In 2017, over 8000 refugee claimants came to Ontario! Toronto is a favourite location, but since Ottawa is the capital, we get a lot of refugees as well. Refugee claimants are coming to Canada because they are fleeing a dangerous situation back home. This could have to do with their religious or political views, their ethnicity, or sexual-orientation. Some come with enough funds to start over here. Some come with nothing.
Matthew House Refugee Services (Ottawa) Inc was founded in January 2010 by a group of visionary volunteers and missionaries to help those refugee claimants in Ottawa who arrive with nothing. We wanted to serve the people from around the world, right here in our own city.
MHO was modelled after Matthew House in Toronto, since a few of our founders had been involved there before coming to Ottawa. Initially, MHO was entirely volunteer-led. We hired our first staff-person in May 2011.
The Furniture Bank of Ottawa was started by some of the same people who launched MHO to provide used furniture to newcomers in our city. We provide quality used furniture to individuals and families who need some assistance establishing their home, including refugees and those moving out of shelters. Originally a separate organization, it came under the auspices of Matthew House Ottawa in early 2012.
Since then, the two services were transformed into Matthew House Ottawa: Refugee Services and Furniture Bank.
Matthew House Ottawa is a faith-based organization and has always enjoyed faithful support from Ottawa’s Christian community. We do not need to travel around the world to be international missionaries; the world has come to us, and it needs our help.