Emmaus is a homelessness charity providing more than just a bed for the night to people who have experienced homelessness and social exclusion.
There are currently 29 Emmaus communities across the UK, providing a home and meaningful work to 815 formerly homeless people. In addition to this, there are five emerging groups, working hard to establish new communities.
Emmaus Cornwall is one of the five emerging groups, led by a group of committed volunteers who are working tirelessly to set up Cornwall’s first Emmaus community, providing people with a chance to work their way out of homelessness.
Like any flourishing community, Emmaus is most successful when everyone makes a contribution. That means volunteering together in a social enterprise, to generate funds needed to support the community and the people who call it home.
In return, people are expected to volunteer 40 hours per week, or as much as they are able to, in a 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 people 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.
Watch this video to discover how work is central to the Emmaus model:
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 Emmaus communities make a significant impact, with savings to the healthcare system, a reduction in crime and reoffending as well as savings to the benefits bill.
The first Emmaus community was founded in Paris, in 1949, by Abbé Pierre. He was an MP, Catholic priest and member of the French Resistance who fought to provide homes for those who lived on the streets of Paris.
Emmaus isn’t just in the UK. Since the movement started in France in the 1940s, it has grown into an international movement with more than 410 groups based in 41 countries across the world.