PHILADELPHIA (CBS)–In February, Ukee Washington introduced us to a man who gives haircuts to the homeless, and not in a barber shop. He meets them where they live: on the street. Now that man says he’s having a problem with Philadelphia City Hall.
This winter, we watched Brennon Jones shaving on the street in Chester, sprucing up beards and hair for free. Brennon calls it Haircuts 4 the Homeless.
Brennon estimates since he started, he has given 500 haircuts in multiple states. People like Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney have stopped by for selfies.
“It’s spreading love and giving these guys hope,” Brennon told Ukee this winter.
“How far do you go?” Ukee asked. “How far can you go? Let’s put it that way.”
“Sky’s the limit,” Brennon said.
But Brennon says Haircuts 4 the Homeless is now grounded, at least in Philadelphia. He says on Monday, he had just started another day of cutting hair at a traffic island at 15th Street and JFK Boulevard in Center City.
“A young lady approached me with a note saying I had to shut down immediately,” Brennon said.
Brennon says he sat down this week with someone from City Hall, and they had issues like traffic safety, Brennon’s lack of vendor license (he said he was never told he needed one), and questions about health codes, because he’s cutting hair outside.
“My mission for this was to reach those sleeping under bridges, who are on corners, who sleep in parks, those guys who don’t make the cut when you stand in line at a shelter,” Brennon said.
We asked Mayor Kenney about the situation Thursday. He immediately remembered the man behind the movement. “I just thought it was a very kind and human thing to do,” Mayor Kenney said.
The mayor promised to look into the situation and see if the city can keep Brennon’s steet-level salon alive.
“I think sometimes common sense and decency should overcome strict adherence to every single rule,” Mayor Kenney said.
Brennon said, “I’m hoping that city will figure out a way that it works for everyone.”
Thursday afternoon, a spokesperson from the mayor’s office told CBS3 their primary worry was that the traffic island wasn’t a safe place. They say they did offer some alternative sites for Brennon to cut hair. If those don’t work for him, they say they will explore other options, including ones that would be outdoors.