MONTREAL -- The Native Women's Shelter of Montreal is about to get a serious boost, as it's breaking ground on a second building in Little Burgundy to help meet a growing demand for its services.

Staff at the shelter and municipal leaders were at the site Monday where a building with more than 20 new units will soon stand, providing a space where women can be protected from violence and kept together with their children.

"All these years I’ve been working at the shelter I find that if you have your children taken away, you just spiral down," said shelter executive director Nakuset.

Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante sees it as a means of reconciliation.

"Reconciliation means that Aboriginal communities have what they need," she said. "Of course, there are a lot of needs, but right now we’re talking about a building where there will be room for families."

Phase two of the shelter will occupy the site of a renovated public bathhouse built in 1914.

The city and the province are investing $12 million in the project, and Nakuset expects it to be full as soon as it opens.

"At the Native Women’s Shelter we already have an addictions worker, a family care worker we have a psychologist we have an art therapist and we have an elder," she said. "So those types of people will be here every single day and offer those services at the second stage housing."

The new shelter is expected to be open by the end of next year.