As one person moves off the streets and into a home, there are many more homeless people in Steinbach who are suffering from the cold weather.
Ben Reimer is sharing his story with hopes of encouraging us to continue to help those who are still without a warm place to live.
In October, Reimer unexpectedly found himself without a home and no money. He says there are not many options in Steinbach when it comes to renting a place when you have limited funds.
“It’s a struggle because rent prices keep going up,” he says. “For a single guy on EIA, it makes it quite difficult because there's a limit on how much rent you can pay, right? It makes it quite hard for a single guy to find an affordable place.”
For three weeks, in October and into November, Reimer lived in a tent with a sleeping bag, along with a few other items.
“It was hard to go away and knowing that you could come home, and your stuff just be gone,” he says. “Well, that was a constant thought in the back of my mind every time I went away. ‘Is my stuff still going to be there when I go back?’ It was just very stressful.”
Along with worrying about the safety of his belongings, Reimer says it was very cold as winter weather set in. The lack of washroom facilities also created challenges.
With the support of Steinbach Community Outreach, Reimer now has a warm home, good friends and a support network.
He says it is still hard to fall asleep each night, knowing there are still people who are freezing outside.
“I lay in my bed at night, and it hurts me inside to know that I can't help them and that there is nothing for them,” he shares. “I feel like I need to help them, and I can't.”
Reimer says he knows many people who are homeless and would like to see a warming shelter in Steinbach, sooner rather than later.
“What is it going to take?” he asks. “For someone to freeze to death?”
Reimer urges us to remember that people do not choose to live without a home, to live in the freezing cold elements. And he asks us to treat homeless people with dignity and respect.