High Five! Here’s how Siloam grew from a soup kitchen to a driving force for compassion for Winnipeg’s most vulnerable people:
In August 1987. Suk Woon Lee, a former penintentiary inmate and member of the Korean Nazarene congregation, founded Siloam Mission and worked with board members and volunteers to establish an inner-city ministry that offered hot meals and counseling services. In 1990, word of the ministry spread, and the demand for services grew – resulting in Siloam purchasing the building at 707 Main St.
2. 1999 – 2000
After 12 years, Siloam closed its Main Street doors when the City of Winnipeg expropriated the soup kitchen’s Main Street property before the 1999 Pan Am Games to make way for Neeginan Park. Siloam reopened as a drop-in-centre at 564 ½ Main Street in April 2000. By December, Siloam ran out of funds for paid staff – but dedicated volunteers kept the doors open to offer hot meals, coffee, and clothing five days a week.
3. 2005 – 2006
In 2005, Siloam closed the doors on its Main Street location and opened the newly renovated four-storey facility at 300 Princess St., continuing the meal and clothing program from the first floor of the building. In 2006 Siloam shifted its focus from meeting basic needs to transitioning people off the streets. Siloam started the employment training program ‘Mission: Off The Street Team’ to help people re-enter the workforce.
Hannah’s Place Emergency Shelter in Siloam Mission’s 2nd floor opened its doors to110 homeless men and women, providing a safe place for the night. It has been full almost every single night since. The on-site Saul Sair Health Centre opened, and has since grown to include dentistry, optometry, physiotherapy and much more, free of charge.
5. 2011 and to the future
With the help of all three levels of government, Siloam Mission purchased the Wolseley-area Madison Lodge in April 2011 and is renovating it to turn into supportive housing for shelter guests ready to move forward. The goal for the next five years: Vision 500, is the vision to alter the landscape of Winnipeg’s inner city by providing 500 homes and 500 jobs in the next five years. The Madison Lodge is the first step in that vision, providing 85 homes.
Information provided by Siloam Mission.