What started out as a place where individuals struggling with addictions and life-controlling behaviours would find hope and healing back in 2013, has now returned to what Steinbach's Southland Church had originally intended the facility for.

Earlier this month, the two-storey complex off Westview Drive in Steinbach was gifted to Adult and Teen Challenge, by the church.

Daniel Emond of Adult and Teen Challenge explains that the need for this kind of facility is two-fold.

Firstly, Emond says, there is a desperate need for a facility that houses individuals who are currently part of the Adult and Teen Challenge 4-Tier program.

“There's just an overwhelming need that just continues to pile up in our 4-Tier program house in Winnipeg. It’s been over two years that we've had a waiting list and it's up to over 35 people right now, that we're telling, 'Sorry, you're gonna have to wait to get help.' And that just devastates us. And to me as a leader of this ministry, it's not acceptable for us to be in that place.”

A group of people stand and kneel for a photoAdult and Teen Challenge Staff (Daniel Emond - front/centre).

Secondly, he says, it’s important to realize that there is a drug problem in Steinbach, “Overwhelmingly, yes.” Emond proceeds to tell of an incident that happened at their Steinbach Adult and Teen Challenge Main Street office and Mini-Thrift Store grand opening this past August.

“During our ribbon-cutting ceremony, we had an incident where someone that was high on drugs showed up in the parking lot, while we were cutting the ribbon. They were having an episode, a drug-induced psychosis episode. Right in front of everybody that was there and so, yeah, there's no doubt, absolutely there is a drug problem (in Steinbach).”

He clarifies, “there are addiction problems in every community, and Steinbach (and area) is no different than any other community. And we have an answer for that and we're really, really excited to provide that hope.”

When asked about any possible concerns neighbours in the west-end of the city might have when hearing that anywhere from 30 to 40 people with addictions will be living in the facility, Emond says that all the other communities where these Adult and Teen challenge programs are running, there are individuals that are apprehensive and have concerns, at first, “but those concerns were alleviated right away by just reaching out to us and asking any questions that they might have. Our application process of bringing people into our in-patient programs is very strenuous. So, there's a great filtration process of people that are actually committed and ready to come into our programs. So yeah, there is a safety net there.”

Emond also mentions that the 30-40 individuals in the facility will not be alone. There will be support staff, counselling and opportunities for work experience programs. Upon completing the program, these individuals will be able to go back to university, get a job or start a career in the community and be successful. “And then, as we're walking alongside them, there is a timeline. There is a goal that they will be self-sustainable in the community, to be part of a local church, to be a contributing tax-paying member of society. So that's part of our goals”

The official change–over happens on January 1, 2022. As to when the rooms will be filled is still to be determined.

Emond says, they are now moving forward with fundraising and looking for sponsorships to help with the operating costs for this facility and its occupants. He says, “It’s gonna be a lot of the work. We are in the process of hiring staff and getting the program started. We have an amazing team and amazing strategy moving forward, but what we're really going to be asking people now is to donate what they can, to help us to fund our budget for 2022.”

When it comes to the 4-Tier program itself, Emond says to Steinbach residents, “We're just seeing great things. We're seeing miracles already happen just with people stepping out in faith and being vulnerable and just getting help. But also that people are realizing that the stigma of addiction is a lie and that everyone is susceptible to it and it's no respecter of persons and you don't have anything to be ashamed of it, we all need help.”

And to the local church, he says, “We're just so humbled by the leaders at Southland Church. There's just such gratefulness to them for being obedient in hearing from God and then making that call to reach out to us and to partner with us and to come help us put hope within reach of every family and provide freedom from addiction with the power of Jesus Christ. So, we're just very, very thankful.”


Written by Adi Loewen