LIFE AT MATTHEW HOUSE
Matthew House is not an institution but is a welcoming home where newly arrived homeless refugee claimants feel like they are being embraced by a loving family. Our small beautifully maintained homes run by caring staff and volunteers provide our guests with not only expert settlement support but also a healing community where their dignity and hope are restored. Our guests leave our homes feeling confident and prepared to become healthy contributing members of society grateful to make Canada their home.
Clement, a former high school principal from Zimbabwe arrived at Matthew House just before Christmas 2005, seeking asylum in Canada. He was offered a special scholarship at the University of Toronto under the “Scholar at Risk” program and a placement in residence at Massey College. In the spring of 2011 Clement successfully completed his PhD in Education. He is now teaching at Centennial College and has been appointed to the Board of Directors of Matthew House. Clement gratefully credits Matthew House as the key to his successful establishment in Canada.
Helen faced persecution in her home country of Eritrea and fled for her life. She arrived in Toronto asking for asylum as a refugee. Six months pregnant, Helen was sent to a city-run shelter for homeless youth, which provided only a place to sleep at night, forcing her to wander the city streets during the daytime. In meeting a former MH resident, Helen found herself surrounded by various volunteers in the MH community, providing a circle of support for all her baby needs once she brought her healthy baby boy home. In August 2011, Helen moved with baby Luke to our newly acquired second-stage home, a five-plex where she had her own apartment unit but still lived within our supportive community. In addition to having the independence of her own place, she received the good news that she was accepted as a Convention Refugee and can remain in Canada permanently. Eventually she moved out into the community on her own. Thanks to the ministry of Matthew House, she and Luke feel a sense of belonging and hope for the future.
Samad, originally from Afghanistan, arrived by himself in Canadan April 2006, at the young age of 16. He had no family in this country. Matthew House welcomed and assisted him with all his initial settlement needs and became a “family” to him. Due to his vulnerable age, we made a space for him at our transition home on Shirley Street, where he lived and became more established. The house parents helped to orient him to life in Canada and gave him support with his academic activities. He eventually moved out on his own with other residents he met at Matthew House, feeling confident about living by himself in Canada.
He is now studying Electrical Engineering at University of Ontario Institute of Technology in Oshawa. For the past 2 years, he has run the half-marathon on the Matthew House team in the Scotiabank Charity Run to raise support for his first “family” in Canada.