Emmaus UK has released a manifesto calling for the next government to prioritise homelessness and housing amid record levels of demand.

The national homelessness charity is receiving unprecedented numbers of referrals for support from the 30+ Emmaus communities and groups across the UK, which provide a home, support and meaningful work opportunities in a social enterprise to help rebuild their lives.

Homelessness is now experienced by more than 300,000 people across the UK and Emmaus UK saw a 20 percent rise in referrals from 2022 to 2023. Referral numbers for 2024 are forecast to be more than 50 per cent up on 2023 by the end of this year.

The Emmaus Action On Homelessness manifesto focuses on six core principles for the next government to address as soon as entering office, to improve support for people with experience of homelessness and tackle the root causes.


Charlotte Talbott, Chief Executive of Emmaus UK, said:

“The work of Emmaus communities and groups supporting people with experience of homelessness and poverty throughout the UK is transformational. But for lasting change the government must take urgent action. More people than ever are reaching out to Emmaus UK for help. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

“The 2024 General Election provides a momentous opportunity to end homelessness for good and the Emmaus Action on Homelessness manifesto highlights what we are fighting for, to make sure homelessness support and prevention is prioritised.”

The latest Emmaus annual report published earlier this year reveals the UK Emmaus federation supported the equivalent of one new person every 60 minutes with experience of homelessness or poverty.

The Emmaus Action On Homelessness manifesto says the government must drive up standards across the supported housing sector, build more affordable homes and take a cross-government approach incorporating a range of departments beyond housing.

The manifesto, developed through the work of Emmaus UK with other homelessness organisations, also calls on the government to invest in tackling homelessness for the long term, consult with people with lived experience and end the criminalisation of homeless people who deserve compassion, not punishment.

Phil was living on the streets for years before finding a home and community at Emmaus Hull & East Riding, and wants the government to build more affordable homes so no one has to go through what he did.

He said: “I lost all hope and a reason to live when I became homeless. I was living on the streets and Emmaus saved my life. The government has to make sure everyone has some sort of affordable housing, otherwise street homelessness is going to go up even more and more people will suffer.”

Supporting the manifesto’s call for compassion, not criminalisation, Lauren, also from Emmaus Hull & East Riding, said: “The government needs to realise that anyone can become homeless, for any number of reasons. I was sofa surfing and know what it’s like to be made to feel worthless. People who are homelessness shouldn’t be punished, they should be shown empathy instead.”

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