Los Angeles’ Skid Row, home to one of the country’s biggest concentrations of homeless individuals, regularly transforms into a beauty salon. This takes place outdoors for a few hours every Saturday morning.
In that place, where tents line city blocks, homeless individuals gather in order to get free makeovers from a volunteer, Shirley Raines, or any of her staff members. Their group is composed of licensed makeup artists, barbers and hair stylists.
The service started three years ago, when Shirley Raines started Beauty 2 The Streetz, her non-profit organization. This body is dedicated to making homeless people look good and feel great.
It’s also their right to be beautiful, Raines told CNN. She said she came up with this idea after she volunteered at a soup kitchen. She realized that apart from shelter, food and water, homeless people also need some makeup and a new hair color. These things will also help them thrive.
She said that some of these people married, and they want to feel beautiful for their spouses. Moreover, they want to feel beautiful and get cleaned up before going to work.
The COVID-19 epidemic has put their “beauty work” on pause. However, the non-profit organization is still assisting the homeless in any way it can. Since then, it has shifted its focus to offering resources to help protect them from the illness.
Now that Gavin Newsom, California Government, has allowed barbershops and hair salons to perform services outdoors, she hopes to restart the makeovers and haircuts soon.
For many people on Skid Row, Raines is more than just a stylist. With every interaction, she said individuals in the community share their life’s stories with her.
At first, Beauty 2 The Streetz was so small. There were just five children assisting to hand out beauty products, hygiene kits, drinks and food. Raines alone would do their makeup and dye their hair.
Beauty 2 The Streetz became known when she started sharing images on Instagram, and started livestreaming the events. Licensed makeup artists, hair stylists, barbers and even huge makeup brands contacted Raines saying that they also want to help.
By 2019, she had registered “Beauty 2 The Streetz” as a non-profit organization with around 24 volunteers passionately offering their efforts and time to help Skid Row’s people feel beautiful. Then, she left her medical biller job and started running it full time.
When California ordered its residents to stay inside their homes late March because of the coronavirus spread, her volunteers complied and didn’t visit Skid Row. Their presence was missed.
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