Pret a Manger will soon be providing dozens of homeless people with housing and employment thanks to a new hostel that they will be opening in London this week.
The café chain’s charity, the Pret Foundation, is opening up the homeless hostel in partnership with West London Mission, a nonprofit that provides assistance and resources to people living in poverty.
Located in Kennington, the hostel will be able to house 13 people for up to one year. The company’s CEO, Clive Schlee, says that he hopes to expand the hostel so that it can accommodate 26 people by the end of the year.
He also says that the spacious building is equipped with shared bathroom facilities, kitchen space, and entertainment areas so that it can feel “feel like a home and not a hostel.”
The hostel will also work in conjunction with the company’s Rising Stars project which offers employment in their cafés to formerly homeless people. Over the course of the last 10 years, the program has employed over 450 people; although many participants have still had difficulty finding affordable housing and saving up money for deposits.
That’s why the new hostel will also be offering discounted rent that is proportional to their employee wages – and they won’t be required to put down a deposit.
“Ever since Pret opened its first shop in London, helping the homeless has been part of our promise to our customers and the communities in which we operate,” said Schlee.
“We set up the Pret Foundation with the singular purpose of breaking the cycle of homelessness, and to do that, we believe that people need three things: food, employment and shelter.”
Schlee says that they chose London as the first location for their homeless hostel initiative because it is home to one-third of the nation’s homeless population. The Pret Foundation will be investing roughly $250,000 (£200,000) per year in maintaining the hostel, but hopefully, it will be the first of many company facilities that will contribute to eventually ending homelessness.
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