Emmaus SLC endeavours to provide the opportunity for homeless, and other socially disadvantaged people, to regain control of their lives by living and working alongside others in a supportive, communal environment.

Being a part of Emmaus is not just about rebuilding your own life, it is also about realising that however far you are in your journey, there is always something you can do to help someone less fortunate than yourself; we all have something to offer to the community.

When we do an action for someone else we call it solidarity, and at Emmaus SLC we support many local and international people in need. These range from donating money, clothing and food to various rough sleeper day centres to helping individuals who are in need. We contribute to international charities to help alleviate poverty abroad.

It is important to point out at this stage that we are NOT a hostel. We are a secular community made up of staff and ‘companions’ (the name we use for our residents) who live and work together.  Companions complete a 40 hour week in various roles, e.g. shop/warehouse work, van work – driving, collecting donations and making deliveries of items of furniture bought from the shops or warehouse. Companions also carry out household and kitchen duties in the communal areas and for communal meals.

We ask all potential companions to stop claiming DWP benefits and, in return for their volunteering, receive a monthly allowance of £160 with an extra £35 put aside as a savings fund for when they leave.

This will first be in cash, then eventually into a bank account which we will help them to set up. This is paid fortnightly at first, then afterwards monthly. This is to reflect the payments made by the DWP and workplaces.

Full budgeting support is given so when people do choose to leave they are more likely to be successful with household budgeting.

We do ask for eligibility to claim Housing Benefit to be paid to the community, which goes towards covering the cost of bed and board. We have two Solidarity Rooms, for persons with no recourse to public funds, but there is normally a very long waiting list for these places.

All Companions receive a week’s holiday every 13 weeks and as well as that week’s allowance, they also receive £125 spending money.

Emmaus in the UK currently has 29 communities with most happy to accommodate a Companion whilst on their holiday so they can visit that area.

There are no service charges made to Companions as food is provided three times a day, as well as drinks and snacks outside of working hours. Work clothes are provided, as are toiletries, cleaning materials and being able to choose clothes from our charity shop.

There is Wi-Fi supplied through the living areas and regular social activities are organised, encouraged and subsidised. We hold regular quiz nights, pool competitions, and visit some of London’s top sporting arenas.

There is a training budget available for Companions to increase or expand their skills. All Companions will have a monthly support meeting with an appropriate member of staff.

There is no time limit for Companions to stay and when they believe they are ready to leave we will give them the support to move out into independent accommodation.



Our success depends on creating and maintaining a stable community and therefore before anyone is accepted detailed assessments of need and risk are undertaken. Emmaus SLC may take applicants who present with complex problems provided the Community as a whole is able to support them, it is always best to ring and discuss this first.

The overriding principles in deciding if someone is suitable are:

  • Whether the community can provide a safe environment for the applicant, the community and others
  • Whether the community can meet the needs and offer appropriate support to an applicant.

The Community is fully committed to an equal opportunities policy and will not discriminate on the grounds of gender, marital status, age, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, political opinion, disability, sexual orientation or past criminal convictions.

Applicants must be over 18 and willing to undertake up to 40 hours per week volunteering to the best of their ability.
We are unable to offer the support needed for people with serious mental health issues. Applicants must not use ​illegal substances or have an active alcohol addiction. Applicants who have recently undertaken a detox programme will be considered but we may impose conditions. Applicants will be drug-tested as part of the process to assess their suitability to join our Community.


All applicants must be prepared to comply with the rules of the Community which include:

  • Companions must treat each other with respect at all times and be prepared to offer support and friendship to others
  • No alcohol is allowed on the premises and we have a zero tolerance to drug use on or off site. Drug or excessive alcohol use may lead to you being excluded.
  • Violent or aggressive behaviour is not tolerated
  • Companions must not claim benefits or work outside the community or draw any money other than their community allowance


How to join or find out more:

We would recommend coming to visit us to understand better how we try to help people who are experiencing homelessness improve their futures. There is no pressure to join when you visit.

To arrange a visit please do contact our Community Managers:

Sanjiv Ahuja for our Lambeth Community on 074 9539 1023 or 0300 123 200 or email [email protected]

Ross Watkins for our Croydon Communities on 074 1040 6357 or 0300 123 200 or email [email protected]

What can I expect?
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What can I expect?

In an Emmaus community everyone has their own room, with communal areas for eating and socialising. During the day, companions, as our residents are known, work in our social enterprises, which are mainly charity shops. The work could include working in the shop, sorting items in the warehouse, going out to make deliveries in our vans, or working in the community home.

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