Pope Francis builds public showers and a barbershop for the homeless of Rome

Showers are open six days a week, and haircuts are available on Mondays

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The Independent Online

Pope Francis is offering the homeless population of Vatican City a shower and haircut.

On Friday the Pope's grand renovation of the St Peter's Square public bathrooms was unveiled, and it included the addition of a barber shop.

It was first announced last week.

The "homeless pilgrims" for whom this was designed can access the showers every day but Wednesday, when the piazza is reserved for the pope's general audience.

Clients will be given a free toiletry kit — soap, deodorant, toothpaste, razor, shaving cream and even fresh pair of underwear.

The site itself it state-of-the-art, made with easy-to-clean materials to ensure proper hygeine, according to a Vatican statement.

Haircuts will be available on Monday, when Rome's other barber shops are all closed, with professional hairdressers volunteering and bringing along students from local beauty schools and sisters from religious orders.

The Pope's chief alms-giver, Monsignor Konrad Krajewski, has said the project will help elevate homeless people who are otherwise shunned due to their appearance and smell.

The initiative has been funded by donations and sales of papal parchments sold by Krajewski’s office.

The Vatican 'elmosiniere' has been emphasised since Pope Francis' appointment in 2013 — who was known as the "slum bishop" in his native Buenos Aires because of his care for the poor.

Krajewski’s office distributed 400 sleeping bags to the homeless over Christmas, gave 1,600 phone cards to new migrants on the island of Lampedusa, and just this week gave away 300 umbrellas that had been left behind at the Vatican Museums to help the homeless cope with the rain.

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