Headway Steinbach presented in front of Steinbach City Council at their previous Strategic Priorities Committee meeting to ask for the City’s continued support and share statistics on how Headway is helping people in the area. 

The last few years, Headway has received $8,000 annually from the City, They are asking for an increase to $10,000 this year due to inflation. 

Brenda Brown, Coordinator of Headway, says 94 percent of their youth have shown a reduction in criminal charges, and 73 percent since joining Headway have an improved living situation. 

“So many of the kids and adults that we work with have struggles with their living situations in terms of, do they have suitable housing? Is there a lot of conflict at home? Is there enough food in the house?” 

Headway assesses their clients’ situations and gets them support and resources. 

“All of our youth are accessing new services that they didn't before because they didn't know about them, they didn't know to access them, they didn't know how to apply for them, things like that.” 

75 percent of the adults at Headway who have mental health concerns access treatment. 

Brown says Southern Health is doing everything they can.  

“I know that they have a shortage of workers, even if they had a full staff, they would not be able to take all of the clients that have needs just because of capacity.” 

Because of this, Headway has partnered with local therapists who are willing to do some pro-bono work. 

“Otherwise, our adults and youth could be sitting on a waiting list for 1-2 years, and by the time someone decides that they have the courage to get mental health support, if you're going to make them now wait a year and a half, that is just a recipe for disaster.” 

93 percent of adults at Headway have an improved living situation. 

Brown explains what this may look like for the adults in their programs. 

"Sometimes that it has been because from homeless to housed, sometimes it's been from living on their friend’s couch to getting a place of their own. We've had one man move back in with his parents, which was really great, took a lot of swallowing their pride, but it's been very helpful for them.” 

75 percent of kids and 89 percent of adults at Headway are showing fewer risk factors. 

Headway tracks risk factors through a national database where they can see safety priorities both provincially and locally. 

At a local level from 2022 to 2023, criminal involvement in Steinbach and area with Headway clients has significantly decreased, however, the other four areas have significantly increased. 

Brown informs that mental health as a risk factor increased by eight times, substance use by 11 times, anti-social problematic behavior which is non-criminal in nature has increased four times, and victimization three times.  

“So that is not positive, but I love that the criminal involvement has come down and we are working at getting resources and support to our clients for those other issues.” 

The top risk factors for their youth clients are mental health and school-based issues, along with two new top risk factors which are parent-child conflict and risk of human trafficking. 

In regards to human trafficking, Brown says they have noticed kids' engagement with social media is continuing to rise.

“And that is a very unsafe place.” 

She has been a part of a couple of situations where they have been able to identify that risk. 

“And the youth, as well as the parent, are shocked, they are like 'oh, we didn't see that coming’ or ‘we didn't realize that's what that was’. The whole grooming thing, often meeting somebody online that's telling them they're beautiful and whatnot. We've been able to stop that. but it is very terrifying,” she says. “I have four teens of my own and just constantly teaching them what is appropriate and what is a warning sign of that.” 

Brown asks the community to create a continued awareness of Headway. 

She says if you know someone who is struggling, wants to turn their life around, and doesn’t know where to start, send them to Headway. 

“Even if they don't meet our criteria, we're happy to work with them for a few meetings just to point them in the right direction and make sure that they have the support and resources that they need.” 

To reach Headway, contact 204-320-8202.