Mathew’s Story

Image of the front of a red brick house, and the entrance door painted in beige.

Mathew is a former client of Fife House’s Supportive Housing Programs. He moved to Toronto from Sudbury in 2010 after being evicted by his landlord and becoming houseless. Mathew’s HIV was symptomatic and he was dealing with a multitude of health issues, including schizophrenia for which he was not receiving treatment.

Like many of our clients, Mathew was hoping for a better future and connections to care in “the big city”. With no way to advocate for himself, and with no supports, Mathew was unable to find housing in Toronto and stayed at the largest men’s shelter in Canada for over three months.

“I was the guy screaming at street lamps.”

Providers, including doctors and nurses, assumed that Mathew was using hard drugs, when in reality his erratic behavior was caused in large part by his mental health and fractured connections to care. Mathew reached Fife House through our partnership with the Positive Care Coordination Program and moved in to a transitional housing unit at our Denison site, where he was able to receive the support that he needed. Mathew started anti-retroviral medication and anti-psychotics, and worked with our staff to manage his situation. Mathew lived at Denison for over six years before moving to more permanent housing at one of our other locations.

“I can’t say enough good things about the staff at Fife House.”

Mathew is now working part-time to support his third year of study in the Sexual and Diversity Studies Program at the University of Toronto. Mathew was inspired to apply for a position at our Huntley Transitional Housing Program, and now works with 20 clients with similar experiences to his own. He now takes Fife House clients to appointments and helps to create the very connections to care he once received. Mathew also sits on a number of committees in the community and recently won the prestigious E.J. Pratt Medal in Poetry.

Mathew is a prime example of the success that is possible for our clients when they have Hope, Help and a Home.