Salons offer free haircuts to homeless young adults

Mar 14, 2023

Inside StandUp for Kids and Hair Proud’s A Cut Above initiative.

by Eric Berger
March 09, 2023

(Photo credit: Getty Images)

For young adults, a haircut can help them fit in — even if they don’t have a stable place to stay, according to a leader of StandUp for Kids, a nonprofit that helps people under age 25 who are homeless.

That’s why the organization recently teamed up with Hair Proud, a new haircare brand, to launch A Cut Above, an initiative to provide free haircuts to that population.

“This saves not only money for a kid, but it also gives them a boost in their confidence, their self-esteem,” said Kelly Fields, who is executive director of the Atlanta chapter of StandUp.

There are 3.5 million youth who experience homelessness in the United States each year, according to a 2017 University of Chicago study. StandUp, which launched in 1990, provided 459 young adults with ongoing social services, among other things, in 2021, according to its website.

Hair Proud launched in February and is described as “committed to representing all skin, hair and body types; putting diversity at the heart of everything we do.”

“Upon launching Hair Proud, we were moved to react to the lack of access to basic hygiene for young adults experiencing homelessness,” Nora Zukauskaite, global marketing director at I Am Proud, Hair Proud’s parent company, stated in an email to PRWeek. “Through A Cut Above we are hoping to provide these young adults with hair services they wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise [and] help instill self confidence and empower those affected to look forward to a future beyond homelessness.”

The organizations have so far found 11 salons in areas where StandUp operates who agreed to participate in the initiative. They provide free haircuts and will receive free Hair Proud products. The organizations hope to provide as many haircuts as possible, Zukauskaite said.

To reach youth, StandUp will place posters about the program in its outreach centers; partner schools; and local barbershops and hair salons, among other places.

For young adults who are experiencing homelessness, a cell phone can be just as important as a fresh haircut, Fields said. As such, the posters will have a QR code, which will allow them to find out where they can make an appointment. The campaign will also promote the initiative through social media channels from Hair Proud and StandUp.

Manifest Group, a communications agency, also worked on the campaign.