Currently in our third month of offering 24 beds for homeless women at our new overnight shelter, we are completely overwhelmed by the demand. Chez Doris has provided a bed to 108 different women in the past two months since our official opening on September 19. This is a staggering amount, as we had initially envisioned helping approximately 300 different women per year!

Chez Doris currently receives referrals by the LeClerc Detention Center in Laval and area hospitals are increasingly asking us to take in homeless women when they are discharged. Our day shelter sees an average of 78 different homeless women each day, where we continue to offer 130+ meals daily.  Most women are in dire need of food, clothing, a shower, as well as a warm and safe place to sleep –all necessities for maintaining a person’s dignity. On average, we refuse 9 women a night and another 12-18 women sleep on the streets. Most of the women we serve have mental health issues and have been homeless for a period greater than a year; of those, approximately half have addiction problems. Additionally, 14% have immigration issues and another roughly 9% are transgender.

Prior to the pandemic, there were 845 permanent emergency beds for homeless people within the City of Montréal.  Now, there are close to 1,400, which is still not enough for all the City’s homeless. Of these beds, only 148 are provided by women-only shelters. Women need safety and help finding housing solutions for the winter season, as well as for long-term, but with very little money, especially if receiving some form of social assistance, it is increasingly challenging. There is a growing backlog of homeless people unable to find affordable housing in the private rental market as well as in government-run and non-profit facilities.  Another more insurmountable challenge for obtaining housing is that there are far more homeless people who are difficult to house due to untreated mental health issues, along with various drug addictions. These issues, compounded with insufficient governmental budgeting and a healthcare system that is not set up to support those living off the streets, has caused us to witness some of the largest increases in women seeking our services since we first opened our doors over 45 years ago!

Monetary donations to Chez Doris are always much appreciated and can be put to immediate use in buying needed supplies, supporting and enhancing our existing programs and expanding our current services so that we can reach the largest amount of homeless women. If you would rather provide a non-monetary gift, we are always in need of the following:  deodorants, toothbrushes, toothpaste, underwear, leggings, hoodies,and gift cards in various denominations to coffee shops, restaurants, pharmacies, and grocery stores.

Your generous gift can ensure that our homeless women have hope this Holiday Season. Thank you for your support in providing a better future for all homeless women. For more information about Chez Doris, please visit:

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