Philadelphia-based barber Brennon Jones has been working as a mobile haircutting unit, in a project he called Haircut 4 Homeless. Jones started this project in January, and as CBS local news explains, it’s exactly what it sounds like.
“I look past their outer appearance. I look past whatever addiction they may have. I see the person for who they are,” he said.
“My very first haircut, his name is Braden. I cut his hair on 15th & Walnut [Streets]. A few days later, I went to check up on him and he wasn’t there. I was hoping nothing bad happened to him. When we did catch up weeks later, he got offered a full-time job.”
Taper’s Barber Shop is owned by Sean Johnson. As word of Jones’ Haircuts 4 Homeless project got out, Johnson wondered what he could do to help.
Sean Johnson wanted to help, so he decided to give a fully-renovated, basically new barber shop that will offer services to those in need, to Brennon Jones.
It was given to Brennon free of charge.
Brennon says he was amazed by the offer.
“He said listen, I’ve got a building I want you to come check out. He said do you like this place? I said yeah I like it, he tossed me the key and said it’s yours,” Brennon recalled.
Johnson is no stranger to hard times and being supported when he was trying to rebuild his life after a prison stint. Johnson credits his mother’s financial support for allowing him the chance to learn how to cut hair and begin his new life as a small business owner.
“It wasn’t about me giving a barbershop, when you look at the homeless and the things that they need, I looked at it as more. I built something and I want to see it keep going and I want to see it do a great thing,” Johnson said.
The new shop will open in November with set days to exclusively serve the homeless. Now, Sean and his commitment to community building have partnered with Brennon who previously had no idea how he would continue the haircuts throughout the winter.
Barber shops are small businesses that live face to face with the communities they serve. The intimacy of the haircutting experience may be part of why barbers all over our country do really cool things like Brennon Jones and Sean Johnson.