The Vatican on Monday opened a free launderette in Rome's central Trastevere district where the city's homeless can wash, dry and iron their clothes and bedding, the pontifical alms office announced.
At the request of Pope Francis, six washing machines, six driers and six irons and ironing boards have been donated by Whirlpool and set up in the former San Gallicano hospital with the help of Procter and Gamble.
“One of the greatest difficulties for those who live on the streets, along with that of finding food, a place to spend the night and public baths, is to wash and dry the clothes they wear, in many cases the only ones they own," papal almoner Archbishop Konrad Krajewski said in a statement.
The Pope Francis Laundry, run by the Sant'Egidio Catholic charity, will be staffed by volunteers, the Vatican said.
In the coming months, showers, a locker room, hairdresser's and medical centre for the homeless will open at the site, the Vatican added.
Francis’ Office of Papal Charities has already opened showers, a barber shop, a dormitory, a healthcare clinic and a pharmacy for the poor near St Peter's Basilica.