ROME (REUTERS) - Pope Francis has launched a laundromat for the poor, where homeless and impoverished people can come and wash their clothes for free. The latest gesture from the leader of the world's Catholics to the needy and where no coins are required.
Rome's poor and homeless able to access washing machines and tumble dryers for free.
Four days a week, those in need can come in, claim a machine, and clean their clothes and blankets.
What for many is a chore, is labelled by some of these people as "a miracle".
"Having clean clothes, having a facility like this means so much to us. Our days are filled with hardships every day and having this launderette means everything to us," said Rossana Inguscio, a homeless woman in her fifties.
Washing detergent and fabric softener are also offered free of charge.
The laundromat opening in an old hospital complex near the Vatican.
The Pope's office teaming up with a Catholic charity and leading manufacturers to provide the brand new equipment.
"The laundromat of Papa Francesco has a huge, positive impact. It restores dignity to the homeless," said Sami Kahale, vice-president of Procter & Gamble southern Europe.
Since his election in March 2013, Francis has taken steps to help the homeless around the Vatican, including opening shelters just off St Peter's Square where they can bathe, get haircuts, medical referrals and information on social services.