A New Free Barbershop Helps Baltimore's Homeless Veterans Freshen Up
Landing a solid, good-paying job can be challenging for anyone. It's even harder for folks who are homeless. And for homeless veterans, many of whom are struggling psychologically, acing an interview for an open job requires leaping over numerous hurdles.
Robert Cradle wants to make sure that a neat haircut and shave is never an insurmountable hurdle for homeless veterans ever again.
To that end, Robert, a barbershop owner, launched a program called Rob's Barbershop Community Foundation. The organization operates in and around Baltimore, Maryland, and helps manage projects in the region aimed at providing free haircuts and styling for people in need. One of those projects just launched at the Maryland Center for Veterans Education and Training in Baltimore, a housing and training facility that serves homeless veterans.
In the past, veterans living at the MCVET could get a haircut—but it was done on a single chair in the middle of a hallway in the facility.
The new barbershop is full-service: clippers, a mirror, a hair dryer, a shampoo bowl and an array of barbering tools and hair products are stocked in the dedicated room that opened in June after months of construction.
On top of the importance of hygiene to the job interview process, Cereta Spencer, the director of development and community engagement, points out that the shop will be a place to socialize and get a pick-me-up.
"It makes veterans smile," she said. "If you look good, you feel good, and you perform better."