RELIGION

Vatican To Offer Haircuts, Shaves To Rome's Homeless

Homeless men chat at the Vatican on November 17, 2014. Pope Francis has ordered the installation of showers for the homeless
Homeless men chat at the Vatican on November 17, 2014. Pope Francis has ordered the installation of showers for the homeless just next to St Peter's square after a street dweller declared himself too smelly to eat with a bishop. In an initiative sparked by one of his closest aides' encounter with a down-and-out on the streets of Rome, the pontiff has given his blessing to an upgrade of public toilets intended to serve the millions of pilgrims and visitors who flock to the Vatican every year. AFP PHOTO / ANDREAS SOLARO (Photo credit should read ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)

VATICAN CITY, Jan 29 (Reuters) - The Vatican will offer homeless people in Rome not only showers but also haircuts and shaves when new facilities open next month, the head of Pope Francis' charity office said.

The Vatican announced last year that it would provide shower facilities in St Peter's Square for homeless people.

Bishop Konrad Krajewski told the Italian Catholic newspaper Avvenire on Thursday that it would also offer haircuts and shaves when the services start on Feb. 16 in an area under the colonnade of the square.

Krajewski, whose official title is the pope's almoner, said barbers and hairdressers would volunteer their services on Mondays, the day their shops are traditionally closed in Italy.

They had already donated chairs, hair-cutting instruments, and mirrors, the newspaper's website said.

Krajewski came up with the idea of building showers in St. Peter's Square last year after a homeless person told him that while it was relatively easy to find places to eat at Rome charities, it was difficult to find places to wash.

He immediately received the pope's backing for the shower project and then expanded it to include haircuts and shaves. (Reporting By Philip Pullella; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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