Andrew Harper, left, who made a donation of $1 million to Chez Doris, speaks with the executive director Marina Boulos-Winton, left, during a fundraising tea on Sunday May 6, 2018. To the right is Harold Merton, who is Harper’s accountant.
Pierre Obendrauf / Montreal Gazette
The 10th annual fundraising tea for Chez Doris netted more than $49,600 for the women’s day shelter, up significantly from the $30,750 netted at last year’s tea.The sold-out event paid tribute to Hockey Helps the Homeless, a volunteer-driven charitable organization that hosts hockey tournaments across Canada; players raise funds that have a direct impact in their own community. Hockey Helps the Homeless has provided $170,000 in funding to Chez Doris since 2014.The shelter, explained executive director Marina Boulos-Winton, has used the support to leverage $1.5 million in financial support as matching grants — mainly for repairs and renovations to the downtown building’s daytime dormitory, washrooms, shower room, medical clinic, clothing room, and hygiene product storage room.The event, held May 5 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, drew more than 300 people. The hotel provided the room at no charge as well as a rebate on food and service.The $50,000 raised in the 2018 and 2019 Hockey Helps the Homeless tournaments will go toward the purchase of bedroom furniture for a planned Chez Doris permanent residence. The building, to be owned by the Société d’habitation et de développement de Montréal, will have 26 rental units for women who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. The plan is for the building, to be located near Notre Dame Hospital, to open in the summer of 2020; construction is slated to start this summer. Chez Doris must raise the money for the annual operating costs of the residence, Boulos-Winton said.Although Chez Doris gets some funding from Centraide and the government, it must fundraise for about 70 per cent of its $1.7-million budget.Chez Doris is also planning a 22-bed emergency shelter. A $1 million pledge by retired Montreal businessman Andrew Harper, announced at the 2018 fundraising tea, made possible the purchase of a building for that purpose. Extensive renovations are needed to bring it up to code, add an extension with an elevator and convert it to a structure in which social services can be delivered, Boulos-Winton said. Renovation costs are pegged at $1.9 million; money for the renovations and for operating costs has yet to be raised.Clients at Chez Doris, the only Montreal women’s day shelter that is open seven days a week, include asylum seekers, aging women in need and Inuit women from the North. Half have been homeless in the past; 30 per cent are homeless now. Services include access to showers, hygienic products and clothing, emergency food bags, a financial management program; health and mental health services and tax filing and legal services.In 2018-19, Chez Doris had more than 30,000 visits from 2,000 women and served close to 40,000 meals.Related