Dans la rue

  • Montréal business leaders and professionals learnt about the various services provided to the city’s homeless youth.

    Photo : Patrick Seguin

  • During the Une nuit dans la rue fundraiser event held on October 5, 2017, the more than 50 business people taking part were served a typical day centre dinner: soup and lasagne.

    Photo : Patrick Seguin

  • The Van offers a brief respite from life on the street. It represents a first step in the long process of building trust with marginalized youth.

    Photo : Patrick Seguin

  • A dozen youth are preparing to board the Van.

    Photo: Cindy Boyce

  • A youth sitting on his bed in the emergency shelter, nicknamed the Bunker.

    Photo: Cindy Boyce

  • Youth are being served lunch in the cafeteria at the day centre.

    Photo: Cindy Boyce

  • A youth in consultation with the psychologists at the day centre.

    Photo: Cindy Boyce

BY THE NUMBERS

Dans la Rue was founded by Father Emmett Johns in 1988

Each year, the cafeteria staff serves nearly 40,000 nutritious meals to disadvantaged youth

Volunteers donate over 11,000 hours of their time every year to help young people

This year, the Van was visited more than 17,000 times by homeless and at-risk youth

The Bunker offers an emergency shelter for 17 young people (of both sexes) aged 12 to 21

More than $115,000 was raised for the organization in the Une nuit dans la rue event’s inaugural edition

A Philosophy of Dedication, Empathy and Respect

The presence of Father Emmett Johns has loomed large in the minds of homeless youth in downtown Montreal for more than 25 years. In 1988, Father Johns – or “Pops” as he is affectionately known – borrowed $10,000 and bought a second-hand van, taking to the streets to help youth who were homeless and vulnerable. Within weeks, Father founded Le Bon Dieu dans la rue, which is now Quebec’s leading authority on youth homelessness. Dans la rue’s success is a direct result of Father Johns’ personal conviction that every youth deserves a warm meal and a roof over their head, and that they should be treated with caring, compassion and respect, without being judged.

Father Johns’ singular example of selflessness, respect and caring has inspired a team of trained professionals who today run the various services and programs operating under the Dans la rue banner. The street-level outreach to youth continues with the Van, which roams the downtown streets of Montréal five nights a week. It’s staffed entirely by volunteers who pass out hot food and drinks, plus personal items such as toiletries. The Van is the public face of the organization and often the youths’ first encounter with Dans la rue, as well as a source of information on the other services it offers.

The Day Centre and the Bunker

Up to 200 homeless youth daily visit Dans la rue’s day centre. Some come for a hot meal and the friendly atmosphere, others seek counselling from the centre’s highly trained intervention staff, while others attend the Emmett Johns high school or participate in the employability programs.

The Bunker, also run by the organisation, is in the neighbourhood where other services for marginalized youth are located. It provides temporary overnight shelter for homeless youth, between the ages of 12 to 21, with priority given to minors. Here they can obtain a nutritious supper and breakfast, discuss their current situation with counsellors, have a good night’s sleep and escape the stresses and dangers of the street.                                

The overriding goal of the Dans la rue team is to care for their immediate needs, provide a consistent source of support and help them acquire the skills and resources needed to lead more autonomous and rewarding lives.

“In October 2017, I had the privilege of taking part in the first edition of Une nuit dans la rue, which aimed to make some fifty members of Montréal’s corporate community more familiar with the work of Dans la rue,” tells Pierre Piché, Vice-President of Power Corporation. “Raising funds for the organization, they experienced what it is like to sleep out on the street. Thanks to that event, I am better able to understand the difficulties young homeless people face, as well as appreciate the impressive dedication and expertise of the Dans la rue team.”

“Dans la rue is extremely grateful for the support it receives from loyal partners like Power Corporation. We could not reach out to street youth and perform the work we do were it not for their commitment to our cause,” says Cécile Arbaud, Executive Director of Dans la rue. “The youth are always pleased when they learn of the community’s involvement. It makes them feel a little less alone and it also provides them with hope.”

I am better able to understand the difficulties young homeless people face, as well as appreciate the impressive dedication and expertise of the Dans la rue team.
Pierre Piché
Vice-President
Power Corporation
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