Emmaus is a homelessness charity with a difference, providing more than just a bed for the night for people who have experienced homelessness and social exclusion.
We provide a home for as long as someone needs it, as well as meaningful work in our social enterprise. This works to help to restore feelings of self-esteem and give our companions, as residents are known, the opportunity to regain control of their lives.
How it works
There are currently 29 Emmaus communities across the UK, providing a home and meaningful work to more than 750 formerly homeless people. In addition to this, there are four emerging groups, working hard to establish new communities. Together, we are working towards a target of being able to offer 1,000 companion places by 2020.
Like any successful community, Emmaus is most successful when everyone makes a contribution, working together in the social enterprise to generate the funds that support themselves and others.
Companions are expected to work for 40 hours per week, or to the best of their ability, in the charity's social enterprise and are required to sign off all benefits, with the exception of housing benefit, which is claimed to help to support the community. The intention is for each community to eventually become self-sufficient, supporting itself with the revenue it generates through its businesses.
The community model has a huge impact on restoring self-esteem as companions take responsibility for keeping their community going, working to support themselves and others.
Emmaus is not about giving hand-outs, it’s about providing an opportunity for each individual to work to overcome homelessness. This approach has been proven to produce long-term, sustainable results and, for many who have been stuck in a cycle of homelessness, offers the support they need to overcome this.
For every £1 spent with Emmaus there is an £11 social, economic and environmental return on investment.
This was the finding of a Social Return on Investment study carried out on behalf of Emmaus. The research showed that Emmaus can deliver a significant impact, with savings to the healthcare system, a reduction in crime reoffending and savings to the benefits bill.
Solidarity is key to the Emmaus ethos, and means helping those less fortunate than yourself. Everyone at Emmaus, companions, staff, trustees and volunteers, is encouraged to carry out acts of solidarity.
For companions in particular, this has a huge impact on their self-esteem, showing them the impact they as an individual can have on the lives of others and the value they can offer.
Emmaus in the world
Emmaus isn’t just in the UK, in fact it originally started in France in the 1940s. Since then Emmaus has grown into an international movement with more than 300 groups based in 36 countries across the world.