Mobile salon in Moose Jaw, Sask. provides free haircuts for homeless people
Jason Gauthier was once homeless, but now he’s using his talent with scissors to help people living on the streets find jobs and homes.
It started with a bad breakup on Valentine’s Day last year. Gauthier’s life was spinning out of control once again and he almost landed back on the streets.
“I didn’t know how to get out of my depression and one of my mentors said you need to help some people out,” he said.
That’s why he started Street Cuts Barber in Moose Jaw, Sask., a salon where every haircut is free. It opens its trailer doors every other Sunday.
“I put a post up on Facebook [and decided] I’m going to cut hair for the homeless,” he explained. “I did my first event in Calgary. I had 16 clients. I cried on my first three because I told them why I was doing it and they hugged me and I didn’t think about my problems one time.
“I think I got more out of it than they did.”
His past has seen addiction, mental health issues and homelessness, but he’s now using his first-hand knowledge of those troubles to help others.
“I was addicted to drugs, I was homeless and I have mental health [issues], and back then someone believed in me. They cut my hair, they gave me a place to stay, and they loved me back to life.”
And that’s what he and his partner Amy McClean are doing — spreading love through care and attention.
“We just started walking and greeting people and asking if they wanted a haircut,” McClean said.
The initiative began in Calgary and came to Moose Jaw when Gauthier became a full-time dad in the city. There are also chapters in North Carolina and the U.K.
Now, they have plans to take it across Canada.
“We’d like to go on the road and travel through the provinces – stay two or three days in each province, see what we can do to help the less fortunate community,” McClean said.
Each hairstyle is meant to be more than just an aesthetic change, though — it’s about empowering those who receive it, like Donnie Viczko.
“I thought, ‘Wow! I can get a haircut today for free, that’s awesome,’” he said. “The wind’s blowing in my hair and I just love it.”
Gauthier said the haircuts are only the first step in his bigger plan — he’s aiming to change how people view homeless people.
“No one knows what people are going through right now. Just try to be kind to people and look at homeless people in the eye,” he said.
“I want this to spread like wildfire. I want to help remove the stigma.”
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