Homelessness is one of the great social ills of our time, but in San Francisco, one man is rising above his misery to help others.
One day a man or a woman may have a normal life, then they may lose their jobs, their homes, their family and somehow the unthinkable happens. All those safety nets they think they can rely on to catch them if they fall are gone.They have nothing and no-where to go. And homelessness is only the beginning of the dark road.
J.C. Pearson is homeless. He was once a successful hairdresser, and now he is living on the streets with his dog Lucky. Pearson lost everything, except his dog...and his talent.
It is this talent that he is using to reach out to other homeless people like him, who have sunk into the depths of despair and depression.
Pearson cuts hair, and that may seem a simple and far from an earth-shattering act, but it goes a long way to helping people reclaim their self-respect and pride: The person in the mirror is no longer a derelict, it is himself, herself as they were and are under the despair.
“Why do I cut their hair? Because I think that if you look better and you feel better about yourself, it gives you more confidence to approach the situations or the tests you’re gonna be put through"
The reaction of Pearson's 'clients' at their transformation is touching and astonishing.
Pearson started living on the streets several years ago after losing his business, and instead of sinking into bitterness and anger he started volunteering at the hospitality house.
Pearson, 51, owned a successful salon for many years, but a series of deaths in his family and health problems left him without resources of help.
He had a heart attack and no insurance, so in the space of a month, he was forced to sell his business to pay for his treatment and hospital bills. Pearson admits the blow is something he has yet to recover from, but he applies his talent to rebuild the confidence of the homeless in his community.
He knows that an unkempt appearance is enough to exclude a homeless candidate who applies for a job, and he hopes to give them a chance by appearing groomed and well cared for.
Pearson is giving the homeless back their self-esteem along with a free haircut, and hopefully the motivation to overcome their difficulties and try to rebuild their lives. As he himself says: "If you can't save yourself, save the world."