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A milestone for the Old Brewery Mission’s services for women

13 December 2023
Interior photo of a semi-private room in the Patricia Mackenzie Pavilion at the Old Brewery Mission.
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Semi-private rooms, in the Patricia Mackenzie Pavilion, the Old Brewery Mission's emergency shelter for women.

The Old Brewery Mission today took an important step forward by saying goodbye to the dormitories at the Patricia Mackenzie Pavilion, its emergency services facility for women. The last dormitory, which housed 26 women, has been transformed into semi-private rooms, marking a new chapter for the Old Brewery Mission and for homelessness services in general.

The new bedrooms each accommodate two women. They are equipped with bed, storage space and nightstand. With the 13 new rooms, the number of emergency spaces at the Patricia Mackenzie Pavilion remains unchanged. Given the critical needs in Montreal, it was imperative to maintain the number of spaces.

Modernizing emergency services

As the Old Brewery Mission celebrates 25 years of women’s services this year, this transformation brings to fruition its vision of sustainable solutions to break the cycle of homelessness.

The atmosphere in traditional, open-dorm shelters and the challenges of daily cohabitation can make it harder to stabilize residents. The experience in traditional shelters can be particularly traumatic for women experiencing homelessness for the first time. The primary goal of the new approach is to promote faster reaffiliation, thereby easing the transition to stable housing.

“We saw a significant change in the living environment for residents at our Patricia Mackenzie Pavilion when we converted the third-floor dorms to private rooms in 2021,” explains Solange Lavigne, Co-Director of Women’s Services at the Old Brewery Mission. “The quieter environment of the small rooms lets women find their bearings, sleep better and focus more on their reaffiliation plan.”

“We’re very happy to have phased out dormitory accommodations at our women’s facility,” says James Hughes, President and CEO of the Old Brewery Mission. “In the Patricia Mackenzie Pavilion’s 25th year in operation, this project is representative of the evolution and modernization of our services to better respond to current homelessness challenges in Montreal, such as the number of seniors experiencing homelessness for the first time due to the housing crisis.”

Support from partners

This project was made possible by the generosity of the Liverant family, loyal donors to the Patricia Mackenzie Pavilion. As well, the support of the W. P. Scott Charitable Foundation, the Oka & Grégoire Foundation and Mary-Pat Hébert was essential to the project. The Old Brewery Mission would also like to thank its partners in this project: GRS Architecture (architect), Anbec Construction Inc. (contractor) and Alex Shield Design (interior design).

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