Matthew House Opens Its 20th Home with Help from the City of Ottawa

Matthew House Opens Its 20th Home with Help from the City of Ottawa

A home near the Britannia neighbourhood is one of the ways the city of Ottawa is addressing the influx of refugees.

Angela Success moved from Nigeria to Canada in 2018 and was a resident of Matthew House for six months. She says it was a lifeline that helped her get on her feet in a new country.

“Matthew House welcomed me, helped me medically, helped me socially integrate into society and provided me with an education so that I can continue to be useful to society today,” said Success, who now serves on the nonprofit’s board of directors.

“Matthew House also supports us when we move. And as I speak to you today, the furniture I have in my home is from Matthew House Furniture.”

The organization provides settlement support and a safe place to live for those forced to flee their country of origin. They also help set up other homes where refugees live.

There are now 20 houses that are being used to help refugees.

“What we’re doing is essentially expanding our capacity over time. And this is, again, house number 20. We have about 180 beds. We’re going to try to continue expanding our capacity until we can get all the refugees out of the shelter system. So when they get to Ottawa, the first thing they need to do is not become homeless. They come into our program and they get the support they need,” said Allan Reesor-McDowell, executive director of Matthew House Ottawa.

Matthew House has opened a 20th home to help refugees in Ottawa. (Dave Charbonneau/CTV News Ottawa)

This house is on loan from the City of Ottawa, which owns the property.

“We originally bought it as a possible way to get to Queensview station for Stage 2 LRT. We wanted a shortcut and this house seemed like a good fit for the station. Unfortunately, the deal we had for the other property fell through. So we were left with the house,” Councillor Theresa Kavanagh.

Kavanagh said neighbors on the street are happy to see the house being used for such a good cause.

“I had the opportunity to go door to door with a representative from Matthew House, and the response I got was fantastic. People were very receptive and even happy to see an empty house being used by people who needed it,” she said.

Ottawa has seen a significant increase in homeless refugees. The Mission in downtown Ottawa has had to deal with an overwhelming number of refugees showing up unannounced.

“In short, Matthew House gets you off the streets, gets you out of homelessness, prepares you, helps you and supports you so that you become a useful member of society,” Success said.

Last year, Matthew House furnished over 1,400 homes and provided food for over 100 people every day.