It’s a dream come true for Steinbach Community Outreach. The non-profit organization which assists low-income households in the areas of providing food, clothing, shelter and connection had a sod turning ceremony Thursday morning at 224 Woodhaven Ave in Steinbach.
SCO staff and volunteers were on hand to celebrate the beginning of construction of “The Bridge”. An affordable housing project which will provide low-rent housing to low-income individuals living in Steinbach. The apartment building will have 24 bachelor and 1-bedroom suites, which will house low-income vulnerable individuals.
Irene Kroeker says, “it was about 2008 that we opened the doors to our new drop-in center. It was only a 200 square foot corner of our church and we thought we had the answer to our dream. To be there for the community that struggled with their basic needs. So, we added clothing and food and very quickly found that we needed more space and so we moved upstairs to our church and are currently operating out of 7000 square feet. Very quickly we realized that there was another very important need that was not being met, shelter. Affordable housing was at a minimum and very difficult to meet, so we began our three-tiered plan. 1) An emergency overnight shelter 2) A transitional apartment and now, the latest and largest plan, 3) an affordable housing apartment block.”
Kroeker says that together with Simone Penner they dreamt of the possibility of opening an emergency overnight shelter.
“I thought that was the pinnacle of our dreams. Who would think that we would one day manage a house and offer our community a safe and free space to spend the night? Our need increased and a generous donation from HYLIFE opened the doors to a Transition Apartment. Today, our dream has grown to a three-story affordable apartment.”
“Honestly, I never thought the day would come, but here we are. Thanks to our three-tiered levels of government, the foresight of our business community, and the hard work of all those involved here, this is a dream come true. We cannot say thank you enough times. There's no one more proud, more excited, and more ready for this to happen than we at Steinbach Community Outreach.”
Those in attendance at the sod turning included MLA Kelvin Goertzen, MP Ted Falk and Mayor for the City of Steinbach, Earl Funk.
In November 2021, Manitoba Housing in cooperation with the city of Steinbach, approved a grant of $1,337,500 to go towards the construction of “The Bridge”. To date an additional $1,033,000 has been pledged towards this project by donors from the community. Fundraising is on-going. The balance of the expenses will be financed through the Steinbach Credit Union.