Services & Programs
Chez Doris’ vision is to provide a safe place for women in need while maintaining a high level of confidentiality. We provide meals, respite, clothing, socio-recreational activities as well as practical assistance in a secure and accepting environment. Our hours of operation are from 8:30 am to 8:00 pm, seven days a week. From December 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021, our shelter will provide overnight shelter to our homeless clientele.
Our Services & Programs
Our drop-in program ensures that every woman that walks through our doors feels safe, respected and welcomed. Offered on location every day of the week, from 8:30 AM to 8:00 PM. From December 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021 our shelter will be open 24/7, with these extended hours, we will provide emergency night beds for homeless women during the winter months.
Our objectives are
- To help alleviate loneliness, isolation, and depression by encouraging social interaction in a home-like environment;
- To assist with a broad range of immediate needs related to a crisis, adapting to a sudden life circumstance, poverty, homelessness, mental illness and/or addictions;
- To provide daily access to respite beds, available until closing;
- To provide access to our clothing room;
- To help homeless women feel safe and supported;
- To foster a sense of community and belonging; and
- To explore their interests and encourage their potential through our various activities and programs.
Major funding commitments made by both federal and provincial governments are beginning to make visible differences to lives of people who cope with major barriers to housing such as mental health, substance abuse, trauma, homelessness and other challenges.
The housing program works under the following three umbrellas:
- Vers Chez Soi Indigenous Housing Program: This program supports chronically and episodically homeless Indigenous women and their children. A one-time budget to help set up the client by providing a budget for moving, furniture, house appliances and cleaning supplies. Additionally, a monthly budget for groceries thanks to the Trottier Foundation.
- Rapid Rehousing Program: This program helps a diverse range of women, from newcomers to chronically homeless. This low barrier program welcomed all women (and their families) who earned under $31,000 yearly. This program works closely with supportive and affordable housing resources to help stabilize women in their new private market rental apartment. The women receive a one-time budget to help the client start up which covers moving expenses, furniture, small appliances, house supplies and cleaning supplies.
- Programme de logements subventionnes (PSL): In collaboration with the OMHM, PSL helps women in difficulty access affordable long-term housing. Eligible applicants will be housed in a private market for up to 5 years before receiving a permanent HLM in the neighbourhood of their choice. These women live in poverty, and due to the national housing crisis, their budget typically only allows them access to unsanitary and unsafe housing options. Clients are provided with a one-time budget to help with moving, furniture, house supplies, grocery and cleaning supplies.
Clothing & Hygiene
Thanks to donations from our generous community of donors, our clothing room provides clients access to appropriate seasonal clothing by appointment. Clothing provided includes outerwear, pyjamas, and undergarments.
Although good personal hygiene is essential, many homeless or vulnerable women lack access to facilities and basic necessities. We offer access to clean washrooms as well as a safe place for them to take a warm shower. Thanks to many donations, we are able to provide our clients with soap, towels, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, toothbrushes and toothpaste, as well as women’s personal hygiene products. Moreover, with the assistance of volunteers, Chez Doris is able to offer our clientele, by appointment, haircuts and manicures.
We provide, on a daily basis, three healthy meals: breakfast is from 8:30 AM to 10:30 AM, a lunch is served from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM and a supper offered from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM. As well, in partnership with the Department of Dietetics at McGill University, we offer educational workshops on nutrition.
Our objectives are
- To provide three nutritious meals each day (breakfast, lunch and supper);
- To help women maximize their limited income; and
- To foster healthy food choices and habits.
Financial Administration Program
Our Financial Administration Program offers financial services and psychosocial support to over 105 women on a monthly basis. Chez Doris receives the financial assistance cheques (e.g. disability, welfare, old age pension, etc.) of each woman registered in this voluntary program designed to assist participants to better manage their money. An assigned caseworker works with each woman to create a monthly budget, pay bills and manage extra money left over.
In addition, the Financial Administration Program also offers psychosocial aid. Each caseworker is available to help clients book appointments, fill out various forms, assist with phone calls, help with apartment searches as well as taxes and many other such needs.
Our objectives are
- To instill a sense of financial security & self-sufficiency;
- To improve the economic situation of participants;
- To provide housing stability and prevent homelessness; and
- To be of service to women from all over Montreal who are referred from CLSC’s, social workers and other organizations.
Urban Programming for Indigenous Peoples
The purpose of this program is to provide services and activities for urban Indigenous peoples, and to recognize and celebrate their heritage and cultural identity. Funded by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, as of April 1, 2018, the program provides Indigenous women with the opportunity to experience culturally specific outings and activities. Thanks to this program, we aim to provide a positive, supportive, and healthy environment to help develop self-esteem, self-awareness, creativity and encourage meaningful cultural connections.
Inuit Assistance Program
The Inuit Assistance Program provides frontline and ongoing psychosocial services that aim to remain culturally relevant and respond to the needs of the Inuit clientele. Many of the Inuit clients use our services to access basic essential needs such as meals, showers, hygiene products, clothing and a safe space for respite. In addition, this program responds to psycho-social needs by offering individualized intervention plans, active listening, advocacy, referrals, home visits, outreach and wellness checks, as well as legal, social and medical accompaniments.
Physical & Mental Health Services
Physical Health Program
We offer a wide range of programs that promote both the physical and mental health of our clientele. Our clinic is certified by the Collège des médecins du Québec and affiliated with the Herzl Clinic of the Jewish General Hospital. Appointments can be made with a medical doctor, available one day a week, as well as a podiatric nurse. We also offer weekly massage treatments, physiotherapy, and yoga classes.
Mental Health Program
We offer psychiatric support to our clients once every two weeks, thanks to Dr. Pascale Desrosiers and a psychiatric resident from McGill University. In addition, we work in collaboration with the CLSC’s Projet Connexion as well as with student nurses from the Université du Québec en Outaouais to provide information and regular follow-ups.
Our objectives are
- To facilitate access to medical services;
- To maintain and monitor prescriptions;
- To promote physical and mental wellbeing; and
- To improve personal care.
Educational & Socio-recreational Activities
We provide a monthly calendar of daily educational and socio-recreational activities to foster a sense of belonging and community for our clients as well as help improve their sense of well-being, self-worth, and pride.
Activities may include:
- Workshops dealing with nutrition, psychology, low-cost housing, creative writing, etc.;
- Weekly bingo games;
- Arts & crafts;
- Access to computers;
- Special meals and activities for holidays, including Easter, Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, International Women’s Day;
- Celebration of cultural diversity with special meals and activities throughout the year, such as National Indigenous Peoples Day and Black History Month;
Moreover, with the financial assistance of Emploi Québec, we are able hire full-time students to organize daily activities throughout the summer months which women register for. Activities may include daylong excursions, cultural outings, invited speakers, and spa days.
Legal & Tax Clinics
In partnership with McGill’s Faculty of Law, students offer legal information and assistance to our clients during the fall, winter, and spring. The interns are supervised by a law professor, and help with legal matters which may pertain to tenant rights, family law, criminal law and assist with drafting letters to landlords, accompanying our clients to legal appointments as well as outlining their rights.
Our objectives are
- To make legal advice accessible to low-income and vulnerable individuals; and
- To help prevent legal problems or minimize their impact.
Income Tax Services
A Chez Doris volunteer offers twice a week help filling out tax forms. This service ensures that women are up to date in their yearly filings and receive reimbursements and benefits they are entitled to.
Our objectives are
- To help women be in compliance with yearly tax returns; and
- To ensure that women benefit from different tax credits and refunds that will help them with their living costs.