Community thinks Windsor-Essex doing 'OK', Vital Signs report finds

The Vital Signs report covers 11 issues in Windsor-Essex. (Dale Molnar/CBC - image credit)
The Vital Signs report covers 11 issues in Windsor-Essex. (Dale Molnar/CBC - image credit)

The Windsor-Essex Vital Signs 2022 report is out and it reveals that residents feel we are doing "OK" when it comes to the quality of life in Windsor-Essex. But the head of the organization that prepared the report said the rating also means we could be doing better.

"This is the 10th Vital Signs Report that the Windsor-Essex Community Foundation (WECF) has released to the community, enabling us to track trends overtime," stated executive director Lisa Kolody.

The Vital Signs Report surveyed 1,000 respondents online on 11 issues including employment, health, safety and housing.

Respondents gave a C grade to most of the categories, with an F going to housing.

"Mental health has really taken a top priority. We have seen that evolve over time and after COVID it's not really a surprise, but the community is reflecting on it," said Kolody, adding that making a living wage is a priority that has arisen over time as well.

The report identified top priorities such as improving access to mental health programs and service, increasing opportunities for people to feel included and connected and increasing professional opportunities for those seeking employment in the arts and cultural sector.

"This survey and report was created in Toronto years ago and is now done all across Canada, the United States as well as globally," said Kolody.

According to a release from the WECF, the survey showed increased positive feedback from youth aged 24 and younger who said the area was doing great or on the right track in the majority of issue areas.

  • 59 per cent of survey respondents said that we're on the right track or we're doing OK when it comes to people in Windsor-Essex actively volunteering and/or donating to charities.

  • 70 per cent  of survey respondents said that we're on the right track or we're doing OK when asked if arts and cultural events are accessible to youth in Windsor-Essex.

  • 58 per cent  of survey respondents believe that on the right track or we're doing OK when asked if there are educational opportunities readily available in Windsor-Essex including access to libraries, tutoring, literacy programs, and workforce development programs.

  • 96 per cent of respondents said that Lake Erie's health is extremely important or moderately important.

  • 83 per cent of respondents said that in general, they are happy in life always or most of the time.

"Traditionally our youth have been more positive than others. But this year there was a really positive response," said Kolody.

But the majority of respondents said improvement is needed or we should look into this on housing issues such as affordability, availability of homeless shelter, and available housing with different levels of assisted care.

"The experience of homelessness in this city is quite top of mind for me and my family," Stephanie McGuire told CBC News. "The downtown area has been top of mind for us, feeling safe when we go down there."

"I'm in favour of affordable housing. At this time, kids will not afford a house. The price has tripled in the last few years," said  Soukhpal Banga in a CBC interview.

The executive director of Art Windsor-Essex, Jennifer Matotek, said in a release that the data in the report helps "shape our programs so we can offer what's needed and wanted."