Matthew House Refugee Reception Services

Name of Organization: Matthew House Refugee Reception Services, Toronto.

Address of Organization: 981 Dundas St. West, Toronto, ON M4J 1W4.

Website: Website

Contact Person: Anne Woolger-Bell.

Phone: 416-364-8287.

Email: Email

Work of organization: Matthew House is a small shelter in central Toronto which, since opening as a permanent home in August 1998, has welcomed, sheltered and assisted approximately 1000 refugee claimants from 79 different nations who would otherwise be homeless in the city. Currently there are no federally sponsored programs that shelter or help “refugee claimants” (those who are “unsponsored” and ask for asylum upon arrival in Canada) and hence they are simply classified among the homeless. Few city-funded shelters are geared to meet the unique needs of refugee claimants and some are forced to stay at very rough city shelters where they are sometimes “retraumatized” by the experience.

Therefore Matthew House was established to fill this very great void by providing a small family like home specifically geared to meeting the needs of refugee claimants. Matthew House believes that God's call to "welcome the stranger" includes refugee claimants from all nations, irrespective of ethnicity, religion, political ideology, or sexual orientation. Matthew House strives to be a place where God's love is felt and communicated within an atmosphere of welcome and peace.

We currently have two sites: the main shelter that assists refugee claimants immediately upon arrival as well as a secondary transition home nearby where people can stay for a longer period of time depending on their level of vulnerabity.

Currently there are 4 full time and 5 part time staff at Matthew House.

Kinds of internships: An internship would/could entail a wide variety of activities (depending on an interns skills and areas of interest) but would certainly include hands on involvement with newly arrived refugee claimants. It may involve assisting residents with their initial settlement needs such as escorting to appointments, providing orientation to the city and simply being a good listener. It may also involve helping the Executive director with donor development projects depending on the interns areas of interest.

Desirable skills: We would desire someone who is compassionate, flexible, a good listener, able to see opportunities and take initiative and cross-culturally sensitive. Linguistic skills such as French and Spanish would be a great asset.

Number of internships: Probably just one but we could consider another.

Location of internships: The work would be primarily located at our main shelter sites in downtown central Toronto but could involve home visits throughout the city and occasional travel beyond (such as summer camp in Muskoka)

Duration of internships: The internship duration can be customized to an interns requirements. The longer the better from our perspective.

Costs: None specifically and some meals may be provided if they happen to arrive at Matthew House at meal time.

Accommodation: NA

Insurance: No

Medical coverage: No, just our usual liability insurance for an organization like ours.

Training: Most of the training is "on the job". Ideally if an intern were full time, they could attend relevant conferences such as the Canadian Council for Refugees etc. Attendance at our staff meetings would also be encouraged for a full time intern.

Evaluation: Yes.

Volunteering: Yes, we would welcome it.

Faith statement: See here.

Application form: We have general volunteer applications which could be completed. Prosepctive interns should email us to obtain an application and then it can be sent to Anne Woolger-Bell if they are interested in an internship.

Deadline: Any time before the student deadline.

Application to: Anne Woolger-Bell

Contract: At present we only have our standard volunteer contract.

Other: As per standard regulations, an up to date police check would be required for any intern working with us.