“Homelessness ends the moment you walk through the door… the rest is up to you.”
Emmaus Bristol has 26 bedrooms in three houses for companions, and generally about 10 companions will move on in a year, some planned departures and others unplanned, spontaneous or chaotic. From 2018 to 2021 93% of households (a family, a couple or a single person) successfully managed their license or tenancy, either staying and thriving or moving on in a planned way.
But success is not just about moving on to independent living, employment or training, or reuniting with family. Success is also living in the community and taking part. Success is feeling safe, valued and having enough to eat, a room of your own and friends around when you want company.
“It’s not a hostel and it’s not a closed community. Working in the shops and doing house clearances gives you opportunities to meet ‘normal’ people. You are a ‘normal’ person, living in a shared house and working hard.”
We use the homelessness outcomes star to follow a companion’s progress. While progress isn’t linear, we do tend to see improvements in scores over time, and the support team are also able to spot if there are patterns and take steps to improve or change support in those areas. When physical health scores seemed a bit low, we made a big effort to make sure companions all had the gear they needed to get active, like bikes, trainers and lights, and even fishing gear. This helped when the pandemic struck and we actually saw an improvement in physical healths scores as companions made the most of their daily hour for exercise to get out and about.
A social return on investment (SROI) study carried out in 2012 by social and economic company Just Economics demonstrates the impact of Emmaus’s work, both for individuals and for society. The research forecasts that each year Emmaus communities generate £11 in social, environmental and economic return for every £1 invested.