Shirley Raines isn’t rich, but she has a heart of gold and a sense of purpose. The stylist has made it her life goal to help the homeless one makeover at a time. So, she fully funded an organization she calls Beauty 2 the Streetz, which offers the homeless of Skid Row and Los Angeles some food, showers, and most importantly, beauty services to remind them they still matter.
Meet Shirley Raines
Every Saturday, Shirley Raines and her team of volunteers offer makeovers to homeless people on Skid Row free of charge. Come rain or shine, a plight of homeless people can count on her to remind them that they have not been forgotten.
Welcome to Skid Row
Skid Row is an area of Los Angeles, California, that’s populated by homeless folks. There are back areas of Los Angeles packed with people in need who wish they could make it to Skid Row, and there's a reason for it.
They Have Resources
Skid Row has resources like housing, showers, and bathrooms. But there are side streets and backstreets that make it difficult for handicapped people to get to Skid Row, so they don't have access to these much-needed resources.
She Truly Emphatizes
That's one of the reasons why Shirley drives all around Los Angeles looking for people in need. Many of them feel sorry for showing up with matted hair that's almost impossible to detangle. This woman sat down in her chair and kept apologizing for her hair being dirty.
There's No Judgment
Shirley would never kick someone while they’re down, so the last thing she would do is judge someone over the reasons why they're on the streets. Instead, she gives them gifts that will come in handy, like shoes. She also really encourages them. She even gets some homeless women to show her their runway model catwalk and have a little fun.
They Loved Her Look
With the help of her organization, they are also able to fill a couple of empty bellies with food. But at one point, she realized that the women were more interested in her hair color and her makeup which they complimented her on frequently.
After a couple of months of listening to people say to her, “Oh my God! I love your makeup,” or “We love your hair color,” or “you smell so good,” something just clicked. “Wow! Women are still interested in these things?” Raines told Insider.
At Their Core
It dawned on her that despite all the personal struggles these homeless women had been through, they were still women. But more importantly, they needed her help to remember that they were just like everyone else.
Beauty 2 the Streetz
Beauty 2 The Streetz is her own organization and she has a couple of amazing volunteers who help provide some much-needed services to the homeless of Skid Row and the back streets of Los Angeles, California.
At first, she wasn’t exactly sure where she fits into this project of helping others. But when she noticed that women on the streets were still interested in hair and makeup, she realized that this was her true calling.
That’s Why She’s Here
She isn’t bothered by the horrible condition of their hair. In fact, she reminds the homeless women she encounters that the whole purpose for her providing her services is to ensure their hair gets a much-needed upgrade.
Changing the Face of the Homeless
Raines and her volunteers want to build friendships and show some compassion as they give homeless people a much-needed makeover. So, when women sit on her chair, she shows them the mirror as the process is going on. She wants them to enjoy every minute of their transformation.
Their Faces Light Up
You can see their faces change and the way they light up as they get some much-needed TLC. All you can hear are Raines' happy costumers screaming, “Oh my God! Is that me?” Raines immediately sees their confidence boosting while they’re in the chair even before the process is complete.
They Feel Special
As their hair color changes, or even when they have the plastic cap on their head, they already feel special. They feel like they're finally focusing on something other than the circumstances and the situation that they’re in.
Rebuilding Their Self-Esteem
Something as simple as a little makeup, hair, and a shower can truly boost a homeless person's self-esteem. And Shirley believes that like anyone when your self-esteem is high, you feel like you can do just about anything you set your mind to.
The Hardest Challenge
But getting off the streets has got to be one of the hardest things that these people are going to face in their lives. So, feeling good about themselves is the first step in their healing process.
The makeovers Raines provides can really make a difference. But so is having a conversation, bonding, and eating some hearty food. Raines feels like it’s her mission to remind these people that they are in fact an invaluable part of humanity.
They Lost Everything
The people of Skid Row are not just people dealing with substance abuse. These are individuals who fell on hard times. They lost their jobs or had an illness and couldn’t keep up with their bills. So, they lost their homes, too.
Different Walks of Life
After losing the roof over their heads, some of these folks had to sleep in their car until it got repossessed. Raine has even encountered a couple of veterans, too. Along the way, she has also taken care of a woman that has a Ph.D.
Breaking the Stereotypes
Raines wants to break the stereotypes of what homelessness is. That way, people will finally understand that not all homeless folks are without jobs. They just don’t have a home.
The Levels of Poverty
There are many levels of poverty just like there are many levels of wealth. So, it’s important for people to understand that just because someone is homeless it doesn’t change who they are at their core.
They Want to See a Difference
We all want to feel beautiful and special. Every woman wants to look in the mirror and see something different than their circumstances, their hardships, and their situation.
Raines knows how it feels to be down and completely alone. So she truly understands what it means to want things as a woman that seem unattainable when you don't have the funds to get them.
The Importance of Giving Back
It’s important for Raines to give back because she used to be the type of person who felt like she was down on her luck, and she remembers how it affected her life.
You Can Help, Too
Beauty 2 the Streetz believes all women can embrace who they are, define their future, and change the world. And on their website, they are happy to accept volunteer applications and online donations via Cash app, Venmo, or PayPal. If you want to help out, you could even send items from their Amazon Wishlist or donate to our P.O. box to truly make a huge difference.