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Windsor activists use graffiti to spread the word about poverty | Metro


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Windsor activists use graffiti to spread the word about poverty | Metro

  1. 1. October 17, 2012 Updated: October 17, 2012 | 4:15 pm Windsor activists use graffiti to spread the word about poverty ( Luke Simcoe ( Metro Windsor Want to learn more about the problem of poverty in Windsor-Essex? Just look down. In collaboration with a local design firm, an anti-poverty group in Windsor spent Tuesday evening spray-painting poignant messages on the city’s sidewalks. “One in 10 people that you pass on the street in Windsor-Essex are currently living in poverty,” reads one. “The average life expectancy for a homeless person is 39 years,” says another. Metro/Handout/Shane PotvinA sample of a spraypainted stencil from Pathway to Potential's anti-poverty campaign in Windsor, Ontario. Adjust Text Size Windsor activists use graffiti to spread the word about poverty |... 1 of 3 12-11-06 10:54 AM
  2. 2. Pathway to Potential ( (P2P) organized the stunt to celebrate the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty ( and draw attention to a report ( they’ve prepared outlining the state of poverty in the Windsor-Essex region. “For a lot of people, poverty really isn’t on the radar,” said P2P’s Adam Vasey. “We wanted to do something creative that would get people’s attention and have a lasting impact.” The group got permission from the city and used water-soluble paint made out of chalk, Vasey said. The report “Reality Check: Poverty in Windsor-Essex” and accompanying website ( along with the stencils for the signs were designed by local firm, Spotvin ( “Spotvin seemed like a great fit. They have a good track record and they’re a socially conscious group,” said Vasey. Spotvin’s Shane Potvin and Marcello Fontana also helped paint some of the signs. “I’ve got still got chalk all over my hands,” Potvin said Wednesday. Vasey said the larger goal of the campaign is to educate people about the economic impact of poverty. “There’s a direct correlation between poverty rates and the health of the community,” he said. “If the public can get a handle on the relationship between poverty and the economy, maybe they’ll start putting pressure on their elected officials to make the necessary changes.” It’s no secret that Windsor has been hit hard by the economic downturn, Vasey said. He estimates more than 38,000 people in Windsor are living below the poverty line and cites a rise in people using the food bank as evidence that things are getting worse. Among other things, P2P is calling for the creation of a national poverty reduction strategy as well as an increase in the minimum wage. “There’s a big gap between a minimum wage and a living wage,” Vasey said. Poverty in Windsor: The Stats Food banks in Windsor-Essex served 31 per cent of their meals, a total of 69,415, to children in 2011. More than one in three children living in poverty in Ontario are in families where at least one parent works the equivalent of a full-time, full-year job. More than 35 per cent of seniors in Windsor-Essex live on less than $20,000 a year. There are 18,500 social assistance recipients in Windsor-Essex. Thirty per cent of single moms live in poverty in the Windsor area. Windsor activists use graffiti to spread the word about poverty |... 2 of 3 12-11-06 10:54 AM
  3. 3. In Windsor, 34 per cent of the Aboriginal population was living in poverty in 2006. As of 2010, the youth unemployment rate in the Windsor area was 21.7 per cent. The Windsor Youth Centre serves roughly 1,000 meals per month to youth. Only 9 per cent of household rental properties in the City of Windsor are affordable to tenants with low incomes. Between 2009 and 2010, 4,592 individuals claimed bankruptcy in Windsor. All figures courtesy of ( ( Luke Simcoe ( Metro Windsor Windsor activists use graffiti to spread the word about poverty |... 3 of 3 12-11-06 10:54 AM