Chez Doris women’s shelter raised $62,000 at its 10th-annual Tea Time Fundraiser, held at the Ritz-Carlton in downtown Montreal on Sunday.
Since its opening in 1977, Chez Doris has been a safe space where vulnerable women can find comfort, food and shelter in the daytime and a wide range of services, all in confidentiality and without judgment.
The donations raised during Tea Time will help Chez Doris run its general operations and expand, Chez Doris executive director Marina Boulos-Winton said on Sunday.
The expansion includes a 22-bed emergency shelter, funded by the federal government, that is expected to launch in late 2020. Another addition is a residence with 26 studio apartments for women living on the streets or who are at risk of homelessness.
The Canadian not-for-profit organisation Hockey Helps the Homeless (HHTH) were guests of honour at this year’s event. Hockey Helps the Homeless hosts pro-am and collegiate hockey tournaments to raise awareness and funds to fight against homelessness.
“Chez Doris should not be honouring Hockey Helps the Homeless; it should be the other way around. They’re the ones doing all the hard work,” said Michael Coughlin, committee co-chair of Hockey Helps the Homeless in Montreal.
HHTH gave $50,000 to Chez Doris — $25,000 in 2018 and $25,000 in 2019 — from its annual hockey tournaments held in Montreal.
“The money they’ve given us this year and last year will go towards bedroom furniture for our new studio apartments,” said Boulos-Winton.
Since the beginning of their partnership in 2014, HHTH has granted Chez Doris $170,000. The funds have allowed the organization to set up a medical clinic, a resting space with beds, a bathroom facility, a storage room for hygiene products and other amenities to accommodate varying needs.
“Homelessness in general is a cause that is often overlooked, but within that cause itself, females that are in trouble or in need are often even more overlooked,” said Coughlin.
“There are so many male shelters out there and so few groups like Chez Doris,” he added.
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Chez Doris has a current operating budget of $2.1 million per year, and organizers aim to reach $3 million per year in the near future.
In Montreal, 3,149 people visibly live on the streets, according to results of a headcount that took place in the spring of 2018 across Quebec.
For the province as a whole, the number rises to 5,789 — or about 76 people per every 100,000 residents.
Chez Doris is hoping to help tackle this statistic by providing support to women in difficulty.
— With files from Global Montreal’s Rachel Lau.