Steinbach Community Outreach is seeing a noticeable increase in homelessness.  

Drop-In Centre Director Myra Gerbrandt says there is always fluctuation in the homeless population in Steinbach, but this most recent increase is very noticeable. 

“There's been quite a few evictions. The homeless population seems to have surged in the last few weeks, and so we have a lot of people here that are looking for places, a lot of people here that are sleeping on the couch because they've been walking around and wandering around all night, which is hard to see and it's hard to find help for them in terms of housing as well. It's heavy on our hearts.” 

Gerbrandt notes there also seems to be an increase in homeless people from outside the city seeking out Steinbach as of late.  

“I think some of it is word of mouth, people hear that we have amazing services in Steinbach and are drawn to that. And it's not even necessarily the services, I think it's the community piece of it. I think that they can tell there is a sense of compassion here in the community and people are drawn to that. So, we're seeing the homegrown homelessness, but also from outside coming in as well.” 

So, how does this change the way that Steinbach Community Outreach operates? 

Gerbrandt says “In some ways, it doesn't change. We always do what we can for every individual, and sometimes it just feels like it's not enough and we can't fix the issue, we can't fix the problem, so we just kind of just keep doing the things [that we can].” 

Steinbach Community Outreach does their best to help everybody, however, Gerbrandt says this influx does put increased pressure on their programming.  

“Financial donations are always so beneficial because we do help a lot of people enter into a new housing situation and there is some cost involved that we kind of put up front for them and help them, so financial donations go a long way for us.” 

On a more positive note, Gerbandt says The Bridge, which is Steinbach Community Outreach’s affordable housing complex, has provided many people with a place to call home. In fact, she notes they are in the middle of planning a barbecue for the residents as summer weather sets in.