PEORIA — More space is coming to Dream Center Peoria's operations, officials announced Thursday.

The organization kicked off a $1.7 million fundraising campaign that's designed to allow the charity to double the floor space that's used for operations at its 714 Hamilton Blvd. location.

The expansion is based on increased need, development director Brian Uhlenhopp said Thursday afternoon. Dream Center became an all-day shelter last year rather than just offering overnight accommodations, which increased demand for services there, he said.

The first phase, at a cost of $1 million, will be used to expand the number of available beds from 96 to 120 and expand operations onto the entirety of the building's fourth floor in addition to the currently used third floor.

Expanding will help in "bringing some dignity back to the shelter and having some room that the community can come in and mentor these young people" and help teach job skills and offer other training, Uhlenhopp said.

It will also reduce crowding, with between 50 and 70 people typically remaining in the space during the day now. And it's necessary to offer a larger dining space now that three meals a day are offered there. A classroom, and spaces for medical services and counseling, as well as space set aside specifically for women who make the center their first stop when escaping human trafficking or abusive situations, are also part of the plans, he said.

Work on that first phase will begin when the money is in hand, and the group announced Thursday it has secured a $400,000 Community Development Block Grant through the city of Peoria and $225,000 in private donations. If sufficient money is raised to begin the work, Uhlenhopp said Dream Center officials hope to have that phase completed by year's end.

The second phase of work covering the remaining $700,000 would involve renovating two racquetball courts in the building, which used to house the YMCA, into a commercial and teaching kitchen, as well as food storage.

If fundraising is complete, work there could be done by the end of April 2020.