KoKo Hair Design lends a hand to the homeless

KOKO Hair Design is helping brighten the day of homeless Tasmanians residing at the Hobart Showgrounds.

The local business has donated 20 hair vouchers, totally $600 in services, for a wash and cut to anyone in need.

KoKo Hair Design owner Kieran Harrison said when someone was struggling or homeless, hair and beauty were one of the first things to go.

“Things like hair are often taken for granted on a day-to-day basis – even something as simple as taking the kids to get a haircut,” he said.

“An average family will usually come into the salon every four to six weeks and will roughly cost around $100 every month – and that is just for a cut and no colour.

“And I think that is something many people don’t realise.

“These are the little things that people have to pay for on a monthly basis just to get the kids looking presentable for school.

“Hair and beauty is one of those luxuries that make people feel extremely good about themselves once it’s done and that is our aim with the donation, to brighten people’s day and give them a bit of pampering.”

Gypsy Love, homeless liaison at the Hobart Showgrounds, said a housing crisis was when 50 per cent of your income went into housing expenses.

“Hairdressing is the first thing to go, as the priority is feeding the kids,” she said.

“And I know this first-hand, as I have been homeless for 15 years.

“I shaved off one side of my head two years ago and a friend helped put my hair into dreadlocks.

“But, as I’m physically disabled and can’t touch the right side of my head, I can’t maintain and separate them.”

Ms Love said she’d love to use one of the donated hair vouchers.

“I have definitely been in crisis and I think my hair can attest to that,” she said.

“But Kieran will have to look and see if my dreadlocks are repairable.”

Mr Harrison said it was important that people were aware of the situation at the Hobart Showgrounds.

“Until people are aware of it, they aren’t willing to help,” he said.

“My contribution has more of a short term affect – I am trying to help with the here and know.

“But it’s a lot bigger of a problem than what just I can do, but I can definitely do my part.

“So I encourage other businesses to get on board and donate what they can, whether that be food, supplies or whatever is needed.”

In an effort to promote communication, a community barbecue is being held regularly at the Hobart Showgrounds.

All homeless people, as well as non-homeless, in Hobart are welcome to attend.

Ms Love said the barbecue was a great way to get people together informally to hear stories.

“It’s nice for people who think that they are alone to realise that they’re not,” she said.

“So we invite anyone in the community to come along – you don’t need to be staying at the Hobart Showgrounds to attend.”

For more information about the barbecue or how to donate, visit the ‘Housing Hobart Crisis – Events, Services and Awareness” Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Hobarthousingcrisis/

Caption: Homeless liaison Gypsy Love, left, with Koko Hair Design owner Kieran Harrison at the Hobart Showgrounds.