Montreal

Montreal grants nearly $2M to new Chez Doris overnight women's shelter

In a statement Monday, executive director Marina Boulos-Winton said most of the funding will go to major renovations and the rest will be earmarked for long-term maintenance of the new, 22-bed facility.

Women make up a quarter of city's homeless population, executive director says

In a joint announcement with the city Monday, Chez Doris officials said the new emergency shelter will open by 2021. ( Simon Nakonechny/CBC)

A Montreal women's day shelter will soon be providing homeless women a place to stay overnight thanks, in part, to a city grant of nearly $2 million to support the project.

Chez Doris, which serves downtown's western sector, purchased a residential building last year near its headquarters on Chomedy Street with the help of a $1-million private donation. The city has rezoned the building so it can serve as an emergency shelter.

In a statement Monday, Chez Doris executive director Marina Boulos-Winton said $1,548,686 of the city's funding will go to major renovations at the new building and $339,700 will be earmarked for long-term maintenance of the shelter which will have 22 emergency overnight beds by 2021.

 "At the moment, women make up about 25 per cent of the homeless population in Montreal and the resources dedicated to women in vulnerable situations are far from sufficient," she said in a statement.

"This investment is another step in the right direction."

In a news conference Monday, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said the city is in dire need of social and affordable housing.

"It has become increasingly urgent to make sure everyone has a decent roof over their heads," she said, noting the city has set aside $10 million to support innovative housing projects.

The number of women that Chez Doris serves is 'constantly growing,' says Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante. (CBC)

The number of women that Chez Doris serves is "constantly growing," said Plante, and the city's support of the new shelter will "help us achieve our goal of making Montreal a supportive living environment where it's good to live for everyone."

When the emergency shelter opens, the current day centre will continue to operate. It offers meals, showers, hygienic products and clean clothes, as well as an array of activities and counselling.

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