Steinbach Community Outreach has made some big leaps over the last 12 months.
Back in late 2021, SCO first presented Steinbach City Council with a plan to build a 24-unit affordable housing complex and take advantage of a $1.3M grant that the province was offering through the city.
Executive Director Irene Kroeker says a lot has happened since then.
“I chuckle because it is a huge jump. For us. It was a lot for us to absorb and mull through and see whether we could actually do this and we felt we could and so here we are." She adds “The foundation is in. It is a struggle to get enough building material but it is going up and we are looking at about a year before we are actually going to be placing people in there.”
The affordable housing complex is being built on Woodhaven Avenue across from L.A. Barkman Park. They held a groundbreaking ceremony in early September and hope to move in sometime in late 2023.
In the meantime, Kroeker says their work at the Steinbach Community Outreach drop-in continues full steam ahead. She notes that has been an exciting ride this year as well.
“A highlight was the lifting of the COVID restrictions so that we were actually able to go back to having relationships with our clients. We really enjoyed that part!”
Kroeker notes this also came with its challenges as more people have been using their services.
“More people are struggling because of the increase in prices and groceries and toiletries and so we had to do that kind of problem-solving so that we could meet all of the needs. That was a big challenge.”
A challenge Kroeker says they are willing to embrace at Steinbach Community Outreach. She adds listening is essential.
“That is where our people living on the street come in and let us know what their problems are and so that is the focus right now in the drop-in, 'what do we do? How do we help them? How do we best help them? What actually helps them?' We don't want to do a band-aid solution, we want to do more.”
In addition to all of those services, Steinbach Community Outreach also operates Today House, providing temporary housing for those in need.
Kroeker says it has been a good, full year and they are looking forward to another one.