Haircuts for the Holidays: Miami stylist gives free haircuts to the homeless

(WSVN) - With Christmas just a week and a half away, one Miami woman is giving a different kind of gift. As 7’s Kevin Ozebek shows us, she’s a cut above, giving free “Haircuts for the Holidays.”

It’s decked out for the season and filled with men needing a Christmas cut.

Elena Linares: “Ta-da!”

Welcome to RAZZLEDAZZLE, a barber shop chain that brings a bit of Moulin Rouge to Miami.

Every detail, from the corsets to the complimentary whiskey shots, is the brainchild of Elena Linares.

Elena Linares, stylist: “I wanted to create an ambiance where they can have a little bit of eye candy while they’re getting their haircut.”

With men wanting to look good for the holidays, the scissors and clippers don’t get a break in December.

Elena Linares: “It’s our busiest month of the year.”

Elena Linares: “Tell me how you want your hair cut.”

But that doesn’t keep her from giving back.

Elena Linares: “These are makeovers that they can’t really afford to get done, so we bring RAZZLEDAZZLE to them.”

Elena sets up a monthly pop-up shop inside Camillus House — a homeless shelter serving Miami’s poor.

Elena Linares: “The minute we come to Camillus House, we do have a fan club.”

Camillus House resident John Hugo is part of that fan club.

John Hugo: “I would follow her anywhere she would go to get her to do my hair.”

Elena and her barbers do 50 to 70 cuts a month here — all for free.

Johnny Pacheco, Camillus House resident: “I feel grateful. I feel good. It feels awesome. They’re helping out people here. Some people don’t have money to cut their hair because you know how much it costs. Some people charge $20, $30, $40, $50.”

For Elena, this isn’t just charity; it’s more of an act of paying it forward.

She wasn’t always a popular and successful business owner.

Elena Linares: “I used to sleep with one eye open and one eye closed. I was terrified of him. It was terrifying.”

In 1983, Elena needed to escape New York and her abusive husband.

Elena Linares: “I found out I was pregnant when he kicked me in the back. I ended up in the emergency room, and the doctor told me, ‘You have a 50-50 chance of losing your child.'”

Luckily, her son was born healthy.

She ended taking him and a single suitcase and fleeing to Miami.

Elena Linares: “I was homeless.”

They found refuge at a shelter for battered women.

Elena Linares: “And I am so grateful that I ended up in that shelter because had I not been in that shelter, I would have been underneath a bridge somewhere with my son.”

Elena knows Camillus House provides that safe space as well.

Elena Linares: “They feel wonderful, right, Pedro?”

She hopes her haircuts will provide a boost of confidence to help them restart their lives.

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