In the video below from Toolbox Productions, a group of homeless men are offered a free haircut and a shave. It's not really about transforming them though, it's about challenging our own perceptions.
When we look at people who are homeless as "different from the rest of us," we dehumanize them. They become feared and segregated from the rest of society. It makes it easier not to care.
Instead of being scared of people who are homeless, we should probably be scared for them. Hate crimes against the homeless jumped 24 percent in 2013. They are often victims of verbal abuse by the public. They're also vulnerable to physical attacks.
There are many reasons people become homeless. One study revealed that half of the homeless men suffered a traumatic brain injury, generally before they lost their homes.
The National Coalition for the Homeless suggests that mental illness is the third largest cause of homelessness. Addiction issues and job loss are other factors.
Do they really need a haircut before we see the human beings underneath?
Maybe we're not so different after all.