Corinna Brewer of Men’s Grooming Company prepares Alfred Joseph’s hair for braiding Jan. 27 as part of the Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre’s new men’s grooming program. (Thom Barker photo)

Corinna Brewer of Men’s Grooming Company prepares Alfred Joseph’s hair for braiding Jan. 27 as part of the Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre’s new men’s grooming program. (Thom Barker photo)

Housing support program adds men’s grooming service

Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre hopes program will provide a sense of pride, dignity and belonging

Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre has added a men’s grooming service to its Indigenous Housing Support program.

“It is no surprise that COVID-19 has impacted our communities, and we all know how a confidence boost can impact self esteem,” said Annette Morgan, Dze L K’ant executive director. “For many, spending a lot of time on ourselves and our grooming routine in everyday life is a luxury that many do not have.”

Morgan said team leaders Ashely Michell and Chrissy Chapman recognized the barrier and quickly made a connection with Corinne Brewer at Gentlemen’s Grooming Company.

Brewer said she was happy to partner with the Friendship Centre on the program.

“I, personally, am a big advocate for community and helping people and this just seemed like a great opportunity for me to give back a little bit to the community,” she said.

First in the chair was Alfred Joseph for a hair trim and four braids.

“Working with the men’s group we hope to bring encouragement and impact mental well being,” Morgan said. “Mental Wellness is a sense of pride, dignity and belonging and hygiene and grooming is just one way we can work together to meet the need.”

Joseph said he was happy to participate.

“What it means to me is that I am being recognized for who I am,” he said. “I’m so thankful for the Friendship Centre. I’m so thankful for all the help that’s been coming my way.”

The centre’s Housing Support program receives funding from Reaching Home, a community-based program under Canada’s Homelessness Strategy.

Some of the other supports offered by the program include: housing loss prevention and shelter diversion supports; advocacy for those who are homeless or at high risk; assistance navigating the system to find and apply for housing; home set up supports including home starter kits; and basic needs supports including access to short-term stays in motels, emergency rental assistance, hygiene kits and PPE, emergency food supports, and free access to showers and laundry services.