Emmaus in the UK provides formerly homeless people with a home for as long as they need it, along with meaningful work experience in one of our social enterprises and fully funded training. 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 UK, providing a home and meaningful work to more than 815 formerly homeless people. In addition to this, there are five emerging groups, working hard to establish new communities. Together, we are working towards a target of being able to offer 1,000 companion rooms by 2020.
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 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 350 groups based in 37 countries across the world.