May 6, 2014 1:49 pm

Winnipeg homeless shelter launches major expansion

WINNIPEG – Homeless shelters often say they’d love to go out of business, if they could. But their business is booming in Winnipeg and one of the city’s largest shelters is expanding to meet demand.

Siloam Mission announced Tuesday a $30.5-million expansion that would see the shelter add 160 housing units and a new front-line services building.

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“(It) will triple the size of our dining room so people won’t have to stand outside for meals or waiting in line for shelters,” said Floyd Perras, Siloam’s executive director. “(It’s a) very exciting day for us.”

The added units will help Siloam get closer to its Vision 500 mandate that would create 500 homes and 500 jobs within five years. The first step in the vision was Madison Lodge, a refurbished apartment building in Wolseley that provides housing to 85 people.

There’s a two-year wait list for people to live in the building, Perras said.

“The number of people we put in there last year, 83 per cent have remained in permanent housing, which is exceptional for this population,” he said. “Often if you get 50 per cent, you’re doing very well. So we’re feeling very pleased and happy about how well the Madison is doing.”

The expansion will be built onto Siloam’s existing facility on Princess Street. Perras hopes to start construction this fall. He hopes to raise up to $15 million from private donors and is waiting for government funding.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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