Emmaus is a homelessness charity providing more than just a bed for the night to people who have experienced homelessness and social exclusion.
We provide a home for as long as someone needs it and meaningful work in our social enterprise. Living in a stable environment with the opportunity to work helps our companions, as residents are known, to regain lost self-esteem and the confidence to get back on their feet.
How it works
There are currently 29 Emmaus communities across the country, supporting 815 formerly homeless people in the UK. In addition there are five Emmaus groups, all of which are working towards setting up an Emmaus community in their area. Together, we are working towards a target of being able to offer 1,000 companion places by 2020.
Social enterprise is central to the Emmaus model as it provides meaningful work for companions but also generates funding to maintain communities. Companions living in Emmaus communities are expected to sign off all benefits, with the exception of housing benefit, which is used to help to support the community. The rest of the funding that is needed is generated through social enterprise and fundraising.
Emmaus communities deliver a significant return on investment. Research shows that for every £1 invested in a community, there is an £11 return, with savings to the benefits bill, health services and a reduction in crime reoffending.
Solidarity, helping others less fortunate than yourself, is central to the Emmaus way of life. Everyone at Emmaus, including companions, staff, trustees and volunteers is encouraged to carry out acts of solidarity to support people who need it most.
For companions in particular, this has a huge impact on their confidence and self-worth, showing them that they can make a difference to someone else’s life and add value to the lives of people around them.
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.