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 gear to the specific needs and realities of street youth and homelessness.

Father Emmett "Pops" Johns[edit]

Emmett Johns known as "Pops" is the Founder and president of Dans La Rue.[3] He was born in 1928. Pops started Dans La Rue based on the "help without judgment" philosophy offering food, shelter, support and friendship to street kids in Montreal.[4]

History and Timeline[edit]

History and Timeline:

  • In 1988, Father Emmet Johns (Pops) founded Dans La Rue, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping homeless youth and young adults survive and ‘get back on their feet’.[5]
  • 1988 — Father Emmett Johns buys a used Winnebago with a $10,000 personal loan to distribute hot dogs and basic supplies to youth on the streets.[6]
  • 1989 — Board of directors of Dans la rue formed.
  • 1990 — “The Van” is donated and it replaces the old Winnebago.[5]
  • 1993 — The Bunker, Montreal's only overnight shelter for underage kids opens.[7]
  • 1995 — The Bunker undergoes renovations.
  • 1995 — Dans la rue acquires a truck to help collect donated food and clothing.[8]
  • 1995 — The Van is replaced with yet another second-hand motor home.
  • 1997 — The Chez Pops day centre opens.[9]
  • 1997 — The Emmett Johns School begins offering high school classes geared to street youth.[10]
  • 1998 — Dans La Rue purchases a new custom-made motor home (It becomes known as “The Van”).
  • 2000 — Dans La Rue acquires a new truck for food and furniture pickups.
  • 2001 — Dans La Rue’s alternative school teams with Concordia University.[11]
  • 2001 — The Day Centre moves to a new building due to increased space requirements.[12]
  • 2002 — The Bunker launches a day program for minors.
  • 2002 — Dans La Rue opens the Friperie Frip à Froc, a thrift shop run by youths trained and supervised by Dans la Rue.
  • 2003 — Dans la Rue purchases the "Bunker" building from the City of Montreal and begins major renovations.
  • 2004 — Dans la Rue closes the Friperie Frip à Froc due to funding cuts.
  • 2005 — Dans la Rue launches the "From the Streets to the Stars" culinary event to publicize Dans la rue's mission.[13]
  • 2005 — Concordia Dans La Rue program is launched.[14]
  • 2014 — DansLaRue opened 17 low-cost housing developments in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve on the organization's 25th anniversary.[15]


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[16] 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.

Volunteer contributions[edit]

Volunteer contributions: 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.

Front line Services[edit]

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[17] 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, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

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.[18]
  • 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.

Prevention Programs[edit]

including popular education initiatives in high schools educating youth about the realities and risks associated with homelessness.

  • school programs
  • community programs

Access to healthcare: Collaboration with McGill University[edit]

Dans La Rue has teamed up with McGill University Pediatric Residency[19] program as well as their Dentistry program.[20] Students in these programs provide health and dental care in the Pops Day Centre to street youth accessing services at Dans La Rue.

Access to Education: From High-Schools to Collaborations with Concordia University[edit]

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 – Dans La Rue[edit]

Concordia – Dans La Rue Project[14] 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.[14]

Board of Directors[edit]

The organization is overseen by a volunteer Board of Directors[21] composed of eight people. The board structure includes the following positions: Chairman, vice-chairman, secretary, and five unspecified chairs. In 2009, the Dans la Rue board of directors' seats were filled by:

  • Chairman: Peter Cullen
  • Partner, Stikeman Elliott LLP
  • Vice-Chairman: Paul Setlakwe
  • Senior Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer, Fednav Limited
  • Secretary: Jules Charette
  • Senior Partner, Norton Rose OR

Board Members[edit]

  • Father Emmett Johns: President and Founder, Le Bon Dieu dans la rue
  • Hugo Delaney: Director, Corporate Research, Quebecor Media Inc
  • Marie-Diane Ouimet
  • Mark Pathy: President and Co-CEO, Fednav Limited
  • Allan Lanthier: Associate, Ernst & Young


Dans La Rue is a charitable organization, funded through a number of sources. Fundraising strategies[22] include

Grassroots strategies[edit]

  • Advertisements/print/radio/TV commercials.
  • Collection plate/boxes.
  • Fundraising sales (e.g., cookies).
  • Mail campaigns.
  • Planned-giving programs.
  • Targeted corporate donations/sponsorships.
  • Targeted contacts.
  • Tournament/sporting events.

