United Way Community Investment Priority:
Ensure that residents of Windsor-Essex County have access to food, shelter and other necessities that support and transition individuals and families towards greater independence.
There is likely no other area that has more impact or significance than an individual's ability to provide the basic necessities for themselves and their families. This includes the ability to provide adequate food and shelter. To provide the basic necessities, a person needs to have enough education, support, and skills to maintain employment and meet the demands of a changing economy.
For residents of Windsor and Essex County, this has been a growing challenge. Structural shifts in the automotive sector have resulted in high unemployment and a workforce with limited or no job options. As a result, in the last four years, Windsor-Essex County has seen a dramatic increase in the use of local food banks, 30% increase in applications for income assistance, as well as an increase in the number of families living in poverty.
United Way will invest in programs and services which focus on:
- Food security
- Income management, debt prevention and asset/wealth building
- House repair and maintenance
- Transitioning individuals from homelessness to stable housing
- Adult literacy
- Employment assistance
Why it matters:
- Almost 10% of Windsor-Essex County residents live in low-income situations.
- More than 35% of seniors live on less than $20,000 a year income.
- There were approximately 235,000 visits to food banks within Windsor-Essex County.
- Between 2005 and 2009, there was a 30% increase in the number of residents receiving Ontario Works income assistance.
- 46% of renters spend more than 30% of their household income on shelter costs.
- In spite of the low housing costs in Windsor-Essex, only 9% of household rental properties in the City of Windsor are affordable to tenants with low incomes.
Individuals and families experiencing low income will have increased access to nutritious and culturally sensitive food, knowledge about nutrition and cooking skills.
- Individuals and families experiencing financial distress will gain skills to manage their debt.
- Youth will gain the ability to make informed judgments and to make effective decisions about the use and management of money.
- Individuals and families will gain assets that lead to enhanced life opportunities, such as education and skill development.
- Volunteer home programs will complete repairs that address health and safety concerns and teach home repair skills for low income homeowners.
- Individuals, families and youth who are homeless or 'at-risk' of homelessness will obtain and maintain stable housing.
Families with low-income, low-literacy and/or no high school certificate will improve literacy skills and emphasize family reading;. Employed individuals experiencing low-income will acquire equipment, tools, and other items required for employment purposes and maintain employment or potentially improve their level of employment.
United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex will focus its energy and resources on Supporting Basic Needs & Independence, Positioning Kids & Families for Success and Creating Thriving Neighbourhoods. The following strategies
are being supported by United Way in order to achieve these initiatives.