Chez Doris, women's drop-in centre, reopens on weekends
Province, city and private sponsors kick in $180K to help Chez Doris operate 7 days a week
Chez Doris, a women's day shelter in Montreal can once again open seven days a week, thanks to $180,000 in new funding.
The day centre in Shaughnessy Village has been closed on weekends since the end of May, due to financial troubles.
"It was so hard, because we don't have [any] place to go," said Alejandra Robert, who has been going to the day centre for the past seven years.
"Sometimes we don't have enough income to buy food… Some people didn't eat for the weekend. It was hard."
Quebec's ministry of health and social services has promised $105,000 in recurring funding for the day centre's operations and for a financial management program.
Canadian National Railway is contributing $50,000 to the day centre and to an Inuit women's program the centre runs.
The City of Montreal has promised an additional $25,000.
Women left stranded on weekends
Chez Doris's interim executive director Marina Boulos said closing on the weekends was a difficult decision because it left some people stranded.
She said some clients didn't know where to go, so they just sat on the steps outside the building.
"The clientele that comes on the weekend is a little different than during the weekdays, Boulos said.
"You will find more homeless women who will come, because they don't have a place to go during the weekend. There are no street workers on the weekends, so there are [fewer] services on the weekend."
Boulos said Chez Doris was racking up a six-figure deficit every year, trying to keep up with increasing demand. The number of women using the centre has doubled in the past decade.
"When you provide 130 meals a day, it gets expensive," said Boulos. "We own our building, but maintaining it can be expensive."
Boulos expects the centre will have to do more private fundraising in the future to make ends meet.