Homelessness London Mar 2020

CRASH Patrons show how engineering is vital to help homeless people

The Emmaus community support people who have experienced homelessness by providing them with a home and meaningful work in a community setting. This helps people regain their self-esteem and find a positive way to move forward with their lives.

Emmaus Greenwich is one of 29 Emmaus communities across the UK.  The charity provides 24-hour care and support, accommodation and work for 33 formerly homeless people in London known as ‘Companions’.

The need

The accommodation at Emmaus Greenwich used to be a children’s home, built in the 1960s, which has been subject to significant extensions and alterations over the years.

Giorgio Salmistraro, Community Manager at Emmaus Greenwich, explained how the building had started to show the need for substantial repairs:

 ‘‘The pipes leak, and we do not have stopcocks in place to be able to repair the leaks without draining the whole system. We have started doing a lot of small repairs which aren’t solving the root of the problem. The Companions deserve a stable and positive living environment which begins with their shower and taps water running as expected. All of them have been homeless living on the street for a long time and it is demoralising when they have to take a shower in the morning and water pressure is not enough or the tap in the room sink does not work.’’ 

The solution

CRASH invited their Patrons Cundall and Imtech to come to the rescue. Cundall donated their professional expertise to the project. They surveyed the domestic water services, producing a report which identified the issues and recommendations for repair; surveyed the kitchen extract system and produced a specification for all required MEP (Mechanical, Electrical and Public Health) refurbishment works.

How CRASH Patrons helped

CRASH Patron Imtech led the construction phase of the project. They removed an existing dis-used water tank, re-lagged pipework and removed redundant kitchen ductwork (which extended into neighbouring rooms thus freeing up much needed space for the charity). Imtech also installed a new ductwork system and undertook gas modifications and new electrical installations for the kitchen extract and finally, installed a new water tank. CRASH awarded Emmaus Greenwich a grant to help with mechanical and electrical upgrade works.

  • The total value of support came to £80,658.

The Impact

‘‘What a difference this project has made for the Companions quality of life at Emmaus Greenwich. The work undertaken means the building now provides a safe and modernised home for the Companions. We cannot thank our Patrons Imtech and Cundall enough for all their support on the project and for helping people who are homeless in this way.’’

Becky Holt

Marketing and Communications Manager at CRASH

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