Dans la Rue

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Le Bon Dieu Dans la Rue (commonly known as Dans la Rue), is a bilingual Montreal based charitable organization (registration number: 138449020RR0001[1] offering resources and services for homeless youth and young adults aged 12–25. Dans La Rue offers unconditional support and assistance to youth and young adults who are isolated or in a difficult situations.


Dans La Rue’s mandate is dedicated to working with at-risk and homeless youth in Montreal using a “help without judgement”[2] approach. To this ends it provides programming, service provision and prevention programs geared to the specific needs and realities of street youth and homelessness.

Father Emmett "Pops" Johns[edit]

Emmett Johns, known as "Pops", was the founder and president of Dans La Rue.[3] Fr. Johns started Dans La Rue, offering food, shelter, support and friendship to street kids in Montreal.[4] As of 2016, Fr. Johns had retired from active involvement and was in a retirement home suffering from Parkinson's disease.[5] He died on January 13, 2018, aged 89.[6]


In 1988, Dans La Rue, a nonprofit organization, was founded by Father Johns.[7] He purchased a used Winnebago with a $10,000 personal loan to distribute hot dogs and basic supplies to youth on the streets.[8] This was replaced by a donated van in 1990.[7] A board of directors was formed in 1989.

In following years the charity opened "the Bunker", Montreal's only overnight shelter for underage kids[9] and opened a day centre, "Chez Pops"[10]

In 1997 the Emmett Johns School began offering high-school classes geared to street youth,[11] a program which was partnered by Concordia University in 2001.[12]

In 2000, a sponsored annual culinary event—"An evening of haute street cuisine"—was introduced.[13]

The organisation opened 17 low-cost apartments for young adults in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve in 2014, on its 25th anniversary.[5]


Dans La rue is run by a volunteer board of directors including a chairman, vice chairman and secretary. The organization employs 65 full-time staff[14] including an Intervention Management team, Bunker Emergency Shelter team, Chez Pops Day Centre staff, Administrative team, Volunteer Support team, Support staff, Education team, Youth team and an on-call Support team and Youth team.


Dans La Rue counts on their active volunteers, whose numbers are estimated to be 135.[4] Volunteers have many opportunities to contribute to the mandate of the organization including working in the Van, on outreach and prevention initiatives and in the Day Centre.


Chez Pops Day Centre[edit]

The Chez Pops Day Centre offers clients the opportunity to access healthcare, a meal, legal support, peer support, support groups, and crisis counselling including addressing issues of mental illness and distress[15] and poverty. The Chez Pops Day Centre provides services to youth and young adults aged 12–25.

The Bunker[edit]

The Bunker is an overnight emergency homeless shelter for youth, aged 12– 21. When it began in 1993, it had 20 beds. It offers street youth the opportunity to spend the night indoors.

The Van[edit]

The Van has been a consistent service offered by Dans La Rue since 1988. It is now a volunteer run initiative, delivering food, toiletries and harm reduction supplies to at risk and homeless youth and young adults. The van serves youth and young adults aged 12–25 at various places in Montreal during the night, everyday of the week but Tuesday and Saturday.

Intervention services[edit]

  • Intervention Services aimed at minimizing the negative risk factors associated with poverty and homelessness.
  • Increased access to education through alternative high school programs.[16]
  • On site spiritual, physical and mental health care.
  • Employment services aimed at increasing skills related to employability.
  • Access to computers, a music room and art room.
  • Mentoring services and opportunities as well as family services.

Health care[edit]

Dans La Rue has teamed up with McGill University Pediatric Residency[17] program as well as their Dentistry program.[18] Students in these programs provide health and dental care in the Pops Day Centre to street youth accessing services at Dans La Rue.


The Emmett Johns School[edit]

As part of its prevention strategy Dans La Rue emphasizes the importance of education. To this end, they established the Emmett Johns School in 1997. The Emmett Johns School offers high school classes to 20 students at a time, adapted to the unique situation of the lived realities of street youth. They also offer a scholarship fund to support students who wish to further pursue educational goals post high school.

