Homeless Londoner turns life around working as barista in Tube kiosk

A homeless man who slept on London's night buses to stay warm is rebuilding his life as a barista at a Tube station kiosk in south west London.

Hassanein Mohamed, of Shepherds Bush, battled homelessness for two months last year during one of London’s coldest winters.

He told the Standard today how his life "completely changed" when charity Change Please gave him the opportunity to work in the first London Underground station kiosk staffed entirely by ex-homeless people.

The 33-year-old was left without a roof over his head in December 2017, and sought refuge on night buses in Barking, after a relationship broke down.

A year on, Mr Mohamed works serving coffee to Londoners at the Clapham Common venture.

The former operational engineer, from Egypt, said he would walk around in the cold “all day”, before trying to find a sofa to sleep on or riding buses.

“Each day I was just trying to find somewhere warm,” he said.

Mr Mohamed added: “It was scary and it was something I’ve never done before, I was so afraid.

“I didn’t have any friends here or family, so it was not easy for me.”

Marco Ocampo, left, with mentor barista, Marik Avellaneda Tovar (Change Please)

Mr Mohamed has now been trained as a barista and is living in Shepherd’s Bush as a result.

After being put in touch with Change Please by a local homeless charity, Mr Mohamed is now earning the London living wage and said he has gained a “new family” through work.

He said: “I feel like I’m part of a big family, they [colleagues] know what you have been through.

“It’s like you’ve found someone that accepts you for who you are.”

Mr Mohamed said: "They do something that's not just giving a homeless person money". (Change Please)

He added: “My life has completely changed, I feel a lot happier. People tell me I’m doing well, I’ve changed a lot, I just feel happy.”

Mr Mohamed said the charity is also looking to help him gain new engineering qualifications, so he can return to his former line of work.

He said: “They do something that’s not just giving a homeless person money.

“It’s giving you something to do. If you give a homeless person some money, they could buy food or something to drink. If you give them a job, you are giving them a career, you’re giving them the chance to start their life again.”

Through a partnership with the Mayor of London and Transport for London (TfL), the coffee kiosk in Clapham Common is hoped to be one of many.

There are plans to open a range of coffee shops across the capital, with 100 per cent of the profits going back to Change People to train more people up.

Cemal Ezel, founder of Change Please, said, “Sadly, homeless individuals are 13 per cent more likely to be the victims of crime and with winter approaching it’s understandable so many seek sanctuary across TfL’s network. 

“We’re therefore so happy the Mayor of London and TfL have chosen Change Please to open at their stations, helping us fight the growing problem of homelessness and giving commuters a way to change lives every time they buy a coffee.”

homeless barista at a Tube ,London
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
6 views in july
I recommend
No recommendations yet


Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

An EE customer has said she was stalked by an ex-partner who worked at the firm, after he accessed her personal data without permission. Francesca Bonafede's number was switched to a new handset and her address and bank details were accessed. She said the company failed to take the data breach seriously and she had to involve police. EE "sincerely apologised" to Ms Bonafede, and said the employee no longer worked for the company. 'They didn't seem concerne...
West Ham say they have handed over all of their evidence to the police after completing a "thorough and immediate" investigation into racist abuse shouted at Liverpool's Mohamed Salah. The incident happened during Monday's 1-1 draw at London Stadium. Egypt striker Salah, 26, was filmed on a mobile phone from a section of home supporters as he was taking a corner. "The club is unequivocal in its stance - such abuse will not be tolerated," West Ham said in a...
A body seen in the wreckage of the plane carrying Cardiff City footballer Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson has been recovered, investigators said. Remotely operated Vehicles (ROVs) were used in ‘challenging conditions’ to pull the body out of the water ‘in as dignified a way as possible’ the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said on Wednesday night. The body is being taken to Portland to be passed over to the Dorset coroner for examination, t...
The US president, who has repeatedly criticised the military alliance, would meet with heads of state in London, Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg announced on Wednesday. It would be Mr Trump's second visit to Britain since his election, having jetted in amid swathes of protest last July. I am pleased to announce that allies have agreed that the next meeting of Nato heads of state and government will take place in London in December 2019. The meeting...
Rolf Harris was jailed for five years and nine months in 2014 but released on licence in May 2017 Credit: PA Officials are investigating a report that disgraced entertainer Rolf Harris walked onto the grounds of a primary school and waved at pupils. The convicted sex offender went onto the premises of Oldfield Primary School near his home in Bray, Maidenhead, to talk to a sculptor working in the grounds, the Daily Mirror reported. Harris, who was jailed fo...
Two men have been arrested on suspicion of murder after a teenager was stabbed to death. Police and London Ambulance Service were called to Wolsey Court, off Westbridge Road in Battersea, at 7.52pm on Tuesday following reports of a stabbing. A 19-year-old man was found with stab injuries and died at the scene at 8.36pm despite paramedics battling to save his life. The stabbing took place less than half a mile from Prince George's primary school, Thomas's B...
The girl, who has been named Roman by nurses, was found at around 10pm on Thursday in the park in Roman Road in East Ham.  Police said Roman was wrapped in a white towel and placed in the shopping bag on the ground next to a bench in the small children's play park.  The baby was rushed to hospital where she was in a stable condition on Friday morning, the Metropolitan Police said.  Roman was discovered by grandmother-of-one Rima Zvaliauskiene, 50, just 100...
The operation to recover the doomed plane carrying Emiliano Sala off Guernsey could be hampered by days of poor weather as the man brought in by the footballer's family to find him said he could be in the wreckage. The English Channel is being battered by torrential ran, 40mph winds and 10ft waves with the poor conditions set to continue - and worsen - until the end of the week, MailOnline can reveal today. The families of the £15million striker and his pi...
Train passengers are being warned of major disruption after overhead electric wires were damaged near one of London’s busiest stations. Network Rail said services travelling to and from Liverpool Street could be cancelled or revised until 8am on Thursday. Wires between Liverpool Street and Bethnal Green, east London, were damaged, with the outage impacting Greater Anglia, London Overground, Stansted Express and Transport for London Rail services. Passenger...