Years of work and a multimillion-dollar fundraising campaign culminated in the official opening of a new 54,000-square-foot expansion at Siloam Mission in Winnipeg on Wednesday.
The new Buhler Centre on Stanley Street, which connects to the mission’s main building on Princess Street, adds 43 beds to Siloam’s homeless shelter. It has dedicated space for women, as well as more space for health and wellness programs and other services.
“We’re grateful for the space, but what goes on in the space is the critical piece, because the needs of our community have grown,” said Jim Bell, CEO of Siloam Mission.
The added space will bring the total number of shelter beds to 153. In addition to more space for shelter beds, the new centre offers job training, mental health care and spiritual services.
Part of the focus of programming at the centre will be helping people transition into permanent housing, Bell said.
“It’s more than just giving people keys to an apartment unit. You have to have the supports in place, whether that be job training, getting them back into the job market, education.”
Siloam began making the new beds available to people about a month ago. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to maintain physical distancing, the centre is not currently using all of the available space, but Bell expects that to change.
“I can see where the demand for the beds in the coming months will escalate,” he said.
Siloam started raising money for the $19-million project in 2017.
Funding came from all three levels of government, as well as the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, along with a $3-million donation from philanthropists Bonnie and John Buhler, the largest private gift in Siloam Mission’s history.
The new centre is the second phase of Siloam Mission’s expansion. A new dining hall opened in 2017.
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