Funding from private foundations, public foundations, organizations[edit]

  • The J W Mcconnell Family Foundation - La Fondation De Famille J W Mcconnell (Registration Number: 119240091RR0001).[23]
  • American Women's Club of Montreal.[24]
  • The Kids Helping Kids Charitable Foundation (registration Number: 826825341RR0001).[23]
  • Centraide Du Grand Montreal Centraide of Greater Montreal (registration Number: 118842517RR0001).[23]
  • Gildan Activewear Inc who in 2005 made a multi-year financial commitment.[25]
  • Simple Plan Foundation[26]
  • From the Streets to the Stars community initiative.[27]
  • John Rennie High school food drive.[28]
  • Aeroplan Community Investment program.[29]
  • CBC Carolling Challenge.[30]
  • 5 days for the homeless campaign.[31]


  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 "The Dans la Rue Story". Danslarue.com. Retrieved 2012-04-06. 
  6. ^ "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. 
  7. ^ World Street Children News: Canada Streetkid News retrieved from http://streetkidnews.blogsome.com/category/1/north-south-america/canada-streetkid-news
  8. ^ Mr. Pink (2010-01-13). "Dans la Rue fights poverty in Montreal". Stoppovertyinmontreal2009.blogspot.ca. Retrieved 2012-04-06. 
  9. ^ "The homeless shelters of Montreal - Features - The McGill Tribune - McGill University". The McGill Tribune. Retrieved 2012-04-06. [permanent dead link]
  10. ^ "Education". Danslarue.com. Retrieved 2012-04-06. 
  11. ^ 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. 
  12. ^ Curran, Peggy (2012-02-15). "More kids on street, more calls for help". Montrealgazette.com. 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. ^ a b c "Concordia University - Dans La Rue & Desta". Danslarue.concordia.ca. Retrieved 2012-04-06. 
  15. ^ "Legacy of Father "Pops" lives on at Dans La Rue". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 2016-03-14. 
  16. ^ 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
  17. ^ Curran, Peggy (2012-02-16). "For street people of all ages, mental health a critical issue". Montrealgazette.com. Retrieved 2012-04-06. 
  18. ^ Jillian Zacchia (2010-02-13). "The Senior Times Monthly - Montreal". Theseniortimes.com. Retrieved 2012-04-06. 
  19. ^ Pediatric residency program—McGill University Social pediatrics elective Rotation template and educational objectives 2003 retrieved from http://www.mcgill.ca/files/peds/SocialPediatrics.pdf
  20. ^ The McGill University Faculty of Dentistry Outreach Program target audience retrieved from http://www.mcgill.ca/dentistry/community/audience
  21. ^ "Board of Directors". Danslarue.com. Retrieved 2012-04-06. 
  22. ^ "Le Bon Dieu Dans La Rue, Organisation Pour Jeunes Adultes". OpenCharity.ca. 2009-10-31. Retrieved 2012-04-06. [permanent dead link]
  23. ^ a b c "Pathy Family Foundation / Fondation De La Famille Pathy". OpenCharity.ca. 2009-12-31. Archived from the original on 2012-12-06. Retrieved 2012-04-06. 
  24. ^ http://www.awcmontreal.com/charities
  25. ^ ":: Gildan :: Donations per country". Genuinegildan.com. Retrieved 2012-04-06. 
  26. ^ "Simple plan foundation". Simple plan foundation. Retrieved 2012-04-06. 
  27. ^ Andrea Doucet Donida interview with David Ferguson. 2011, Sept 16. Dans la rue: with chef David Ferguson of Jolifou restaurant, Montreal retrieved from http://montrealforinsiders.blogspot.ca/2011/09/dans-la-rue-with-chef-david-ferguson-of.html
  28. ^ Media release: John Rennie drive nets 160,000 kgs [sic] of food retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/story/2011/10/03/quebec-john-rennie-food-drive-results.html
  29. ^ "AEROPLAN CANADA INC. | Over 130 Aeroplan Employees Spend a Night on the Streets in Support of Homeless Youth". Newswire.ca. Retrieved 2012-04-06. 
  30. ^ "Sing In". Cbc.ca. 2010-11-24. Retrieved 2012-04-06. 
  31. ^ "5 days for the homeless Montreal". 5days.ca. Retrieved 2012-04-06. [permanent dead link]


  • 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