Mission statement 

Grounded in the Episcopal tradition, Emmaus House provides education, opportunity, assistance, and advocacy in partnership with our neighbors in Peoplestown.

Who we are

Emmaus House stands for justice and equity, rooted in faith and a deep respect for the dignity of every human being. We harness the power of community, education, hope, and love to dismantle poverty, racism, and other barriers to opportunity in the lives and communities we serve.

From our early days during the civil rights movement to the uncertainty of today, we have loved and learned, prayed and mobilized, and laughed and cried with the incredibly resilient people of this historic neighborhood. As we look forward to the next 50 years, we are clearer than ever about the work before us.

What we do

Emmaus House seeks transformation in the lives of individuals, within communities, and in the systems that shape our lives. To achieve this change, we believe that as an organization we must focus on both relationship and results.

Our commitment to relationship and results calls us to interact with the people we serve both as people in need who deserve excellent services and as teachers with profound expertise on the very issues we are working with them to solve.

With this emphasis in mind, we have three strategic priorities that inform our work:

  • Economic success

  • Academic achievement and youth development

  • Grassroots leadership and social justice

How we do it

To accomplish these strategic priorities, Emmaus House uses a two-generation approach to address the needs of the entire family — children and parents together — so they can experience academic achievement and sustained economic success. We offer educational  and social enrichment programs during the week, on Saturdays, and during the summer for children, youth, and adults. We also provide case management and emergency stabilization services for adults. We seek to address the systemic challenges that confront people of color and those who live in poverty.

How we began

In 1967, Father Austin Ford, an Episcopal Priest and advocate for civil rights, moved into a dilapidated two-story home in Peoplestown along with two nuns and a seminary student. Father Ford garnered resources to help Peoplestown residents. He set up an after-school program, once-a-month transportation to Reidsville State Prison for family members of inmates, chapel services, hot meals, and a poverty rights office. He led efforts for welfare rights, neighborhood empowerment, and racial justice.


Where we are today

Under the leadership of Father Ford and subsequent executive directors, Emmaus House has evolved over the past 50 years into a valuable resource for the Peoplestown community. Its staff and advisory board continue to serve the neighborhood in client-responsive and measurable ways that help families to move toward economic self-sufficiency and children to succeed in school and to create pathways to college and career success. Father Ford was inspired to move to Peoplestown in 1967 to advocate for justice during the civil rights movement. Likewise, we are inspired to begin the next chapter with a renewed sense of purpose.