MONTREAL -- The president of Montreal’s Old Mission Brewery will be retiring in September.

Matthew Pearce has been working as the president of the non-profit organization – which provides services to those experiencing homelessness – for 13 years.

He’s passing the reins on to James Hughes, who worked as the organization’s director general for four years from 2004 to 2008.

"I will leave the Old Brewery Mission filled with immense appreciation to have worked with an exceptional group of committed and talented professionals—both within the Mission's walls and throughout the homeless-serving sector in Canada—on a common goal to prevent and end chronic homelessness in our lifetime,” Pearce said in a statement on Thursday. “This experience has been the highlight of my career. I'll remember with much gratitude and admiration my time with my colleagues, our generous donors as well as the many people who have come to our doors.”

During Pearce’s tenure, the Mission transformed from an emergency shelter into a 24-hour resource centre and developed an innovative mental health program with the help of the public sector, among other things. He was also recently awarded Canada's Meritorious Service Cross. 

"Since 2008, Matthew has led the Old Brewery Mission through a period of significant growth and phenomenal transformation that have inspired other organizations to adopt the Mission's approaches to end chronic homelessness," said Eric Maldoff, the chair of the Mission's board. "We are all deeply grateful to Matthew for his vision, leadership and innovative achievements. He will be missed." 

Pearce's successor, Hughes, has edited multiple books that focus on poverty, social inclusion and Indigenous affairs. 

"I've been so impressed with how the Old Brewery Mission has evolved over the last decade as a key player at the forefront of ending chronic homelessness in Canada," Hughes said. "We will continue to challenge the status quo and work with others to find sustainable solutions to this social problem. I look forward to hitting the ground running and working with our teams, our donors and partners to build a more inclusive society where everyone has a place to call home."

The Old Brewery Mission is the largest resource for homeless women in Canada and the largest in Quebec for men.