Work has started on a £4m "one-stop shop" for homeless people in Leicester.
The centre has been praised by the deputy prime minister
The centre in Conduit Street, with 42 bedrooms and a kennels, will put Leicester at the forefront of tackling homelessness, the city council says.
It will provide clients with life skills, such as cooking on a budget and IT training.
There will be a GP surgery and advice service on benefits, housing and education to help get residents back to work.
Kennel facilities will mean residents do not have to be separated from their pets.
Praise for 'vision'
CCTV cameras and additional street lighting will also be included after nearby residents opposed the development, claiming it would cause problems in an area already affected by anti-social behaviour.
The project was planned by the council, in association with local healthcare providers and the YMCA, because of concerns that its present shelter in New Walk was too cramped.
The council has received praise from Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott for its "vision".
Council leader Roger Blackmore said: "This new, purpose-built centre is a pioneering development that highlights Leicester's position as a leading authority for tackling homelessness issues.
"The new centre will provide residents and day visitors with dedicated support from a number of agencies and help to challenge the real issues surrounding homelessness and social exclusion."
Health professionals said the modern-style centre will make it easier for them to help homeless patients.