Windsor

Matthew House is moving into a bigger home to help more refugees

The organization is in the process of renovating the vacant ALPHA House in Forest Glade. It hopes to move within a month.

The organization will sell its Drouillard Road location after it moves into Forest Glade

Matthew House Windsor will be moving into the ALPHA House building in Forest Glade. (Stacey Janzer/CBC)

Matthew House Windsor is leaving its three-bedroom building on Drouillard Road and swapping it with the 18,000-square-foot ALPHA House in Forest Glade, in the east end of Windsor.

The organization provides shelter for refugees, but it was rapidly outgrowing the old spot.

"Last year we were turning away 10 for every one that we were able to house," said Mike Morency, executive director of Matthew House.

The new building the organization is moving into has been vacant for six years. The organization says the new space needs a lot of work — new flooring, drywall, a fresh coat of paint, bathroom vanities and kitchen cabinets.

The drywall needs to come down in the new building, along with some other construction work, before Matthew House can move inside. (Stacey Janzer/CBC)

Matthew House is working with private businesses and local community agencies like Habitat for Humanity to renovate it.

Fiona Coughlin, executive director for Habitat for Humanity, said they've made a call out to the construction industry for help with equipment, materials and hands on deck.

The two organizations had started a partnership previously when Matthew House's basement flooded back in 2017, and Habitat for Humanity stepped in to help with repairs.

Coughlin said given the short timeline Matthew House has to move into the new space, the organization is happy to help.

"It takes pressure off every system out there," she said.

"It's win-win for this whole city, so we're in, we're all in."

ALPHA House has been vacant for the past six years. (Stacey Janzer/CBC)

The renovated ALPHA House will have offices, space for programming and services, and also space for other organizations to work in.

One of the most exciting places for Morency in this new space is a children's playroom, which will be renovated and furnished by Heritage Park Alliance Church.

Morency said the city doesn't have a family shelter for people experiencing homelessness, but Matthew House will welcome families. This playroom will offer a space for children.

Matthew House Windsor is currently located on Drouillard Road in a three-bedroom bungalow. (Google Maps)

They're hoping to have all construction work completed in a month. Morency and Coughlin are asking for volunteers to offer a hand, or donate materials to help complete the project on time.

The old location on Drouillard Road will be sold.

Morency said the new building is 18 times the size and will house many more people than they were able to before.

However, the organization still needs help with housing some refugees — as all of the spaces in ALPHA House have already been spoken for.

With files from Stacey Janzer

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