Baltimore’s largest homeless shelter is set to break ground on a project which will expand its capacity by nearly 75 percent, adding 55 new beds to its current number of 75.

The new expansion will allow the Sarah’s Hope, Mount Street shelter to provide family rather than dorm-style units, and for the first time be able to serve intact families.

Presently, Sarah’s Hope is only able to house women and children, but with the expansion the shelter will be able to house full families, older adolescent boys, as well as households headed by a single male.

The shelter’s mission is not simply to house homeless persons, but to begin to transition them into permanent housing.

“The thing that we do is bring them in the shelter, and we help them obtain some type of permanent housing,” Toni Boulware, senior director of Sarah’s Hope, Mount Street and its Rapid Rehousing Program said. “So with the expansion, that’ll just mean we’ll be able to help that many more families.”

Boulware told the AFRO that, on average, it takes the shelter 120 days to move persons into permanent housing.

“The groundbreaking for the renovation and expansion of Sarah’s Hope is another step forward in our effort to mitigate homelessness among families in Baltimore,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake told the AFRO. “Thanks to the collaborative efforts of government and community partners, this additional space will give more families experiencing homelessness the opportunity to focus on getting back on their feet, rather than on where they will sleep at night.”

The expansion of the shelter will take between nine and 12 months, according to Teresa Eaton, spokeswoman for St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore, the anti-poverty community services organization of which Sarah’s Hope is a part. The ground breaking for the new expansion is scheduled for Oct. 31.