World Homeless Day: Leeds man’s journey from being lost on the streets to having future of hope

Richard, who lives and works at Emmaus in Leeds.
Richard, who lives and works at Emmaus in Leeds.
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Richard, who spent years living out of a sleeping bag, has revealed how a Leeds homelessness charity has changed his life as we mark World Homeless Day today.

I first started at Emmaus Leeds in 2010 and previous to that I spent a lot of time working in various places and homeless.



My life involved staying at friends’ houses, travelling up and down the country and staying in motorway service stations with my sleeping bag – an expedition of life.

My main role at Emmaus Leeds involves working in the shop and on the Emmaus stalls at Kirkgate Market. My duties include receiving donations, serving customers and making sure that deliveries are booked in properly. One day a week I also do paperwork in the office for the markets, shop and vans, logging dockets (customer receipts) onto the computer system and making sure they’re all filed properly.

Being part of Emmaus Leeds has benefitted me a lot. It’s helped me build my confidence because I didn’t have a lot of it before I came here. It’s helped me with my people skills and I’ve got to meet new friends as well as old friends. I’ve done a few training courses here including Ministry of Food and Health and Hygiene to allow me to work in the café. Emmaus is not just a place to live, it’s helped me sort my life out, big time.

The thing I like most about Emmaus is that it’s an alternative to being on the streets and for some people, being in prison. It gives you a chance to get back on your feet and sort your life out, which is what it has done for me. I don’t want to leave and I’m feeling quite settled here.

Richard, who lives and works at Emmaus in Leeds.

Richard, who lives and works at Emmaus in Leeds.

My message to Emmaus supporters is thank you and keep it up – if it wasn’t for people like you I wouldn’t be here.


The concept of World Homeless Day emerged from online discussions between people working to respond to homelessness from various parts of the world.

The inaugural World Homeless Day was marked on October 10 2010.

Since its founding, World Homeless Day has been observed on every continent except Antarctica, in several dozen countries.

Visit for more on the event or for more on the Emmaus charity which provides home and work to 26 formerly homeless people in Leeds city centre.

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