Owner Jaime Wlasenko launched the program because she wanted to give back to the community. (Brieanna Charlebois - Morning Star)

Okanagan salon offers free haircuts for homeless

Crystal Cove Salon is offering free services to the less fortunate once a month

Noticing a growing homelessness problem in the North Okanagan, Armstrong’s Crystal Cove Salon and Spa owner Jaime Wlasenko decided to try to help combat the problem and help people get back on their feet.

Though originally hosting the program in Vernon, she moved her business to Armstrong in October and decided to launch a similar initiative: offering her services to the homeless or financially challenged for free.

Related: Vernon’s homeless struggling to stay warm

Related: Five years ago, homeless man ‘had everything’

“The program that I decided to start is for the homeless and the less fortunate – people who can’t afford to go to a salon and have interviews to do or are trying to get their life back on track and just need that little extra help.”

She held the first session Feb. 21, and said she plans to continue to offer these free services from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. the third Wednesday of each month.

“Everybody and anybody is more than welcome to come in and get lice treatments, haircuts, anything the salon offers that will help people to have the self-esteem and self-worth to be able to do well in a job in an interview or just to hold their head up high on a bad day.”

Though she notes that the homeless problem in Armstrong isn’t as bad as it is in Vernon, with a window-front shop in downtown Armstrong, she said she sees homeless on a regular basis and wants to do her part to combat the problem.

“I want to do something good. I’m really sad when I look around the world and everybody is so cruel to each other and everybody looks the other way, so this is a way that I can give back and feel like I’m part of the human race in the way its meant to be. If we all did something good once a day, I think the world would be different.”

Wlasenko said that Vernonites interested in the service are also welcome. Partnering with the Vernon Community Futures, those who want to use the service are invited to go to the Community Futures office to inquire. She said they plan to set up a transportation service to bring individuals to and from her salon in Armstrong.

Noting positive responses from the community since announcing the launch of her program, she issued a thank you to those who have supported her in this endeavor.

“My [employees] are all on board and the town is on board and everybody is pitching in and donating money and shampoo and toques and all sorts of stuff, so it’s really exciting and really amazing.”

Crystal Cove Salon and Spa is located at 2575 Pleasant Valley Blvd in Armstrong.

Related: Nearly 8,000 homeless in B.C., first province-wide count reveals

Related: Vernon homeless numbers rise

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Haircuts for homeless program will take place the third Thursday of every month. (Brieanna Charlebois - Morning Star)

Hairdresser/owner Jaime Wlasenko cuts patron’s hair. (Brieanna Charlebois - Morning Star)

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