Centre 4800. The city was in need of hope when it came to housing, but the DI faced huge opposition. They wanted people to know that this was not an emergency drop-in shelter, but rather a transitional housing unit that was urgently needed by the DI’s clients. We created a digital campaign that told some of the stories of the people who would be living in Centre 4800 and in a few short weeks the overwhelming support helped the project get approved.
At the beginning of 2016, Calgary was facing an affordable housing crisis. The Calgary Drop-In and Rehab Centre purchased an old hotel in the city and wanted to renovate it to become a mixed-use affordable housing unit called Centre 4800. Unfortunately, the DI faced strong opposition from not only community members, but also Calgary’s mayor who had recently been voted the ‘best mayor in the world.’ As the DI was heading into the final hearing on whether they would be able to move forward with Centre 4800, they needed a way to engage with Calgarians to support this project.
"I'm just like you."
Our team decided the best way to educate and engage Calgarians on the project was to tell some of the stories of the people who would be living in Centre 4800, and put faces to the issue of low-income housing in Calgary. We created a video series featuring different stories of people who needed housing. They were at the centre of a large content campaign that included infographics, blogs and sharable visuals across multiple social channels and ad display platforms. All of this led back to a website that housed a petition to support the project.
A victory for those in need
In just a few short weeks we received a huge outpouring of support from people across Calgary for the individuals who were featured in the videos. Ultimately, our campaign resulted in so much support from the community that Centre 4800 was approved despite opposition from powerful people. We far surpassed our goal of 500 signatures, receiving over 2,000.