Fresh hair, fresh start: a Scarborough barbershop will take their hotrod hair styles onto the streets thanks to a Queensland government program designed to help people survive homelessness with dignity.
Retro barbers Jack Reed Barbershop will provide a thousand haircuts to Queenslanders experiencing homelessness this year with a $73,172 funding boost from the Palaszczuk Government’s Dignity First Fund enabling the construction of a dedicated barbershop on wheels.
The brainchild of Danielle Hannah and Teresa Reed, the One Thousand Haircuts – Dignity Through Transformation project will offer free haircuts from a mobile barbershop at eight locations across the Brisbane North and Moreton Bay region.
Jack Reed CEO Danielle Hannah said a good haircut can build self-image and feelings of self-worth, resulting in a sense of dignity and positivity.
“Everyone likes to feel like they look good, but for a person experiencing homelessness a haircut can mean the difference between social isolation and inclusion,” said Ms Hannah.
“Fresh hair and a shave can feel like a fresh start, which can be a big deal to someone who’s going through a pretty rough time.
“But it’s also about feeling like you’re part of a community. When you spend time at the barbers, it’s not just about coming away looking good, you also spend time in conversation getting to know people, hearing their stories and sharing their experience.”
Member for Redcliffe Yvette D’Ath said the benefit extended beyond a haircut, as the resulting confidence boost can be a catalyst for change.
“We all feel more confident after a haircut, but for someone who’s experiencing homelessness the sense of self-worth and dignity that comes from a haircut can help them feel positive about the future,” said Ms D’Ath.
"Not only can it help a person to feel hopeful they can survive homelessness, it could be just the boost they need to seek assistance to move into more stable accommodation, or even go for a job interview."
Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said the fund was designed to encourage innovative, non-traditional ideas to help people experiencing homelessness live with dignity.
“Everyone has the right to live with dignity irrespective of the situation they may find themselves in,” said Mr de Brenni.
“But with homelessness comes isolation and marginalisation. With the offer of a haircut there is also an opportunity for people to interact socially, for them to engage and connect with others and to access the information and support they need.
“Homelessness is a complex issue, and it requires a sophisticated response. But while we work toward longer term solutions, there are many wonderful community organisations like Jack Reed Barbershop who are helping people to live with dignity.
“It is also an opportunity for us to show these vulnerable members of our community that they have not been forgotten and that we are working to help them out of this situation.”