Saskatchewan

Non-profit executive raising awareness for shelter workers through haircut campaign

The executive director of the Street Culture Project said the campaign #ShaveItForShelter is aimed as raising money for workers in shelters by donating money people would otherwise spend on hair upkeep.

Idea is to donate money usually spent on hair upkeep to frontline shelter workers

#ShaveItForShelters is aimed at having people donate money they would otherwise spend on hair upkeep to shelters in the city. It also involves shaving your head, or maybe a haircut you've been thinking of. (Mike Zartler/CBC)

Dustin Browne says he's particular about his hair. But he was recently talking with his buddy about what to do with his hair during the COVID-19 pandemic when he thought "screw it" and decided to shave his head.

That's when the idea was proposed to Browne: shave for a shelter, a campaign for people to shave their head or give themselves bad haircuts and then donate what money they'd usually spend on hair upkeep to a shelter instead.

"I usually get a haircut once a month," Browne said. "It was getting out of control. I was not having it."

His usual hairdresser had to take a rain check, which is when the idea for a shave first came up to make the best of a bad situation in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Browne said the money will go to front-line workers at five organizations in Regina that offer shelters. Browne is the executive director for the Street Culture Project, a Regina-based non-profit organization which includes a youth shelter.

Dustin Browne, seen in a pre-pandemic file photo, is the executive director at Street Culture Project and says the idea is to raise money and awareness about shelter workers who are providing front line services during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Mike Zartler/CBC)

His hair is the shortest it has ever been, about less than a quarter inch with a "decent enough" fade.

Staff wages are going up 10 to 15 per cent at Street Culture for the staff who work with the most vulnerable people in society, who are transient, Browne said. Thirty employees have been laid off from Street Culture.

The organization is among several in the city working with a limited supply of personal protective equipment but Browne said it will be "critical" to protect staff if there is a positive case of COVID-19 among clients.

Shelters in the city are working together to develop best practices in the case that there is a confirmed case, he said.

Browne said he realizes the money raised likely isn't going to break big numbers but he said the shelters could use the money raised during the pandemic.

"There's not a lot of awareness or talk of shelter frontline workers so that was another really big goal of this."

With files from CBC Radio's The Afternoon Edition

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