Former Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre was one of dozens of politicians and professionals who camped at Dorchester Square Thursday night.

They were sleeping in tents to raise awareness of what homeless people go through regularly in Montreal.

"Homeless happens everywhere, and it can happen to your family," said Coderre.

He was impressed at how Dans La Rue had grown from one man with a van and some hot dogs to the large organization that currently exists.

"Those people are amazing and they've been working all over the place, but they were pretty alone at one point," said Coderre.

This was the third consecutive year that professionals were raising funds by sleeping on the streets, and Coderre said that was a key step in changing people from donors to those who will actively work for a cause.

"They will kind of live the situation and at the same time they will be great ambassadors for the future," said Coderre.

Dans La Rue also used the occasion to showcase the programs and services it offers, such as babysitting for young families, emergency shelter for those in need, and providing meals and warm clothing to homeless people.

The organization is best known for its van, which stops at four locations throughout the downtown core each night.