By Josie Wales
An Arizona cosmetology student is currently being investigated for giving free haircuts to the homeless. Juan Carlos Montesdeoca has been giving away free haircuts to homeless individuals at Santa Rita park in Tucson and recently organized an event called Haircuts for the Homeless at a local library, during which he offered free haircuts and manicures to the homeless people of Tucson.
Montesdeoca has been homeless in the past and wanted to do his part to help the community in any way he could. The cosmetology student says he was inspired to offer his services after he helped cut hair for a woman with cancer. “I started this as an act of kindness for a mom I met on Tucson Angels Facebook group,” he says. He also does it in memory of his mother, who lost her hair.
He decided to take his talents to the streets when his Regency Beauty school shut down last September, but he was shocked when he found out he was being investigated by the Arizona State Board of Cosmetology for practicing without a license. “They can suspend – even before I even try to get a license, they can say no. That would be very very unfortunate,” he says.
Donna Aune, the state board’s executive director, told Tucson News Now they stand by the words in the state statute that say, in part, that “A person shall not perform or attempt to perform cosmetology without a license or practice in any place other than in a licensed salon,” and that an unlicensed person cutting hair outside a licensed salon is a “real risk.”
Unfortunately, legislation is making it more and more difficult for communities to aid the homeless in any way. From making it illegal to feed the hungry to ripping down shelters and stealing blankets, government agencies not only refuse to help but actively prevent others from doing so. It’s absurd to think Juan Carlos Montesdeoca poses a threat to his community by offering free haircuts to those living on the streets. Sadly, the Arizona State Board of Cosmetology disagrees.