History

Foundation in 1994    

Herstreet began very modestly in 1994: a table,  a  few chairs, the motivation of the present executive director Léonie Couture and the will to pay attention to the plight of women who were the most in need and the conviction that they could reclaim their place in society.

A day center in 1995

Thanks to donations and the help of unpaid staff, a day center opened on weekends in 1995. Women could have a healthy meal in a safe environment. Counselling, referrals, accompaniment and follow up services were provided. There were also second-hand clothes and space available so women could leave their baggage.

1996-2000:  A day center 7 days a week and art therapy

Herstreet opens 7 days a week and introduces art therapy activities and individual support services. Demand for services increases reaching up to 200 women a year.


2000:  Under the same roof

Homeless women are constantly exposed to many dangers on the streets and their efforts to heal themselves can be compromised by the constant necessity of having to find a place to stay for the night. The project “Under the same roof” emerged from our desire to respond to this crucial issue and give women stability. Many contributors needed to be found for the construction of a new building that would house a day center and a night shelter.

2001: The Foundation is created

The increase in the demand for services adds to the urgency of rising up to the challenge of fundraising. The necessity to secure more private funds led to the creation of the Herstreet Foundation in 2001.

2002: The Maison Olga opens


The Maison Olga opened its doors in 2002 in downtown Montreal. It became the main activity center of Herstreet, housing the day center with a spacious dining area, activity rooms, a kitchen-living area, a second-hand clothing counter, a washing room, spacious storage and the administrative area.

There are also 20 individual rooms with bathrooms available for stays of various lengths. Services are offered 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.

The development of our services based on wellness continues: support, counselling, sociotherapy, art therapy, relaxation, activities, accompaniment, follow-up, The demand for our services continues to increase. Herstreet adds 3 emergency beds and even those are not enough.

The number of participants has risen to 350 women a year. Herstreet’s notoriety and credibility has increased. We stage actions and events to raise awareness in the community and the media about the need for inclusion of the women.

2003: A garden for me

The courtyard was completely redone for the inauguration on September the 18th, 2003. The women now have access to the intimacy of a garden.

2005: A first award
The Réseau des femmes d’affaires du Québec (RFAQ) honors Léonie Couture with the Femmes d’Affaires du Québec Award in the category « Manager or professional in a non-profit organization ». 


2006: Centre Dahlia opens

To encourage social reintegration for the women, a second house became a must. The Dahlia Center opened in April 2006 on the street next to the Olga House. It has 13 studios that offer supervised housing for women who are ready to transition to autonomous living. Herstreets housing capacity is now greatly enhanced.

2008 : Jean-Pierre Bélanger Award

The Association pour la santé publique du Québec presented Herstreet with the Jean-Pierre Bélanger 2008 Award. With a bursary of $5 000 and a work of art, this award recognizes excellence and innovation in the field of health promotion.

2009: 15 candles and the Persillier-Lachapelle Award

It is the 15th anniversary of Herstreet and Léonie Couture receives the prestigious Persillier-Lachapelle 2009 Award. At a gala ceremony, the minister of health and social services Yves Bolduc and the deputy minister for social services Lise Thériault presented the award with a bursary of $25 000. With this award, the minister recognizes the quality and the extent of the work she has done for homeless women.

2010: Herstreets work is recognized like never before

Herstreet wishes to thank and share its prizes with all those who contribute to its development and who support the organization so generously.

Florence Award and Idola St-Jean Award

Suzanne Bourret, the intervention coordinator received the 2010 Florence Award from the Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers du Québec while Léonie Couture received the Idola St-Jean Award from the Fédération des Femmes du Québec.

Personality of the week and… of the year!

In July 2010, Léonie Couture was nominated personality of the week by La Presse and Radio Canada. See La Presse review!

The 16th of January 2011, at the Radio Canada Gala for Excellence, Léonie Couture was nominated Personality of the year in the category “Courage, humanism and personal accomplishments”.

2011: 10 years of “Coiffer pour changer le Monde”

To celebrate the 10th year anniversary of this annual hair dressing event, the artist Diane Trépanière, launched the book “Coiffer pour changer le Monde”, published by Éditions du Remue-ménage and La rue des Femmes/Herstreet.