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Chez Doris to open overnight women's shelter on Monday


As of Monday evening, 24 shelter-seeking women in Montreal will have a safe place to rest for up to one month at a time.

Just a few steps from the Chez Doris day shelter on Chomedey Street downtown, a new emergency shelter, run by the same team, is opening up.

The shelter, which is wheelchair accessible and pet friendly, has been four years in the making.

But during that time, the pandemic intensified the situation for Montreal's unhoused women.

According to the Chez Doris executive director, the day shelter became an overnight shelter and saw more than 1,600 women.

"Our day shelter became a 24-hour service," said Marina Boulos-Winton. "We had to rent office space for all our caseworkers because we converted their office space to dorms by night."

According to case worker Clara Seidenberg, some of the women who stay in the shelter are fleeing abuse.

"There are definitely, as well, some women that come here telling us that they're staying here for the day because someone is after them, that they fear for their own safety."

The doors to the new space aren't even open yet, but workers are already anticipating they'll need more room. Boulos-Winton says she's seen more unhoused women with severe psychiatric issues that professionals aren't following.

"We have so many women with psychiatric problems," she said, adding that other women vulnerable to homelessness "can't use the services fully because there's no room for them."

Staff are already looking to the next steps, including more psychiatric care and transitional programs to help women find permanent housing. Top Stories

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