Seniors First Response Team

May 26, 2020 | Press Releases

 St. Matthew’s House and CityHousing Hamilton partner in new approach to community support for seniors and families

Focusing on food/housing/income security and managing isolation.

Hamilton, Ontario, May 26, 2020 — St. Matthew’s House and CityHousing Hamilton have launched a new partnership in community support, reaching out to vulnerable seniors and families living in CityHousing Hamilton units during this pandemic. The Seniors First Response Team has funding from many sources that will enable emergency food deliveries to CityHousing Hamilton tenants who face food security issues. The food delivery creates the opportunity for a ‘wellness call’ to ensure and assess what supports are in place to build a more stable environment for tenant families and older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The partnership with CHH permits monitored access by SMH to a larger number of families and seniors living in the units, ensuring that privacy, confidentiality and safety are paramount for residents. Older adults can be especially reluctant to reach out, even when isolated, and food delivery is a great point of contact to allow a more robust support offering. Staying engaged and offering support helps provide much needed assistance to many who are isolated at this time. St. Matthew’s House is pleased to announce that this partnership encompasses:

  • A grant of $40,000 from Community Food Centres Canada’s Good Food Access Fund. This funding is provided in part by the Government of Canada’s Local Food Infrastructure Fund, as part of the Food Policy for Canada.
  • A grant of $11,400 from the City of Hamilton’s Emergency Pandemic Response Fund to enable emergency food and pet supply delivery to vulnerable neighbours in CHH properties and to vulnerable seniors in the lower city.
  • A grant of $20,000 from the United Way Halton & Hamilton to support food access to vulnerable older adults isolated during this pandemic.
  • A grant of $10,000 from the Hamilton Community Foundation’s COVID-19 response fund.
  • Funding from Help Age Canada to help with seniors wellness while isolated.
  • A partnership with Food For Life to deliver fresh and frozen food to CHH tenants.
  • A partnership with M&M meats to deliver frozen meats and meals to isolated older adults and families at CHH.
  • A partnership with Wesley Urban Ministries and Catholic Family Services to assist with delivery and wellness follow up calls to families and seniors, and triaging to other supports when identified. 

St. Matthew’s House Executive Director Renée Wetselaar says this partnership is the result of collaboration. CityHousing Hamilton Community Development Coordinator Brenda Silverthorne reached out to St. Matthew’s House to engage a broader range of support for its tenants with food security. “Together we recognized that when emergency food is requested, there are other supports that are needed and can be accessed to assist tenants during this COVID-19 pandemic as well,” said Wetselaar. “We engaged Wesley, Food for Life, Goodwill and Catholic Family Services to provide a circle of support and we were successful in accessing emergency funding to enable us to do this important work together. This partnership and funding comes at a critical time to support the work of reaching out and helping families, older adults and seniors struggling with poverty, food insecurity and isolation during this pandemic.”

CityHousing Hamilton CEO Tom Hunter said, “I believe that this is transformational for the present and future tenants of CHH. We need to focus on the wellness of individuals and families, and food security is a key element of that vision.” 

St. Matthew’s House 

St. Matthew’s House (SMH) is a non-profit, charitable organization founded in 1967 by the local Anglican churches in inner-city Hamilton with a focus on caring for vulnerable populations in the surrounding neighbourhoods. It is located at 412/414 Barton Street East as its main office, with mobile workers across the city. 

We work in the heart of Hamilton’s most challenged neighbourhoods. People living here face, on average, the highest rates of poverty in the city. This is associated with the highest rates of ill-heath, mental illness and limited education levels. According to the Code Red series in The Hamilton Spectator, in some of these neighbourhoods the average age of death is 65, while the average age of death reaches the mid-80s in more affluent parts of the city (Steve Buist, The Hamilton Spectator, 2019). 

CityHousing Hamilton 

CityHousing Hamilton is the Housing Corporation owned and operated by the City of Hamilton. CHH consists of almost 7,000 units spread over 1,265 properties with over 13,000 residents, 45% of which are children, speaking more than 30 first languages making CityHousing Hamilton the 4th largest municipally controlled housing provider in Ontario. With First Place Hamilton joining the family later this year (2008), CHH will then become the 3rd largest housing provider in Ontario. 

CityHousing Hamilton Mission

We provide affordable housing that is safe, well maintained, cost effective and that supports the diverse needs of our many communities.

Media inquiries:
Renée Wetselaar, Executive Director