Salford homeless charity could lose its home as part of affordable housing scheme

Granada Reports journalist Anna Youssef went to visit the homeless charity which faces losing its home.

A charity which has saved thousands of people from sleeping rough - say it now faces being made homeless itself.

Emmaus has been operating from its 26-bedroom base in Salford for 12 years, but its lease has run out and Salford City Council has earmarked the site for development.

It has been unable to find new premises and say it is now existing on borrowed time, even though Salford Council says it is working with the charity to find new premises in the city.

Those the charity has helped out of homelessness say, if it has to close, they will end up back on the streets.

Jon Moir volunteers for Emmaus after being saved from life on the streets Credit: ITV Granada

John Moir, who had been homeless for years, was helped by Emmaus after living under a hedgerow in wasteland just outside the centre of Manchester home for five weeks.

He said: "I was here for five weeks every night. When I used to get up in the morning I used to walk from here to the city centre to try and get some food.

"I felt suicidal a few times but in my mind I would never do it myself but the thought has been there, thinking this is the end."

The Emmaus base in Salford Credit: ITV Granada

Now aged 57, John volunteers at the Emmaus Salford charity shop, helping others furnish their homes and in return has a room for as long as he needs it as well as access to support and job training

"I feel safe and secure here. I do have a good nights sleep when I do get my head down," he said.

And if the site had to close he has no doubt what would happen to him: "I’d probably be back to square one again.

"I’d probably end up back on the street which is going back down the ladder isnt it. I want to go up the ladder. That is what I’m trying for."

Ian Willams is now the resident cook at Emmaus, feeding 20-plus people every evening, and spent a year on the streets, during which he was assaulted.

Ian is now the cook at Emmaus, having been assaulted while he lived rough Credit: ITV Granada

"I got attacked a couple of times," he said. "That's how I lost my top teeth. I wasn't begging. I was just out of the way and some lads came round and said 'oh look at that so and so' and let rip.

"Emmaus saved me. This place saved me. I don't think I would be here otherwise."

Jackie Smith, CEO of Emmaus, predicted a grim future for the building's residents if no alternative premises could be found.

"They’ll be back to street homelessness," she said. "That would be the only option for them. There’s just not the services out there - there is not the accommodation out there.

"It would be street homeless for the majority if not all."

Councillor Tracy Kelly, Deputy City Mayor and Lead Member for Housing, Property and Regeneration, said the council recognised the 'amazing' work Emmaus did.

She added: "Alongside their and other charities work in the city, the council is committed to delivering our goal of providing quality affordable housing, to help alleviate the housing crisis the city is currently facing.

"The council is committed to delivering the regeneration of Pendleton including building 500 much needed affordable homes.

"Whilst plans for this part of the Pendleton are still being drawn up we have agreed that Emmaus could utilise an empty council building on a temporary basis until the site is redeveloped.

"We have started and will continue to work closely with Emmaus and will do all we can to support them in finding a suitable alternative location in the city.”

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