A downtown Winnipeg Christian group that cares for the city’s homeless has purchased a Wolseley-area apartment block notorious for problem activity and sometimes extreme violence.

'We will have more people there, more staff, more volunteers, more community.' —Floyd Perras, Siloam Mission

Siloam Mission has purchased the Madison apartment block on Evanson Street — and the deal comes with a promise safety will increase.

"Certainly, its had  a checkered past, but one of the problems that the people we were working with to get it was they just didn't have the resources to provide the kind of supports that we will be able to provide," said Floyd Perras of Siloam.

In recent years, the block has seen two homicides, a police-involved shooting and a high-profile bust of a portable methamphetamine lab.

"We will have more people there, more staff, more volunteers, more community, I guess, if you want to call it that," Perras said.

The 87-unit housing complex will provide dry, supportive housing for guests of Siloam Mission that want to move toward self-sufficient lifestyles but need supports in place to help them achieve their goals, he said.

"There is an acute housing crisis in this city, and this project is our first phase in tackling that problem," Perras said.

In the coming year, Siloam will renovate the four-storey building top to bottom to meet building code specs and provide a dignified space for people to call home.

"We want the Madison to become a place that people are proud to live in," Perras said.

The mission intends to shift some people from its Princess Street shelter to the Madison once renovations are completed.

The agency plans to spend $1.5 million on the project, Perras said.