Pope Francis opens free launderette for Rome’s poor and homeless

Pope Francis opens free launderette for Rome's poor and homeless
Pope Francis pictured in St Peter's Square. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP
The "Pope Francis Launderette" opened its doors on Monday, offering the poor and homeless a chance to wash their clothes and bedding for free, the Vatican announced.

The laundry service is in Rome's Trastevere tourist district, which already has as homeless shelter and has a tradition of helping the poor.

The facility is run by volunteers and provides six washing and machines plus driers and irons. There are plans to also provide showers, a hairdresser, clinic and a distribution point for basic goods, the Office of Papal Charities said in a statement.

A statement from the Vatican said Pope Francis wanted to offer a “concrete” example of the papal jubilee Year of Mercy.

The pontiff has previously shared a birthday dinner with the local homeless community and offered them private tours of the Sistine Chapel as well as practical assistance such as handing out sleeping bags during a cold snap in the capital.

Volunteer barbers give free shaves and haircuts every Monday – an initiative which is set to be expanded in other Italian cities – and toilets and showers were installed near the Vatican for the homeless living in the tiny city-state.

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