It’s a big day for tenants of “The Bridge” as they take occupancy of their new home at 224 Woodhaven Avenue in Steinbach.
Executive Director of Steinbach Community Outreach, Irene Kroeker couldn’t be more thrilled.
“We are feeling well, a little overwhelmed, but of course very excited. We have lots of work to do, all the handing out of keys, and then how to organize it all. I think we are at a point where we can actually get everybody in.”
In September 2022, SCO Board, staff and volunteers were part of a ground-breaking ceremony at the empty field where now sits a 24-suite, 3-story apartment building. At the time Kroeker noted this facility would be a dream come true, and today she says,
“I don't know if I ever thought that this day would come. Years ago, we already talked about this. These things don't happen just in a short time. And then the funding aspect of it is overwhelming. But Reg Penner, he took over on that one and it just happened very quickly after that. I'm quite overwhelmed and excited that this day actually can happen.”
“The Bridge” provides low-income individuals with an affordable rental option.
Kroeker notes the tenants are quite excited as well.
“We have met with every tenant, of course and discussed with them what it would be like to live at “The Bridge” and they are super excited, and we get lots of tears and hugs and it's quite an exciting time actually.”
She describes the rooms inside “The Bridge”.
“Well, the tenant and myself have discussed that quite extensively as we walk through, but we think it's awesome, it looks great. It's a modern type of decor. So, you have the light walls and the darker doors and then everything is matching inside with the countertops and the cabinets, so it's very modern and very nice looking.”
Kroeker notes her appreciation to the generous community of volunteers and donors.
“First of all, a huge, huge thank you for this (building). The people (tenants) that are in the building and will be in the building by next week are overwhelmed and excited to be. And it is only because of them (donors) and all the work that went behind it, the committee that did all the building, it's only because of them that we are able to have 24 people live affordably in here.”
When it comes to what else is needed to make sure the move-in and transition is smooth, Kroeker says,
“There are still some ways to be able to help these people. We are trying to get together enough curtains so that they can have curtains hanging over the windows. We're also trying to get together something that will welcome them into the building, and make them feel that they are appreciated, and that we enjoy having them there. So that means the smaller stuff, like maybe some toiletries to put into the bathroom there. We were thinking of maybe a basket of something to give them as a welcome. So, any donation like that would be so appreciated.”
Kroeker adds that mitts, toques, warm socks or a cup of coffee would also be great items to add to the welcome baskets.
Cole, one of the tenants that moved in on Thursday says, “I'm just so grateful to have this space. Like it's awesome. It's so nice. I haven't had my own space, so it's this is the opportunity here is amazing. It's awesome.”
Meanwhile, Office Manager at Steinbach Community Outreach, Charlene Kroeker says she had a very busy morning handing out keys to people moving into “The Bridge”.
“It's just life changing that for them to be in a building like this that's brand new and it's very exciting. We're very happy.”
The SCO Office Manager notes that it’s been a long time coming and has many people to thank.
“It’s just absolutely amazing. We just want to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts for everybody who put into this project. We want to send a special shout out to the team at TriCor who worked so hard on constructing this building and making it the best that it could possibly be for everyone who is moving in.”
She says they will have one SCO staff person in the building, if anyone has questions or concerns, that individual will be available to help out.
For now, Kroeker says, they are doing a staggered move-in, so, residents living along Woodhaven will notice activity along the street and on the parking lot for a couple of weeks. She adds to the list of donations they are still hoping to get to help the tenants have the best experience in their new space.
“Right now, we are looking for a few bed frames, things like that. Monetary for sure would be great so that we can keep the rents as low as possible. Donations like that would be absolutely fantastic.”
And to “The Bridge” residents she says,
“I hope you have a fantastic time in this building, and I hope that we can make a small difference in their lives.”
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