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.
There are currently 29 Emmaus communities across the UK, providing a home and meaningful work to more than 800 formerly homeless people. In addition to this, there are five emerging groups, working hard to establish new communities.
Like any flourishing community, Emmaus is most successful when everyone makes a contribution. For us, that means volunteering together in the social enterprise, to generate funds needed to support the community and the companions that call it home.
In return, people are expected to volunteer 40 hours per week, or as much as they are able to, in our social enterprise. They are required to sign off all benefits with the exception of housing benefit, which is claimed to help support the community. The ultimate goal is for each community to become self-sufficient, supporting itself with the revenue it generates through its businesses.
The Emmaus model has a huge impact on restoring confidence and self-respect, as companions take responsibility for keeping their community going and work hard to support themselves and others.
Emmaus is not about giving hand-outs, it’s about providing people with the tools to help themselves. This approach has been proven to produce long-term, sustainable results. For the many people who have been stuck in a cycle of homelessness, Emmaus provides the space and support they need to take stock of their lives and make positive changes for the future.
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 we make a significant impact, with savings to the healthcare system, a reduction in crime and re-offending as well as savings to the benefits bill.
One of the most important parts of the Emmaus ethos is solidarity. This means working to help someone less fortunate than yourself.
This can be very valuable for Emmaus companions as it is often key to helping to rebuild self-esteem, proving that everyone has the capacity to make a difference to the lives of others.
The first Emmaus community was founded in Paris, in 1949, by Father Henri-Antoine Grouès, better known as Abbé Pierre. He was an MP, Catholic priest and former member of the French Resistance who fought to provide homes for those who lived on the streets of Paris.