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New Haven barbers help homeless cut through heat

NEW HAVEN - Across the state, people will be searching for cooling options all week.

In New Haven, aside from libraries, senior centers and splash pads, several local barbers offered to help the homeless cut through the heat Wednesday.

From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., the seventh annual Haircuts for the Homeless event was held on the New Haven Green.

“This has to be the hottest day ever that we cut hair outside,” said Dexter Atlas Jones, who has owned a barbershop in New Haven for 23 years and loves that these haircuts offer more than shade for the homeless.

“It’s just nice to see once you give someone a haircut they feel better, they look better and they get a little boost in their step when they leave,” Jones said.

“They come from all walks of life,” said Jesse Hardy, Founder of Jesse’s Homeless Outreach Project. “I mean, there’s even, I guess, a doctor, that was out here, Homeless, as well.”

Hardy, who was once homeless, says these transformations are heartwarming.

“Actually, it’s a blessing what he (Jesse) does for the people because these people right here, some of them, had a haircut in like a year,” said one of the homeless folks.

“I always find a quiet spot around here and go cry,” Hardy said.

“It’s a beautiful thing Jesse does,” said another homeless person. “For a lot of people. A lot of things he does.”

That man grew up with his barber, Dexter.

And homeless man felt like a new man.

“It’s a pleasure to get your hair cut by a professional,” the man said.

He said this is the first time in over 40 years anyone other than his wife has cut his hair. She recently passed away and he’s now homeless.

His barber was happy she could help

“I’ve been through rough times myself and people of always come through for me, said Keri Banks of Mur Salon in Branford. “So, it’s important for me to give back to people.”

Jesse Hardy says his organization held a raffle for the homeless folks, who had their hair cut. Eight winners received a shower and a hotel room for a night.

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