Montreal shelter re-opens its doors on weekends
“This good news has lifted the spirits of the women”
The Montreal women’s shelter that serves many of the city’s homeless Inuit has begun to open on weekends again after a funding shortfall in 2014.
Chez Doris, a drop-in centre that offers meals and support programs to women in difficulty, re-opened Saturdays and Sundays earlier this month, after nine months of weekend closures.
Last May, the shelter had to begin closing on weekends due to a funding shortfall. That made it harder to reach out to women in need, said the shelter’s Inuit case worker, Tina Pisuktie — especially during the cold winter months.
About 15 per cent of Chez Doris’ clientele are Inuit.
“This good news has lifted the spirits of the women who need our services as well as a safe place to be seven days a week,” said Talar Dikijian, president of the Chez Doris board of directors, in a Feb. 13 release.
It costs the centre roughly $150,000 a year to stay open on weekends.
Last December, the centre received news that it would receive about $105,000 in recurring funding from the provincial and municipal governments to re-open on weekends.
Chez Doris has since received another $50,000 from Canadian National Railways — half of which is targeted to its Inuit support program.
The funding goes to pay for breakfast and lunch for clients, hot coffee and access to the centre’s caseworkers.
Women can also take advantage of the centre’s respite beds, showers, emergency clothing, hygiene products and emergency food bags.
As part of its weekday schedule, Chez Doris offers a financial management services program, health and mental health services, legal support and socio-recreational programs.