Social services also offered hot tea and promoted their package to the vulnerable , Source: City of Athens

Athens: free holiday haircuts for the homeless

Athens: free holiday haircuts for the homeless

Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis believes that this is a way to give dignity back to the vulnerable, a core of local social services

On 23 December, the City of Athens launched a volunteer social action where hairdressers gave free haircuts to the homeless. The Christmas activity was coordinated by the Municipality's Reception and Solidarity Centre (K.Y.A.D.A.) through street work groups.

According to Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis, the initiative is supposed to help people feel dignified, which is at the core of local social action. While giving out free haircuts, social workers will also promote the city’s social package and try to entice more people into entering the system.

Care, love and special treatment

Care, love and special treatment were the words of the day during Athens’ haircut initiative for the homeless. The initiative was organised by local authorities with the help of volunteer hairdressers from the Social Hair Salon of the Municipality of Athens – a service offering haircuts for the homeless every Monday through Wednesday.

In this initiative, the volunteers went to the streets looking for the vulnerable, carrying the necessary mobile equipment. The initiative provided mainly haircuts and shaves but also came with an offer of hot tea. The volunteers were able to cover the streets in the city centre, in Monastiraki and Petralona.

According to a statement by the city, seeking out the homeless, especially a few days before Christmas, makes for a better social care package and helps to build a relationship of trust between the institutions and the vulnerable. This, they claim, is a very important tool for social services – if people who feel cheated and left behind by the system can believe social services care for them, they can make the next step into social care.

Mayor Bakoyannis was quoted in a press statement, saying: "Social solidarity is a collective responsibility. The volunteers who offer essential reintegration services, such as the Social Hairdresser of the Municipality of Athens, help, pioneer and inspire. Above all, they offer people on the street the right to dignity. This is the core of all social actions in our city."



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