A good cut for the penniless


Inside Montreal, journalist Louis-Philippe Messier travels mainly on the run, his office in his backpack, on the lookout for fascinating subjects and people. He speaks to everyone and is interested in all walks of life in this urban chronicle.

When you want to help your neighbor in need, you think of food, bed and roof, clothes. We often neglect an aspect that seems cosmetic, but which is essential: the hair.

Capillary anarchy projects an appearance of misery. By contrast, a neat hairstyle operates a metamorphosis.

“There are men who look twenty years younger once I cut their hair,” says Emmanuelle Bolduc, 37, who for three years has made it her business to do hair for the poor, especially at Maison Wolf.

Managed by the Maison du Père, this building of around sixty rooms reacquaints street survivors with the demands of living in housing. It was there, in the Village, not far from the Beaudry metro station, that I went to see “Manue” playing lawn mowers and scissors.

Mobile dressing table

In the summer, she sometimes goes outside to do her work. She approaches beggars or anyone who seems in need of her good care and she offers her services on the spot. She has everything you need with her in her barber kit.

“I remember a gentleman with a long, thick beard who looked a bit like the cliché of a wanted ‘bad guy’ on a western movie poster. After his hairstyle, he looked more like a handsome movie star who plays the role of the sheriff. He was a handsome gentleman, and I told him! »

For the Maison du Père, André Leroux supervises survivors of homelessness during their rehabilitation to life in housing.

Photo QMI Agency, Joël Lemay

For the Maison du Père, André Leroux supervises survivors of homelessness during their rehabilitation to life in housing.

“Our residents feel good and are proud once their hair is fresh,” says André Leroux, coordinator of integration and housing maintenance at the Maison du Père.

“It puts them in a good mood to be able to chat with Manue. Many normally spend the day alone in their rooms. Some rarely have the opportunity to talk to a woman. »

Initially, Manue volunteered to style Old Brewery Mission residents who were going to appear in court or had an appointment for housing.

“It’s all well and good to dress them decently, but it also takes scissors to take care of their appearance. »

Emulates

Christian Torrès shows the barber kit with which he travels to visit those who need it.

Photo QMI Agency, Joël Lemay

Christian Torrès shows the barber kit with which he travels to visit those who need it.

When Christian Torres, 45, decided to take professional hairdressing training last summer, he immediately offered his services to the Old Brewery Mission, the Native Friendship Center and the Quebec Native Project.

“I was styling 20 to 30 heads a week. It makes me happy to see the happiness and dignity it gives! tells me this emulator of Manue.

“I was a stretcher bearer at the CHUM for five years and I liked talking to the patients. During the COVID, I was often their only interlocutor of the day, the only one to break their loneliness. »

Mr. Torres plans to cut the hair of the needy in his spare time while working in a salon to earn a living.

For her part, Manue aspires to devote herself exclusively to humanitarian hairdressing, even if it means living modestly.

“I live in a cooperative, so I can make do with little,” explains this mother of a 12-year-old boy.

Her customers at Maison Wolfe contribute voluntarily.

“One gives $20 and another gives nothing, but I love them all equally!” she exclaims.




Reference-www.journaldemontreal.com

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