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.
Emmaus Leicestershire & Rutland is one of 30 Emmaus communities across the country, supporting more than 850 people who have experienced homelessness in the UK. In addition there are three Emmaus groups, all of which are working towards setting up an Emmaus community in their area.
Like any flourishing community, Emmaus is most successful when everyone makes a contribution. For us, that means working together in the social enterprise, to generate funds needed to support the community and the companions that call it home.
In return, companions are expected to work 40 hours per week or as much as they are able in the charity’s 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.
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 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.
Find out more about the history of Emmaus.