Pret a Manger has taken further steps to tackle homelessness in London by launching a new home for the homeless in Marylebone.
The Pret House at West London Mission will accommodate up to 13 people at a time, offering housing for six to 12 months before users move on to privately rented accommodation.
Users of the accommodation will also be given employment and access to practical advice to break the cycle of homelessness. The aim is for the brand to have taken 20 people off the streets by the end of 2019.
Heather Wheeler MP, the minister for housing and homelessness, said: “Everyone deserves a safe and stable home to call their own. And this is not just about putting a roof over their heads – but also about ensuring they have the support they need to recover from life on the streets and get back on their feet.
“This important scheme will provide vulnerable rough sleepers with the vital assistance they need to secure their own home and rebuild their lives, and I look forward to hearing about its successes over the coming months and years.”
The brand has long attempted to tackle homelessness as part of their operation under their charitable wing, the Pret Foundation. So far the charity has supported 462 homeless “rising stars” by employing them in the coffee chain’s sites – with some 80% staying with the brand as full-time employees.
Pret has also donated unsold food to the homeless since first opening in 1986, now offering some three million meals a day.
Clive Schlee, CEO of Pret, added: “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. 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.
“The opening of the Pret House at WLM St Luke’s is the next evolution in our efforts to help the ex-homeless live their lives independently. It’s been a five-year project in the making, and we’re hoping it will have a meaningful impact on our Rising Stars and the wider community.”