Homelessness charity Emmaus provides a home for as long as someone needs it, with meaningful work in our social enterprises. Our companions (as residents are known) live in a stable environment. They have the opportunity to work and to regain lost self-esteem and the confidence to get back on their feet.
There are currently 29 Emmaus communities across the UK. Together they provide 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.
Like any flourishing community, Emmaus is most successful when everyone makes a contribution. For us, that means working together in the social enterprise. Social enterprises generate funds to support each community and the companions that call it home.
Companions work 40 hours per week, or as much as they are able, in the charity’s social enterprise. They 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. 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 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 reoffending, as well as savings to the benefits bill.
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 350 groups based in 37 countries across the world.