Concordia University partnership[edit]

Concordia – Dans La Rue Project[19] is a collaboration between Dans La Rue and Concordia University. This initiative matches Dans La Rue high school students with Concordia University students enrolled in the Design Art Program. Program goals include developing computer literacy skills, imaging, music mixing, 3d computer animation and video editing.[19]

Board of directors[edit]

The organization is overseen by a volunteer board of directors[20] comprising, as of 5 May 2013,

  • Chairman: Paul J. Setlakwe
  • Vice Chairman: Mark Pathy
  • Secretary: Jules Charette
  • Members: Lucyna M. Lach, Helene Brisebois, René Beaudry, Robert Dumas, Allan Lanthier, Marie-Diane Ouimet


Dans La Rue is a charitable organization, funded through a number of public and private organisations, individual donors and fundraising activities.[21]


  1. ^ Charity focus Le bon dieu dan la rue retrieved from http://www.charityfocus.ca/en/pages/charitysummary.aspx?charityid=138449020RR0001
  2. ^ "About". Dans la Rue. Retrieved 2012-04-06. 
  3. ^ Johns, E.; Moskvitch, K. (2011)"They Call me 'Pops': Le Bon Dieu Dans La Rue". Pops Publishing, Montreal Quebec.
  4. ^ a b "DANS LA RUE | Father Emmett "Pops" Johns - The founder of Le Bon Dieu dans la rue turns 80 today!". Newswire.ca. 2008-04-03. Retrieved 2012-04-06. 
  5. ^ a b "Legacy of Father "Pops" lives on at Dans La Rue". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 2016-03-14. 
  6. ^ "Father Emmett Johns, dubbed "Pops" by street kids he cared for, dies at 89". montrealgazette.com. 2018-01-15. Retrieved 2018-01-15. 
  7. ^ a b "The Dans la Rue Story". Danslarue.com. Retrieved 2012-04-06. 
  8. ^ "more pieces in our ongoing series exploring the everyday acts of service that can lead us to a heightened state of bliss". Ascentmagazine.com. 1928-04-03. Archived from the original on 2012-03-01. Retrieved 2012-04-06. 
  9. ^ World Street Children News: Canada Streetkid News retrieved from http://streetkidnews.blogsome.com/category/1/north-south-america/canada-streetkid-news
  10. ^ "The homeless shelters of Montreal - Features - The McGill Tribune - McGill University". The McGill Tribune. Retrieved 2012-04-06. [permanent dead link]
  11. ^ "Education". Danslarue.com. Retrieved 2012-04-06. 
  12. ^ Canada (2008-12-04). "Dans la rue shows what's inside - Concordia Journal - Concordia University - Montreal, Quebec, Canada". Cjournal.concordia.ca. Retrieved 2012-04-06. 
  13. ^ "From the streets to the stars: an evening of haute street cuisine". Will Travel For Food. 2011-09-15. Retrieved 2012-04-06. 
  14. ^ Father Emmett "Pops" Johns the founder of Le Bin Diew Dans La Rue turns 80 today retrieved from http://www.newswire.ca/en/story/329723/father-emmett-pops-johns-the-founder-of-le-bon-dieu-dans-la-rue-turns-80-today
  15. ^ Curran, Peggy (2012-02-16). "For street people of all ages, mental health a critical issue". Montrealgazette.com. Retrieved 2012-04-06. 
  16. ^ Jillian Zacchia (2010-02-13). "The Senior Times Monthly - Montreal". Theseniortimes.com. Retrieved 2012-04-06. 
  17. ^ Pediatric residency program—McGill University Social pediatrics elective Rotation template and educational objectives 2003 retrieved from https://www.mcgill.ca/files/peds/SocialPediatrics.pdf
  18. ^ The McGill University Faculty of Dentistry Outreach Program target audience retrieved from https://www.mcgill.ca/dentistry/community/audience
  19. ^ a b "Concordia University - Dans La Rue & Desta". Danslarue.concordia.ca. Retrieved 2012-04-06. 
  20. ^ "Board of Directors". Danslarue.com. Retrieved 2012-04-06. 
  21. ^ "Le Bon Dieu Dans La Rue, Organisation Pour Jeunes Adultes". OpenCharity.ca. 2009-10-31. Archived from the original on 2012-09-05. Retrieved 2012-04-06. 


  • Karabanow, J. (1999). Creating community: a case study of a Montreal street kid agency. Community development journal, v. 34 (4), 318. Doi:10.1300/J137v13n02_04
  • Karabanow, J. (2008). Getting off the street: Exploring the process of young people’s street exits. American Behavioral Scientist, 51, 772. DOI: 10.1177/0002764207311987
  • Boivin, J.F., & Roy, É., & Haley, N., Galbaud du Fort, G,. (2005). The health of street youth. Canadian journal of public health, v.96(6), 432. Retrieved from