Two buildings in Villa-Marie borough will soon be transformed to a 19-room safe space
The Governments of Canada, Quebec, and the City of Montreal are providing additional support to Chez Doris women's shelter foundation for a project that supports women who have experienced or are at risk of homelessness.
The City of Montreal’s Executive Committee agreed to grant the non-profit organization $7 million worth of financial support. This funding would allow Chez Doris to acquire and convert two connected buildings in the Villa-Marie borough into a 19-room safe living space for women in difficulty. In addition, the Government of Quebec agreed to allocate 12 rent supplements, so that residents would spend no more than one-fourth of their income on housing.
Completion of Chez Doris’ Villa-Marie borough project is estimated to cost around $10.5 million. Once finished, women who have experienced homelessness or are vulnerable to it will be allowed to stay in one of the 19 rooms for anywhere between three months to two years. The period spent in this safe living environment will give them an opportunity to take back control of their lives.
Chez Doris will also be providing community support to promote the Villa-Marie borough project tenants’ integration and better living and foster woman empowerment.
"The number of women experiencing homelessness has doubled since the pandemic started," said Marina Boulos-Winton, Chez Doris executive director. The Montreal women's shelter is aiming to raise more money to finance more diversified services. @chezdorisrefuge pic.twitter.com/rUJLBO3T3q— CityNews Montreal (@CityNewsMTL) September 14, 2021
The project funding was fulfilled by the Canadian Government’s financial contribution through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) under the Canada-Quebec agreement for the second round of the governments’ rapid housing initiative. The initiative allows the CMHC to inject capital into projects promoting the rapid construction of new housing or acquisition of existing buildings for their transformation into permanent and affordable housing.
"I am pleased to see the Chez Doris project reach another milestone,” said Quebec Minister for Housing France-Élaine Duranceau. “Once complete, this living environment will give hope to women striving for independence and agency in their lives. The Government of Quebec is proud to support the project's mission through rent supplements, which will ensure that residents won't spend more than 25% of their income on housing.”
Montreal Executive Committee vice-chair Benoit Dorais added: “In a context where homelessness needs have been exacerbated, notably by the pandemic, it was important to give the means to Chez Doris to ensure the realization of this project which will offer essential help to vulnerable women at risk of homelessness. This future rooming house meets a pressing need in the city. … [It] is essential that we all work together to offer housing and services adapted to the different realities that affect women in difficulty in Montreal.”
Last September 2022, Chez Doris opened an emergency overnight shelter for women undergoing homelessness.
“We believe that the transitional residence [in Villa-Marie borough] will ease the burden on the currently overstretched night shelter and thus contribute to reducing women's homelessness in Montreal,” said Chez Doris executive director Marina Boulos-Winton.
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