According to the United Nation’s definition, a refugee is defined as “a person outside his or her country of origin who has a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion.”

How We Help

Matthew House welcomes and assists newly arrived refugee claimants - those who ask for asylum upon arrival in Canada. There is no system in place to assist them and hence they sometimes spend their first night in Canada literally on the street or at rough homeless shelters. Despite having reached a safe country, they are at risk of being victimized and retraumatized. Matthew House serves this group of very vulnerable refugee claimants.

Since opening in 1998 we have assisted over 1,400 refugee claimants from 93 different nations. We welcome all refugees regardless of their race, religion, sexual orientation or political opinion. We strive to make Matthew House a place where God’s love is felt and experienced and where refugee's dignity and hope are restored.

At Matthew House, staff and volunteers foster a supportive community dedicated to meeting all their basic needs. Our services include: safe shelter, expert settlement and orientation support, assistance with their refugee claim process and finding and furnishing apartments. Most importantly, we are a place of love and hope. In addition to our main reception house, we have two transition homes where extra vulnerable residents such as unacompanied teens or single mothers may stay and receive longer term support.

Matthew House does not receive any direct government funding but simply exists thanks to a supportive community of individuals, foundations and groups who care about the plight of refugees.

In short, the Matthew House community serves as a "sponsor" by default for those who seek asylum in Canada and have no support system of their own. We exist thanks to Canadians who care about the plight of refugees. We welcome your tanglible support in helping us serve the "forgotten refugees" arriving on our doorstep daily. Thank you!





Matthew House is a community of 3 homes in central
Toronto that welcomes and assists newly arrived
refugee claimants offering HOPE at the end of their
long journey on the refugee highway.




Refugees come to Canada in three different ways. Traditionally about 7,000 refugees per year are sponsored by the government. This year the Syrian influx is a special exception and could result in an additional 25,000 or more arrivals. Another 3,000 per year are sponsored by private groups, such as churches. Historically the largest group, which recently numbered more than 15,000 per year, come to Canada as refugee claimants. This is the group whom Matthew House serves

There is no system in place to welcome or assist refugee claimants. They are simply numbered among the homeless, often without resources. Many are forced to look for help in inappropriate city shelters not equipped to meet their needs. Government policies are becoming harsher and there is no structure in place to directly look after their well-being. Despite having reached a safe country, they are at risk of being victimized and traumatized again. Matthew House serves this group of vulnerable refugee claimants.

Learn more at the Canadian Council for Refugees website.


The United Nations High Commission for Refugees puts the current number of refugees and forcibly displaced people around the world at 51.2 million. No one becomes a refugee by choice—they are forced to flee to save their lives or preserve their freedom. They begin a long journey of danger and uncertainty on the refugee highway, seeking safety and security.

Learn more about the following International Organizations:
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
International Organization for Migration







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"I was a stranger and you welcomed me..." Matthew 25:35


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