A major construction project to help Calgary's homeless is officially underway.

The ground breaking at the downtown Mustard Seed location is the first step in the construction of a 224 unit affordable housing project. The building will provide safe, affordable housing for individuals currently without homes.

The soil was turned at Friday's ceremony by 224 yellow shovels as a representation of the 224 individuals who will be provided affordable housing in the Beltline.

Andy Trevoy, the chair of the Mustard Seed's Board of Directors, says the building is more than just another apartment building in the downtown skyline.

"This isn't about the bricks and mortar," says Trevoy. "This is about the 224 individuals who will receive a second chance and a new beginning."