The difference a haircut can make for the homeless

One of the biggest hardships for people experiencing homelessness is finding a way to get to different locations for the services they need. Thanks to the United Way and its sponsors, today those services were under one roof.

One of the biggest hardships for people experiencing homelessness is finding a way to get to different locations for the services they need.

Thanks to the United Way and its sponsors, those services were under one roof for the annual Community Resource Exchange at the Century Link Events Center.

One of the services offered – a simple haircut. But what is a little off the top to most of us, allows some people to leave the weight of the world behind.

We spoke with one woman, named Sharon, who has been living in a shelter after going through a tough divorce.

When was her last haircut?

“Maybe four years ago,” she said.

Volunteer hair stylist Sarah Lingenbrink, who cuts hair in Bellevue, knows reshaping someone's hair can reshape their outlook too.  

“It's such a luxury for some people. Yet it's something people take for granted. I just want to provide that feeling to more people,” Lingenbrink said.

1,125 clients filed into the center Thursday, and 513 volunteers offered them free services, like dental work, foot washings, and even mammograms.

Patrick Bailey has been homeless for more than 20 years. How did a haircut and beard trim feel?

“It's like a weight being lifted off of me,” Bailey said.

“It makes me feel better about myself,” he explained. “I can go up to someone and have a conversation with them without them going ‘this guy is kind of gross’ or wanting to get away from me because of my smell or how I look.”

“It hurts to hear that,” said Wesley Kelly, the Issaquah hairstylist cutting his hair. “So it's nice that I can improve his life and make him feel better about himself.” 

Starbucks headlines a list of corporate sponsors who help pay for the costs of the event, including the Seahawks, Microsoft, and UPS. 

Photos: United Way provides free haircuts for homeless

Copyright 2017 KING


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