LOCAL homeless support charity Short Back & Sidewalks gave out its 7000th free haircut on Monday this week (August 29).
“What started as a few folk heading into car parks in Northbridge on weekends has now grown national and we’re extremely proud to be positively impacting the life of our 7000th client,” SB&SW founder Craig Hollywood said in a media statement, and their plan now is to be doing 15,000 haircuts per year by 2025.
Mr Hollywood started the charity by teaming up with Westons Barbership in 2015, starting out with just a couple of milk cartons for seats (“Fringe benefits,” Voice, November 26, 2021).
It quickly became clear that people needing a barber often needed a chat, too, and the human connection became a vital strand of many haircuts.
“When you’re cold, hungry, scared, and don’t know where you’ll be sleeping, your appearance isn’t a high priority,” Mr Hollywood said.
“But positive connection and enhanced appearance are integral to your self-confidence, mental health and well-being.
“It could be the confidence boost someone needs to apply for accommodation or for a job.”
Federal Perth MP Patrick Gorman, whose government pledged $350,000 for SB&SW to extend the service through WA, said “the work doesn’t stop here for Short Back and Sidewalks, with a goal to reach 15,000 haircuts by 2025.
“Along with services such as Passages Youth Engagement Hub, Short Back and Sidewalks really makes a difference for people experiencing homelessness to help them feel good about themselves, but also in terms of their ability to approach job service providers.”