What we do
Emmaus Communities enable people to move on from homelessness, providing work and a home in a supportive, family environment. Companions, as residents are known, work full time collecting renovating and reselling donated furniture. This work supports the Community financially and enables residents to develop skills, rebuild their self-respect and help others in greater need.
Companions receive accommodation, food, clothing and a small weekly allowance, but for many, the greatest benefit is a fresh start. To join a Community, they sign off unemployment benefits and agree to participate in the life and work of the Community and abide by its rules, for example not bringing drugs or alcohol into the Community.
Emmaus is a secular movement, spanning 36 countries, with 24 Communities in the UK. Each Community aims to become self-supporting, with any surplus donated to others in need.
Read more about life in an Emmaus Community.
Setting up new Communities
Emmaus Communities are set up when local people decide that the tried and tested Emmaus approach to homelessness would benefit their area. If initial research and consultation establishes that there is a need and local circumstances are right, volunteers come together as an Emmaus Group. Read more about Emmaus Groups.
Emmaus UK Federation
Emmaus UK is a Federation of member organisations - Emmaus Communities which are already up and running and Emmaus Groups working to establish new Communities.
Each member is an independent charity, which has elected to be part of the Emmaus Movement.
The Federation provides a number of services to Communities and Groups through the Federation Office. Based in Cambridge, Federation Office staff provide co-ordination, help and advice on issues such as publicity, fundraising and human resources. More about the Federation Office.
Read more about the structure and finances of Emmaus in the UK.
The Emmaus Strategic Plan 2012-2017, which all Federation members have agreed on, is available here.
Download the latest Emmaus Annual Review.
Central to the ethos of Emmaus Communities is the concept of Solidarity. The perception of people who are homeless is that they are a drain on society, but the residents of Emmaus Communities turn this perception on its head. Not only do they work to support themselves, but they also work to help others.
Solidarity takes many forms within Emmaus Communities; sometimes surplus income generated from the business of the Community goes towards starting new Emmaus Communities, sometimes it is donated to other local charities or to disaster appeals.
Companions also volunteer their time to other organsiations; they clear playgrounds, cook lunch for pensioners, drive people to and from their homes and work in soup kitchens.
The concept of Solidarity is perhaps best embodied in Abbé Pierre's own words:“Serve first those who suffer most".