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Our History

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The Brothers of the Good Shepherd arrived in Hamilton in 1961 at the request of Bishop Joseph Ryan. They set up a men’s hostel in an old building at the corner of MacNab and Vine Streets where they offered food and shelter to mostly transient or homeless men.

As the needs of the community grew, so did the services provided by the Brothers:

1961 – The Brothers open a men’s hostel

1972 – The new Good Shepherd Centre men’s shelter begins operating

1982 – The Volunteer Outreach Program is established

1983 – Martha House opens as an emergency shelter for abused women and children

1986 – The Good Shepherd Food Bank opens on Eastwood Avenue

1990 – The Food Bank relocates to Parkdale Avenue North

1991 – Brennan House offers residential care to 15 homeless teens

1992 – SAGE Family Camp Program is established as a partnership between Martha House and the Catholic Youth Organization

1995 – The Food Bank relocates to the Good Shepherd Warehouse at the corner of Cannon & Mary Streets

1995 – Mary’s Place opens for homeless women

1998 – Emmanuel House opens as a 10-bed residence for individuals living with terminal illnesses

1998 – Notre Dame House begins sheltering street youth

1998 – HOMES program is established

1999 – Somerville House offers supportive housing to 10 women

2001 – Notre Dame House School offers street-involved and homeless teens an opportunity to finish their secondary school education

2001 – The HOST Program in Toronto is established

2005 – The Family Centre offers temporary emergency accommodation and residential support to families who have become homeless

2005 – Shelter Health Network is established

2007 – The Barrett Centre for Crisis Support officially opens

2012 – Good Shepherd Square opens. Two apartment buildings offer affordable housing to seniors and families. The Square also houses Good Shepherd Women’s Services

2014 – 
The Jeanne Scott Parent & Child Resource Centre opens next door to Regina’s Place (formerly Angela’s Place). In partnership with the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board, Good Shepherd operates a school for young mothers while on-site child minding is provided for their children. 

2014 – The Venture Centre Marketplace opens on Cannon Street East to offer a more efficient and dignified emergency food and clothing program, counselling centre and programming designed to break the cycle of poverty. The spacious and bright public area is easily accessible and provides a positive environment for clients, volunteers and staff. 

2015 – The Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd fuse with the Hospitaller Order of St. John of God and become the Hospitaller Order of St. John of God – Province of the Good Shepherd in North America. The fusion provides an opportunity to draw upon the strengths of a much larger religious order while not affecting the programs and services provided by Good Shepherd or the name of the organization. To learn more about the fusion, watch the video Mathias and John: A Fusion of Hospitality.

Watch the Ritual of Surrender and Fusion Celebration video

Old photo of Vine and McNab

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