History

1996

With support from the Oblate Fathers, Victor Asselin, a missionary priest from Brazil, starts a street mission project in South Central Montreal.  Via Bruno Bélanger, the Centre St-Pierre gets involved in the project as well.

1996-2000

In partnership with Accueil Bonneau and the Maison du Père, Bruno Bélanger, Pierre Leclerc and Luc Fortin host weekly café-rencontres in different community houses.  A wide variety of subjects are addressed: the streets, spirituality, money, friendship, prostitution, hope, etc. The meetings are guided by three objectives: 1) to promote the creation of discussion and exchange groups; 2) to encourage participants to share their life stories (spirituality); 3) to learn more about the world of homelessness.

2000-2002

From these meetings, emerges a feeling of uselessness and an apparent lack of life projects among participants. Richard Chrétien is hired to accompany a group of 14 people who wish to elaborate a project that is made-to-measure.

2002-2003

Together, they target an unmet need in in the homeless community by creating a safe and welcoming place to store belongings. Another project is gradually implemented in partnership with the Saint-Alexandre Local Employment Center: a mail box service for people without an address. This proactive group eventually becomes a non-profit organization and calls itself Action-Réinsertion.

2003-2004

The organization finds a location in the basement of St-John’s United Church at the heart of Montreal’s homeless resources. In 2004 Le Sac à Dos opens its storage facility and mail box service with 300 mail boxes.

2004-2010

The organization is in full development, multiplying its services. A laundry service is put in place. Our first fundraising show was in 2009. In 2010 the day centre is renovated optimizing conditions for our services and outreach work.

2010 – 2013

In December, 2010, the organisation took possession of a former rooming house on De Bullion street in order to convert it into subsidized studio apartments. However, the results of the final inspection showed that renovation was not an option, and that the property would have to be completely rebuilt. The work began in September, 2011 (demolition, construction, etc.). In June, 2012, the first tenants were able to move into the 15 subsidized studio apartments.

2014 to the present

In 2014, Le Sac à dos purchased another property and adjacent parking area on De Maisonneuve Boulevard East. The goal was to convert the entire area into a social housing project. The work, begun in 2015, involved completely gutting the insides of the building and taking down the western wall in order to connect the building to the new wing that would be built on the parking area. The completed building now occupies the entire available space. The first tenant moved into a studio apartment in the completed building in June, 2016, and the official inauguration of the new social housing complex of Le Sac à Dos took place in May, 2017 in the presence of representatives from all three levels of government.