Combating Homelessness Through Coffee
Homelessness is prevalent in London. According to the homeless organization Streets of London, more than 8,000 people live on the streets. The homeless organization’s website discusses reasons for the loss of housing including abuse, addiction, mental health struggles and relationship issues. People without homes are vulnerable to violence, theft, harassment and even death. Crisis U.K., an organization dedicated to helping homeless individuals, states on its website, “People sleeping on the street are almost 17 times more likely to have been victims of violence.” In response to this issue, Change Please, a foundation that fights homelessness through coffee, offers disadvantaged people an opportunity to escape poverty.

Data from the Department for Work and Pensions reveal that 25% of London’s population lives below the poverty line. The pandemic has worsened poverty levels, leaving many families unable to meet their basic needs. Change Please helps struggling individuals in London fulfill their basic needs, including access to shelter.

About Change Please

Change Please is a foundation committed to providing housing, job training and additional resources for homeless populations. It originated in London and has expanded to various locations throughout the city. Its website states 100% of its profits go toward combating homelessness. Change Please’s founder, Cemal Ezel, expressed in the foundation’s annual report that every cup the organization brews and every bean it sells helps change the lives of homeless individuals for the better.

Ezel began the foundation in 2015 after seeing the value of providing job opportunities for people experiencing homelessness. Full-time jobs provide income, a purpose and a chance to start fresh.

Change Please is combating homelessness through coffee in several countries like the United States (U.S.), Australia and France. The foundation’s website states all of its profits go toward helping more than 85% of its trainees secure employment. Through its training programs, 500 individuals are employed as baristas. Change Please gives individuals a fresh start in the coffee business or elsewhere.

The Impact of the Change Please Foundation

Change Please’s training center equips individuals with coffee business knowledge, including customer service, coffee-making techniques and latte art. Retail training offers work experience at the foundation’s coffee franchise locations. Upon graduation, Change Please assists trainees in transitioning to future employment.

Additional Support

The foundation’s Driving for Change program provides additional support, including therapy assessments, employment support, financial literacy training and access to essential services like haircuts, dental care, showers and medical consultations. This initiative, sponsored by Colgate, Mastercard and HSBC U.K., began in 2021 and has already served 650 individuals traveling on buses across London boroughs.

Success Stories

Change Please has empowered individuals to change their lives. One woman who previously lived in a women’s refuge now works in hospitality through the foundation’s support. She expressed her gratitude in the annual report, stating that Change Please has been there for her throughout her journey, providing crucial support during difficult times.

Change Please is making a difference in the fight against homelessness through coffee, one cup at a time, by offering hope and opportunities to individuals striving to rebuild their lives.

– Ellie Bruce
Photo: Flickr