For more than 50 years, St. Matthew’s House has provided essential support to those in need—from its humble beginnings as an Anglican “storefront” ministry to the fully-fledged charitable, diverse, multi-service organization it is today.
St. Matthew’s House is a unique community support agency that provides childcare services and older adults/seniors support services. It is a frontline organization committed to lifting up the most vulnerable people among us—connecting them with the necessities of life such as food, housing, and financial security.
Although there are very real challenges in the community and tough work ahead, the team at St. Matthew’s House is excited to share the impact that has been made in the community over the past year. We would welcome the opportunity to visit and meet with parishes to share more information about the important work of our organization in the coming months. Here are a few highlights:
St. Matthew’s House Seniors Support Services Team is a beacon for vulnerable seniors (55+) living in Hamilton. Our seniors crisis worker is on the job responding to the influx of crises identified through the emergency food program, gleaning issues around food, income, and social supports in order to better understand and address the root cause(s) of each individual’s food insecurity. The Seniors in Kitchens team (SinKs) continues the mobile market and food bank program, with its delivery van bringing much needed food, including fresh fruits and vegetables, directly to City Housing Hamilton seniors’ buildings in the lower city.
The outreach team builds relationships within neighbourhoods to connect with people either on the verge of becoming homeless, or who are homeless. Isolation can be as dangerous as food shortages and these experienced workers ensure that people who are struggling are seen, respected, and supported.
The HOPES Program is all about eviction prevention for those who are struggling with their current dwellings. Through funding from the Government of Canada via the City of Hamilton, the HOPES Navigators and paralegal support worker work with the Hamilton Community Legal Clinic to offer clients guidance and support to face challenges such as income support, tax support, affidavits, and liaising with the Landlord and Tenant Board. A seniors system navigator added to the roster allows enhanced care for clients. Hoarding issues are dealt with through intensive clean ups funded through generous supporters as the Hamilton Community Foundation.
The ground is about to break for 412 Barton construction, a property adjacent to St. Matthew’s House child care centre on Barton that will be converted to 15 deeply affordable apartments. The suites will house homeless or nearhomeless people, as well as lowincome seniors who identify as women, Indigenous peoples and other racialized groups including Black Canadians and people with disabilities. Residents will be calling 412 Barton home in early 2024.
Now offering three locations for our youngest citizens to have supportive and engaging care, St. Matthew’s House offers a full range of programs services for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, before/after school care and summer camps. At a time when many childcare programs are experiencing low enrolment, our programs have flourished. We attribute this success to the dedication and commitment of every member of the childcare team, who have worked tirelessly to ensure children have the opportunity to learn and grow in a safe and loving environment. We have enrolled in the Canada Wide Early Learning and Child Care Program to ensure that parents’ child care fees are lowered over the next two years to about $12 per day.
Our relationship with the City of Hamilton’s leadership in all our work has been very strong and we truly appreciate the support of many staff members working at the city.
The partnership with Green Cities Foundation has resulted in a refreshed and enhanced children’s playground at St. Matthew’s House, with raised planting beds, hardscaping, and beautiful trees and flowers that will shade and beautify our corner of the world on Barton Street. The Children’s Centre is expanded and now offers more locations for our youngest citizens to have supportive and engaging care. Most importantly, we are fostering community through all of these accomplishments.
The Adopt-A-Family/Senior Holiday program, one of St. Matthew House’s most popular programs, matches low-income families and seniors with individual sponsors, families or groups looking for a meaningful way to give back to their community during the holiday season. In 2022 we are proud to share that a total of 2,271 individuals were supported, including 421 Families and 426 Seniors, and we are excited and hopeful for what the 2023 program season will bring!
We are also looking forward to launching our new name and branding for this great initiative. Stay tuned as we share more details about its new name and image “Holiday Hope”, coming this Fall.
The need throughout our community is urgent, and is increasing every year. St Matthew’s House will continue to grow to address these important issues in our community through thoughtful and strategic expansion, and the commitment of its donors, partners, team members and volunteers.
Our team would welcome the opportunity to meet with parishes, to share more information about the work and initiatives currently underway at St. Matthew’s House. If you would be interested in scheduling a presentation to discuss in more detail, please reach out to me at [email protected]. To learn more, please visit us at www.stmatthewshouse.ca
Alicia Payne is the coordinator of stewardship, fundraising, and volunteers at St. Matthew’s House.