The Executive Director for Steinbach Community Outreach says it feels as though more and more people are in need of their services.

Steinbach Community Outreach, located at 345 Loewen Boulevard, is there to assist people experiencing poverty and a lack of housing. It seeks to accomplish this by meeting essential needs such as food, shelter, clothing and relationships. 

Irene Kroeker says it has been a very busy summer for their organization. She notes more and more it seems that their services are needed for individuals needing to fill out forms. This could include everything from helping someone fill out an application for an apartment, to filing someone's income taxes.

"We did so many people's income taxes this year, hundreds," she says.

Kroeker explains we live in a world now where so many things are applied for or accessed online. And, what happens when you have a homeless person who needs to fill out a form but does not have Wi-Fi or even a computer to complete what we may consider to be a simple task?

Kroeker says another one of the services they offer is to help their clients with budgeting. 

"That's usually the number one thing we do when we sit down with them first because that is their main issue at the time," she says. "We go through it with them so that they understand where the thoughts are coming from and then we go from there."

Kroeker says she has been doing this for 17 years and while the number of homeless people in Steinbach has certainly increased over that time, the difference might not be as great as one might think. 

"It is just very much more visible," she says. "People on the street can actually spot who is homeless and who is not, very often."

Steinbach Community Outreach will be the recipient of funds raised from Wednesday's Taste of Summer Charity BBQ in downtown Steinbach. Held every Wednesday in July and August, this event invites individuals and families to join together at the corner of Main and Lumber, right in front of Steinbach Credit Union, for lunch from 11 am to 1 pm. To participate, all it takes is a minimum donation of two dollars for lunch, but organizers kindly request attendees to consider contributing more to support local charities. 

Kroeker says money raised at Wednesday's event will go towards programming.

"It will come into our drop-in centre so that we can work with people more than what we have been doing," she says. "Everything of course is tight; grocery money is huge for a lot of people and so we do want to help."

Meanwhile, Kroeker says their organization is already starting to prepare for the fall and winter seasons, noting it is a scary thought that some people will be sleeping outdoors in winter. She says in addition to clothing, if people are looking to make a donation, they could use tarps as that is something that homeless individuals are constantly asking for. 


With files from Dave Anthony and Michelle Sawatzky


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