The INN, Steinbach’s first emergency overnight shelter is now closer to becoming a reality. Leona Doerksen, founder and board chair explains.

"We received news that we had obtained our charitable status in early June.”

Since then, The INN staff, volunteers, and board members have been busy promoting the shelter and were honoured to be the recipient of the donations collected during Steinbach’s Worship in the City church service in June.

"We are so grateful for the ‘Worship in the City’ committee who chose The INN as the charity to receive the offering this year. We received just under $7,500 from the service and online giving."

Leona Doerksen (right) with Kim Heidinger (left) during Worship in the City in June. "The INN" board members, Leona Doerksen (right) with Kim Heidinger (left) during Worship in the City in June. 

Doerksen notes the positives of their newly acquired status. "With our charitable status, we were able to launch our website and set up online donations.” She thanks volunteers Vadim Konoson and Celine Harris for their work.

Reflecting on the rigorous process involved in obtaining charitable status, Doerksen acknowledges the dedication of Matthew Frischbutter, their Treasurer, and Chartered Accountant for making sure they were aligned with the CRA, Housing First Strategies, and with federal and provincial guidelines.

Doerksen adds, "Now, any business or person who wants to donate financially or with in-kind work will receive a tax-deductible receipt. This was crucial for our fundraising campaign."

She says they have seen overwhelming community support, with multiple churches hosting fundraising events and local businesses contributing to their seed fund, adding that, "Going forward the RBC will assist us in securing grants for capital and staffing costs from federal, provincial, and municipal levels of government.”

"We have also sent letters to 70 churches in the southeast, in hopes that many will be able to pledge to support The INN on a monthly basis, to help with our operating costs."

Doerksen notes that their direction has not changed. "Our goal is still to provide person-centered care, where future guests of The INN won’t have to rely on public facilities for basic needs."

The INN's Worship in the City booth, during Steinbach's Summer in the City this June.The INN's Worship in the City booth, during Steinbach's Summer in the City this June.

Regarding, when their new 1,500 sq ft facility will be built on the property of 447 Main Street, in Steinbach, she says that Hillside Construction has come on board and will act as General Contractor for the construction project when that time comes.

Doerksen adds that the start date of construction will also depend on the generosity of the community. "We already have many in-kind offers of labor for the build."

She adds her gratitude to the community for their patience and encouragement.

And to Steinbach and area residents who had questions about the shelter, Doerksen adds that they have reached out to neighboring businesses and residents.

"We held a Coffee and Conversation event to address any concerns about the shelter's impact. I would like to thank Art Enns for clarifying the facts, and the EMC for hosting. As a board, we are committed to open dialogue. We encourage anyone with questions about building a Housing Focused Shelter, to reach out through our website."

Doerksen speaks with optimism about the future of The INN, emphasizing their dedication to creating a supportive environment for those in need.

"We're learning and growing with the community, and we're grateful for everyone's ongoing support. The INN looks set to become a beacon of hope and support for individuals experiencing homelessness in Steinbach and beyond."