WindsorEssex Community Foundation released its 10th annual Vital Signs report Wednesday with participants giving high marks for the quality of life in Windsor and Essex County.
Executive director Lisa Kolody said this year’s report revealed 83 per cent of respondents are generally happy in life always or most of the time.
It also showed increased positive feedback from youth aged 24 and younger who indicated that they felt Windsor and Essex County were doing great or on the right track int eh majority of issues areas, Kolody said.
The Vital Signs report, an annual community snapshot that also helps identify residents’ concerns, found improving access to mental health programs and services is a top priority, along with increasing opportunities for people to feel included and connected and increasing professional opportunities in the arts and culture sector.
Jennifer Matotek, executive director of Art Windsor-Essex (AWE) where the report release was launched Wednesday morning, said the data generated by the report has helped build capacity for artists in the community.
“We use the data to help shape our programs so we can offer what’s needed and wanted, and achieve our mission to inspire growth through the power of art,” Matotek said.
“AWE’s inaugural emerging artists-in-residence program, funded by (WindsorEssex Community Foundation) in 2021, was informed in part by the data we saw in Vital Signs.”
Kolody said the hope is the annual report “informs and inspires dialogue and collaboration to further our collective efforts to build healthy communities.
“The Vital Signs report outlines where the needs and strengths are in Windsor-Essex, what the community priorities are and it helps us determine where we can have the greatest impact locally through our grant making.”
This year’s survey results show 59 per cent of respondents think the community is on the right track and doing okay when it comes to people actively volunteering and/or donating to charities, while 70 per cent believe the same about the accessibility to youth of arts and cultural events.
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When it comes to educational opportunities, access to libraries, tutoring, literacy programs and workforce development, 58 per cent said the community is on track or doing okay.
However, improving the affordability of housing and availability of housing with different levels of assisted care and shelter for those people who find themselves homeless continues to be a priority year after year.
Seventy-nine per cent of respondents said improvement is need or should be looked into when it comes to the affordability of housing and 72 per cent feel improvement is needed when it comes to the availability of shelter to support the homeless population.
WindsorEssex Community Foundation is a perpetual community trust for philanthropic purposes that manages donors’ legacy funds and makes grants to support local community programs, establishing partnerships to assist a broad range of community organizations..
To view the entire Vital Signs report, visit wecf.ca.