Mission Services started like the mustard seed: small, but full of faith. It grew to support more people in need and create opportunities to receive compassionate, professional care leading to safer, more independent lives.
Hamilton in the mid-1950s did not resemble the Hamilton of today. Social services offering men a safe place to stay, a hot meal and programs for alcoholism or addiction were minimal—where they existed at all.
Our story began in 1956 when a farmer, Enos Bearinger, decided that needed to change.
After helping to rehabilitate a young man in his home, Enos came up with the idea of creating a place where other homeless men with alcohol addictions and mental illnesses could find compassionate care. He sold his farm and used the profits to purchase an old candy factory on James Street North.
Soon, volunteers from the neighbourhood and churches came together to refurnish the building and donate food, clothes, furniture.
Here, men found a safe place to stay and find food, fellowship and caring support while starting a journey to discover healthier lives.
The first vocational training program and workshop, “The Helping Hand”
One of our first apartment-style units to help men transition back into the community
Our first social enterprise, an appliance repair shop at our James Street shelter
We’ve been serving free meals for homeless men since the very start. (And always with gladness!)
An exciting new branch in Mission Services’ history was the creation of one of Canada’s first shelters for women.
At first, Inasmuch House was a transitional home for women leaving prison. It soon evolved into a shelter for women fleeing violence and abuse. Located in the former residence of a doctor, it offered women and their children a place to stay and find clothing, food, counselling and a support system to help them heal and regain a sense of dignity and confidence.
For more than 60 years, all of our volunteers, staff and donors have worked tirelessly to end cycles of violence, poverty, homelessness and forge new bonds of love and compassion in our community.
For making that journey possible, Thank you.