A Winnipeg organization which helps people living in poverty and homelessness is expanding its shelter and programming space.

Siloam Mission has started construction on a two-storey, 54, 000 square foot building which will link its existing Princess Street shelter with the organization’s new 400-seat dining hall.

The expansion will create 50 new overnight beds, 33 of which will be for women.

Siloam Mission CEO Jim Bell said the organization needs to be able to provide more safe space on a daily basis.

“Right now, our existing facility, we have 110 shelter beds and we turn people away regularly,” said Bell. “We work with agencies around us on a daily basis but the need’s not going away.”

“To be able to do this and announce our next phase with our two story link, it’s a big day in the lives of many.”

Siloam Mission has launched a capital campaign to raise an additional $4.8 million for the $19 million project.

Philanthropists Bonnie and John Buhler donated $3 million and the federal and provincial governments as well as the city of Winnipeg have also contributed to the project.

The expansion will create more space for Siloam Mission’s health services and mental health supports.

“The bricks and mortar is important,” said Bell. “What’s bigger is it gives us opportunity to rebuild lives and restore dignity.”