Pope Francis has opened a free launderette for poor and homeless people in Rome called the Pope Francis Laundry. The facility includes washing machines, tumble dryers and offers detergents. The Vatican said that the project aimed at restoring dignity to the people who can’t afford to pay for the service.
The launderette, which is located in Trastevere, a central neighbourhood of Rome, will open on Monday and is administered by Community Sant’Egidio. The group wants to help the “poorest people, particularly those with no fixed abode, who will wash, dry and iron their clothes and blankets” by offering them a free service.
Companies such as Whirlpool and Procter and Gamble are supporting the project by providing equipment.
The Vatican is also planning to add showers, a barber shop and a medical centre in the next couple of months. In 2015, the Vatican opened a hostel, toilets, showers and a barber shop for the homeless in Rome.
Pope Francis has made helping refugees and homeless people a central part of his papacy. On his 78th birthday, he distributed hundreds of sleeping bags to the homeless people in Rome. He also welcomed refugee by inviting refugee families, who had nowhere to go, to live at Vatican apartments. Other initiatives have included giving out free lunches on special occasions. The Vatican furthermore encourages people to make blood donations. In return, people will receive a discount on tickets to galleries housing the artworks of famous artists such as Michelangelo.