Chez Doris

  • Front entrance at Chez Doris located in the heart of downtown Montréal, two blocks east of Atwater between Saint Catherine and de Maisonneuve Streets.

    Photo: Chez Doris

  • Chez Doris provides two nutritional meals each day (breakfast and lunch).

    Photo: Chez Doris

  • Storage room for free hygiene products.

    Photo: Chez Doris

  • The clothing room provides women access to appropriate seasonal clothing by appointment.

    Photo: Chez Doris

  • The medical clinic is certified by the Collège des médecins du Québec and affiliated with the Herzl Clinic of the Jewish General Hospital.

    Photo: Chez Doris

  • Spa Day at Chez Doris with an Arbonne beauty consultant.

    Photo: Chez Doris

  • Inuit collective kitchen every Friday at noon.

    Photo: Chez Doris

BY THE NUMBERS

Daytime shelter for women in difficulty open 7 days a week, from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm

Annually, over 1,600 women are helped and 35,000 meals are served

4,000 visits to the clothing room, 1,000 showers, and more than 100 appointments with a health professional, every year

A Place to Feel Safe and Supported

Doris was a homeless woman who fled an abusive relationship and homelife in Halifax. She struggled to survive on the streets of Montréal and ultimately fell victim to a brutal murder in 1974 that remains unsolved. While Doris lived on the fringes of society, in death her name has come to symbolize the expression of compassion and assistance for others like her.

In her memory, Chez Doris was founded in 1977, inspired by a simple statement she gave to a social worker. Shortly before she died, Doris was asked what would benefit women like her living on the streets. Her reply: “A place to go without prying eyes and too many questions.” Today, the hundreds of vulnerable women who come to Chez Doris are not met with a barrage of questions or bureaucracy, but rather with a spirit of inclusion and respect.

A Safe Haven for All Women

During its first year of operation in 1977, Chez Doris helped approximately 100 homeless women; today, more than 1,600 women per year benefit from its services. Chez Doris is open seven days a week from 8:30 am until 3:00 pm. Its services include free breakfast and lunch; access to showers, free hygienic products and clothing; emergency food bags; 6 respite beds; telephone information and referral assistance; custodial services and a financial management program; an Inuit assistance program; an Aboriginal housing placement service; health and mental health services; legal and tax filing services; as well as educational and socio-recreational integration programs. Beyond physical comforts, Chez Doris and its community of staff, interns and volunteers seek to make the women feel safe and supported and provide practical, problem-solving assistance. They also offer other services to address mental illness and addiction.

Chez Doris also supports a growing number of Aboriginal women who are in vulnerable situations or are homeless, making up 20% of its clientele. Chez Doris also has a caseworker specifically dedicated to Inuit women, and oversees a collective community kitchen that provides traditional foods and organizes cultural activities. Three other caseworkers who help homeless Aboriginal women (both with or without children) search for and obtain leases to private apartments. They also assist with furnishings and other necessities, provide visitation and follow-up services.

A Multitude of Resources under one Roof

More than 100 women are voluntarily enrolled in the cheque administration program that Chez Doris offers. Each year, Chez Doris deposits $1.2 million in women’s financial assistance cheques which are sent directly to Chez Doris. Every month, caseworkers ensure that their clients’ rents, utilities and other bills are paid. Caseworkers meet with each client individually to create a monthly budget, establish some personal goals, provide accompaniments and home visits, and manage any leftover funds to provide pocket money throughout the month.

In partnership with McGill’s Faculty of Law, students, supervised by a law professor, offer legal information and assistance to Chez Doris’ clients.

“We support Chez Doris precisely because the need to help and protect these vulnerable women is so evident,” says Delia Cristea, Assistant General Counsel and Assistant Secretary of Power Corporation. “The social entrepreneurs at Chez Doris consistently bring creative and compassionate approaches to social problem solving. They collaborate effectively with local universities and health agencies to provide vital services for homeless women in Montréal. We are pleased to contribute to the invaluable and essential work of the team at Chez Doris.”

“Thanks to the financial support of companies such as Power Corporation, Chez Doris can fulfill its mandate of being Montréal’s only day shelter for women open 7 days a week. With only 22% of our annual operating budget of $2 million covered through funding from the Québec Ministry of Health and Social Services and Centraide, the balance is raised from annual grants, private foundations and the generosity of individual donors. In addition to offering a day shelter, Chez Doris needs help with its upcoming projects in 2020: a new permanent residence with 26 units and an overnight emergency shelter with 20 beds for homeless women,” says Marina Boulos-Winton Executive Director of Chez Doris.

We support Chez Doris precisely because the need to help and protect these vulnerable women is so evident.
Delia Cristea
Assistant General Counsel and
Assistant Secretary
Power Corporation

Video

See videos from Chez Doris.