United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County in partnership with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation held their ‘Shaping Vibrant Neighbourhoods’ forum at the Ciociaro Club in Tecumseh today. Community leaders pledged to work more collaboratively to shape a brighter future for neighbourhoods in Windsor-Essex. To move the work of shaping vibrant communities forward, participants at the forum agreed to strike a committee made up of residents, non-profit organizations, and municipal government representatives.
The forum involved over 60 participants from non-profit and government organizations, including both administrative and political representatives from local municipalities. Participants heard presentations on neighbourhood renewal from the Cities of Hamilton and Toronto, and United Way of Greater Toronto, and took part in a large group discussion.
According to Statistics Canada, Windsor has the highest proportion of the low-income population living in very low-income neighbourhoods. This concentration of poverty in certain areas of our city creates unique challenges for residents and for those seeking to revitalize neighbourhoods and create a livable community for all. Some challenges include the stigma about the neighbourhood as it relates to crime, employment, and appearance, and challenges with declining population and a lack of investment dollars to keep the neighbourhood vibrant.
“It’s great to see we are moving in the right direction. We are excited to begin developing a plan to work with local governments to create sustainable positive change and strengthen communities,” says United Way CEO Lorraine Goddard. “The programs we support are focused on creating community connections and encouraging civic participation - which is the single most sustainable way to solve our pressing neighbourhood issues.”
“Having a committee with right people at the table is critical to developing a strong strategy. We need to find pathways to working in partnership with municipalities to work more effectively and achieve greater impact,” adds Goddard.
Last year, United Way’s neighbourhood programs engaged more than 4,500 people in five neighbourhoods – four in Windsor and one in Leamington.