1994 : Founding of La rue des Femmes
La rue des Femmes was born out of a profound desire on the part of its Founder and Executive Director, Léonie Couture, C.M., C.Q., to improve the lives of women experiencing homelessness. She was driven by the conviction that it is possible for women to heal the serious wounds they have suffered and to return to a normal life.
1995 : Opening of the first day centre
In 1995, despite its limited resources, La rue des Femmes opened its first day centre in a modest building on Avenue du Parc in Montréal. This laid the foundations for the emergence of a relational approach. The centre welcomed its first participants: women who were living in a state of homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless, and who were now able to find a safe space where they could give a voice to their suffering and needs.
In 1996, La rue des Femmes extended the services of its centre, opening seven days a week and adding treatment and rehabilitation activities, including art workshops, massage therapy, qi gong, and more.
2001 : Establishment of the La rue des Femmes Foundation
Helping restore a sense of stability in women’s lives quickly became a key priority. In 2000, La rue des Femmes, with the support of its Board of Directors, launched a project aimed at acquiring a new house. This led to the creation, in 2001, of the La rue des Femmes Foundation, whose mission is to ensure the sustainability of the organization. It was thanks to this initiative that Olga House opened its doors in 2002.
2002 : Opening of Olga House
Located in downtown Montréal, Olga House offers a warm and welcoming environment to women in need. Both a shelter and a day centre, Olga House provides a wide range of activities and services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Homeless women have access to therapy and activities aimed at helping them heal their wounds, get off the streets and return to a normal life.
2006 : Inauguration of the Dahlia Centre
In order to facilitate the social reintegration of women, a second house was urgently needed. The Dahlia Centre opened its doors in April 2006 in the building next to Olga House. The centre offered 12 supervised studios to help women who had already stayed at Olga House to make the successful transition to autonomous living, while retaining access to all the services offered by La rue des Femmes.
2015 : Opening of Jacqueline House
With demand regularly exceeding capacity at Olga House, the team at La rue des Femmes knew that a third house was a must. In March 2015, the twenty-bed Jacqueline House opened, with the aim of providing emergency and stabilization shelter to women experiencing chronic homelessness, who are among our society’s most broken women. Jacqueline House also offers a day centre that is open to non-residents and includes the relational health therapy and services program developed by La rue des Femmes.