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Chez Doris acquires historic home to open day shelter for vulnerable Montreal women


Chez Doris has acquired the Fulford Residence, which it plans to reopen as its newest day shelter for women.

The organization's staff feel it's an important move, as Montreal sees growing needs among women in vulnerable situations.

The 170-year-old building with a spacious dining room that seats 100 along with 20 single bedrooms will serve as traditional housing for women in vulnerable situations.

"We are facing a lot of difficulty during the last two years to have enough room for our women, and now here, it's a beautiful place," said Chez Doris executive director Diane Pilote. "We are in their environment. They will come here because they will feel at home."

The building on Guy Street has always been dedicated to the housing and care of women.

"This building is not only a building, an architectural house, it's also a mission, and it's also the memory of that type of mission in Montreal's downtown history," said Heritage Montreal assistant policy director Taika Baillargeon.

Fulford House has been vacant for nearly three years following the death of a third of its residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was a seniors' home for women.

Heritage Montreal said it has been supporting Chez Doris's efforts to acquire the building ever since it closed.

"It's the memory of a time, a great period of construction and building, but also of constructing institutions and social services - and also social and public spaces in Montreal," said Baillargeon.

At La Rue des Femmes, Louise Waridel said funding for non-profits that help women is slim these days, and it's why she's celebrating the win for the community.

"It's not just a roof, it's not just to give more money," said Waridel. "There are people, there are many people who need also therapeutic help to be able to get somewhere."

Some renovations are still needed at the residence, and Chez Doris is not wasting any time.

"We expect to be able to receive our first women on the 50th anniversary of Chez Doris in 2027," said Chez Doris board of directors member Carole Croteau.

Until then, Chez Doris staff and members will be hard at work outside with a gardening project in the front yard starting this summer. Top Stories

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