London Coffee Trucks Are Brewing Up Jobs for Homeless People
A cup of gourmet coffee in the morning signals the start of day for many early risers worldwide, but for the homeless baristas working at these London coffee carts, a cup of coffee means a fresh start at life.
Change Please coffee trucks stationed around the city are employing a dozen homeless people as baristas to equip them with the experience and tools needed to find full-time work following their six-month stint.
“If we can give people skills they don’t currently have, and provide them with employment, we can reduce homelessness one coffee at a time,” Cemal Ezel, founder of the nonprofit behind the project, Change Please, told Mashable.
The coffee trucks, which launched Monday, are selling $4 cups of exotic specialty brews from countries including Guatemala, Tanzania, and Ethiopia. The job pays nearly $14 an hour, which is the average minimum wage in London. Those working outside of the city will receive almost $13 an hour, according to The Guardian. The organization is also offering to underwrite housing for their employees so they have a better chance of securing a rental property.
Though only 12 workers are employed as of Monday, there are plans to expand the number to 100 by 2016. The carts will be central to the city for now, but The Guardian reports that the nonprofit hopes to expand its operation into other U.K. cities including Bristol, Manchester, and Nottingham in England, as well as Glasgow and Edinburgh in Scotland.
The Change Please project was created in partnership with London coffee brewery Old Spike Roastery and U.K.-based magazine The Big Issue, which is known for employing homeless and long-term unemployed people to sell magazine copies on the streets.
Homelessness is a growing issue in London, with Crisis, a national charity, reporting that the number of those sleeping on the streets rose 16 percent from the past year. Every year, tens of thousands are said to request homelessness assistance from local authorities but a majority of single applicants don’t qualify for housing. Last year, an estimated 280,000 people applied for homelessness assistance in England, where an estimated 53.9 million people live.