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Essex County council updated on Pathway to Potential program

Essex Civic Centre.

Since 2008, Windsor-Essex has been engaged in a strategic plan to help reduce poverty in the region.

Through its Pathway to Potential program, it seems to be having an impact as there is a statistical reduction in those facing difficult economic times.

Last week at the Essex County Council meeting, an updated Pathway to Potential report was presented.

“We look forward to working together to help the vulnerable in our community,” said County Warden Hilda MacDonald.

According to the 2021 Canada Census, the poverty rate in the Windsor-Essex region was 7.5 percent which is down considerably from 15.5 percent in 2016.

Essex County is putting $670,000 towards the program this year in an attempt to reduce it even further. There are three major goals of the plan – strengthening priority neighbourhoods, advancing affordable regional programs and measuring regional impact.

“Since the start of the program, we have been able to consult significantly with folks across the region,” said consultant Chris Loretto.

He presented a 45-page updated report which has nine social investment priorities including creating inclusive opportunities for children in low-income families through recreation and culture and investing in neighbourhoods impacted by poverty and other complex community challenges.

“It’s very focused, streamlined and hopefully impactful strategy,” said Loretto.

Probably the most interesting part of the report was the consultants breaking down each of the seven county municipalities and indicating how many people are facing poverty.

Leamington has the highest poverty rate at 6.4 percent; Amherstburg, 3.3 percent; Essex, 3.6 percent; Kingsville, 3.6 percent; Lakeshore, 2.8 percent; LaSalle, 2.6 percent; and Tecumseh was the lowest of the seven communities at 2.4 percent.

Most of the towns saw those older adults, aged 55 to 64 are more likely to be experiencing poverty.

In the City of Windsor, the report notes that 10.8 percent are living in poverty and of that, the highest group is young adults ages 18 to 24 at 17.4 percent.

“We consulted a lot of stakeholders who are addressing poverty reduction,” said Loretto.

Essex County council updated on Pathway to Potential program

By Fred Groves

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