Berlin - The Hofbräuhaus in Karl-Liebknecht-Straße - known for its one-litre beer mugs and waitstaff in dirndls and lederhosen - has been converted into a meeting place for the homeless. The super-sized Bavarian restaurant and beer hall is currently open 10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday, exclusively for people in need.

In a cooperation with the charity GEBEWO pro gGmbH, the restaurant chain is offering homeless people care and daytime shelter from the cold during the winter months. The charity and restaurant are considering extending the opening hours to the weekend.

"The corona pandemic has significantly worsened the living situation of homeless people. They live in very precarious conditions. With a lot of creativity and commitment, we have managed to decentralise our winter aid programme and get several hostels and other 24/7 facilities up and running," said Berlin social affairs minister Elke Breitenbach(Linke).

 The facility's corona hygiene plan allows for up to 80 people to remain at the centre at one time. The space is wheelchair-friendly and guests are allowed to bring their dogs. Hofbräu cooks prepare hot meals in the restaurant kitchen.

GEBEWO staff are present to offer homeless guests multilingual counselling and employment services. Medical services are also under consideration.

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