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A SHDM housing project for women in difficulty is approved by the Ville de Montreal

June 13 2018

A SHDM housing project for women in difficulty is approved by the Ville de Montreal

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The Executive Committee of the Ville de Montreal has just authorized the construction of the De Champlain project that will number 26 rental studios, to be built and financed by the Société d’habitation et de développement de Montréal (SHDM), in partnership with the charitable organization Chez Doris. This housing project, which will provide social support to women with chronic mental health problems and who are at risk of homelessness, will be located in the borough of Ville-Marie and will welcome its first tenants in the fall of 2019.

Wishing to consolidate and redeploy its housing stock, while addressing the challenges facing the Ville de Montréal in the fight against homelessness, the SHDM seized the opportunity to replace two of its buildings, attached triplexes of three units each, which were completely vacant because of major structural problems. The new building will have more housing units with typologies entirely rethought to accommodate women in search of residential stability. To this end, the organization Chez Doris, which will supervise the premises and offer support services to residents, is entrusted with the management of the building, which will remain the property of the SHDM. This project of housing with accompaniment complements the 309 rooms already owned by the SHDM and that contribute to the fight against homelessness.

Declarations

Valérie Plante, Mayor of Montréal: “This residential revitalization project is perfectly in line with the objectives and actions of the Ville de Montréal’s 2018–2020 Action plan to Fight Homelessness. It contributes to increase the supply of housing for homeless people or people at risk of becoming homeless. It directly works on the improvement of their housing conditions by dedicating specialized resources both in terms of design and social intervention to promote their residential stability. Above all, this project promotes social inclusion by taking into account the specific needs of homeless women, including Inuit women. I would like to acknowledge the concerted efforts of the SHDM and Chez Doris, which are acting in complementarity and are answering the call of the Ville de Montréal to build a city that is solidary, inclusive, and responsive to the needs of the most vulnerable in our society.”

Nancy Shoiry, Executive Director, SHDM: “It is precisely by supporting the accompaniment of neglected clienteles with respect to housing that the SHDM can achieve its mission regarding social and economic development. This project is part of the diversity of housing solutions that the SHDM offers on a daily basis to meet the needs of different Montréal clienteles and it is through this same diversification of its activities that it can invest in projects that have a social impact. To ensure the success of this bold endeavour, the SHDM once again favours working in partnership, combining its expertise in Responsible Property Investment with the knowledgeability of Chez Doris, an organization that has proven itself in the aid to vulnerable clienteles. By responding in concert to the objectives of the Ville de Montréal, SHDM’s role as a partner of choice in Responsible Property Investment takes on its full meaning here.”

Marina Boulos-Winton, Chez Doris Executive Director: “Having operated a day shelter for more than 40 years to support women in difficulty, Chez Doris is now ready to expand its offer and mission and support such a housing project. While women’s homelessness is a complex and even systemic phenomenon, it is well hidden and less visible than men’s homelessness. Resources are simply not sufficient to meet all the needs. This is why we are delighted to have found in the SHDM a key partner to support this project and to add a resource that is complementary to our various existing tools, all of which essential for the path towards residential stability of women at risk of becoming homeless. Quite frankly, without the SHDM, we would never have been able to realize this project and in such a short time.”

A Structuring Project That Meets the Needs of a Vulnerable Clientele

Located near Notre-Dame Hospital, the project will include 26 studios as well as common areas, including two offices dedicated to support and supervision services. Unlike rooming houses, each studio will include a kitchenette and a bathroom in order to offer future tenants an environment conducive to harmonious cohabitation that respects the privacy of each and creates the conditions for individuals to retake control of their lives and improve their psychological stability.

Operating with 100% financial autonomy, the SHDM will finance the replacement project as well as the management fees that will be paid to the organization under a management agreement. The building costs for this repurposing project are estimated at approximately $3 million. Chez Doris will be responsible for the purchase of equipment and furniture, and for the management fees associated with the social support of tenants. As for the financing of the rents through a program of assistance to the person, the latter will be initiated later.

The project will be designed by the architectural firm Rayside-Labossière. An expert in architectural projects for the community and social sectors, this firm will be able to respond to the particular challenges of such a project, while taking into account the built environment in order to ensure a successful integration with the urban environment of the sector.

Regarding Chez Doris
Chez Doris offers services and programs to address the most basic and immediate needs of women with respect to homelessness, poverty, mental illness or addictions. It is the only women’s day shelter in Montréal open 7 days a week, from 8:30 am to 3 pm. Services include: breakfast and lunch, access to showers, hygiene products and a cloakroom, emergency food bags, 6 respite beds, telephone and referral information, a financial management program, an Inuit Assistance Program, a housing program for Aboriginal women, health and mental health services, legal and tax preparation services, as well as educational and socio-recreational integration programs.

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