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As a follow-up to our email dated March 15 on how we are dealing with Covid-19 at Chez Doris, here is the latest update: our cleaning protocols since the coronavirus situation presented itself are such that caseworkers clean their work space 4 – 6 times a day and we have augmented the hours of a hired cleaning company that costs more than $1,400 per week. Each evening all our high touch areas are cleaned with a bleach-water solution.

Normally Chez Doris sees an average of 100 women per day. Social distancing forced us to aim for less women in the house, and consequently, in order to help the most vulnerable, we have shifted gears since March 17 to only accept 40 homeless women in the house at one time. Our services are now temporarily limited to breakfast and lunch, access to basic necessities, such as respite beds, emergency clothing, showers, any hygiene products, access to caseworkers and services from the Cheque Administration Program. As of today, our arts & crafts room will now serve as an isolation room for those who are sick. Moreover, considering that we have a fully operational kitchen, we have bought containers, and our leftovers will be picked up daily by local CLSC nurses to give them to other homeless people on the street.

Since our updated procedures to serve only homeless women as of March 17, 25 homeless women came to Chez Doris; on the 18th, there were 38; and yesterday, there were 28. Considering that all our social recreational activities are cancelled, we are now offering, each day, a new colouring book and crayons as well as crossword puzzles, for those who want to keep occupied.

Of the 28 women we saw yesterday. Here are their realities:

  • 1 woman was discharged from the psychiatric ward of a hospital with nowhere to go. We found her a place at Maison Jacqueline.
  • 4 women stayed at a friend’s place.
  • 3 women came from the Patricia Mackenzie shelter.
  • 5 women came from Le Chaînon.
  • 5 women came from the former Royal Victoria Hospital, which has been converted into an overflow shelter.
  • 10 women were on the street last night and they will go back to sleeping “in the rough.”

Ultimately, we think that the outcome may be devastating for those out on the street. For the most part, they are not healthy and are exposed to a lot of danger and all the homeless shelters are in a holding pattern for a comprehensive solution from the government.

For our clients who are very poor and do not have a TV, or internet access, or even a phone, or any other outlet to pass the time, they are very despondent. Some are running out of food, and as of March 25, a caseworker will drive to their homes to drop off food at their door.

We are therefore appealing for your support, on behalf of all of those who need our help. In view of a scarcity of supplies, we are still seeking donations of unopened, unexpired bottles of hand sanitizer as we have no sink at the entry of our home. We will also accept donations of masks for clients who have a cough and/or a cold. Your monetary donations are most welcome. > To donate.

We will continue to be proactive in our efforts and would like to thank you for supporting our vulnerable clients and our dedicated staff and volunteers. We will continue to monitor the situation and the recommendations issued by the public health authorities.

Sincerely,

Carole Croteau
President of the Board

Marina Boulos-Winton
Executive Director