In Seattle, as in cities across the country, homelessness isolates and marginalizes. Many of us avoid eye contact, let alone conversation, because homelessness is simply outside our comfort zones.
But not for Daniel Bacon. He has been crossing those boundaries for years, not only engaging with the Seattle’s homeless population, but also using his craft to provide a literal touch of humanity.
Bacon is a successful stylist, working long days at Salon Circa on Fourth Avenue. But he spends his free time on the streets - handing out free haircuts, smiles and help when he can.
Creative, outgoing and covered in tattoos, Bacon is absolutely passionate about connecting his work with his community. He considers the intimacy of hairstyling to be a gift that is both easy and rewarding to share. “You don’t just have to give money to make a difference,” he says. “The hair community has an incredible blessing to offer – we touch people, and we touch hearts.”
Bacon has made sharing part of his professional commitment since he was in cosmetology school. He gave away his scholarship money to a fellow student in need. He grabbed a friend and made home visits to give haircuts and pampering to a housebound Sunny Day Holcomb, a virtual stranger in the final stages of multiple sclerosis.
And since then, he has given free haircuts, dignity and connections to hundreds of Seattle’s homeless individuals, walking the streets and pulling out his scissors for anyone ready for a new look.
“Sometimes it's not just about the haircut,” says Bacon. “It’s about providing basic human needs such as shoes, toiletries and a conversation – things the rest of us have access to and that can provide someone a better life.”
Bacon has recruited partners to bring more resources to the population he helps, including Goldwell, the international color brand he uses at his salon and which donates color products to support his efforts. He also regularly teams up with other area non-profits such as Redeeming Soles to funnel needed resources to the people he meets.
“Daniel is such an inspiration, and we are delighted to support what he does inside and outside the salon,” says Trevor Attenborough, General manager Kao Salon Division, North American, home of Goldwell hair color. “He reminds us how powerful our work can be in making people feel cared for and good about themselves.”
Bacon’s passion has indeed changed lives. He’s particularly proud of his friend Keith Sullivan, a man he first met sleeping on the street outside Macy’s. He cut Keith’s hair, got to know him and his poetry, took him home for a few days over the holidays, and eventually connected Keith with a recovery program at the Union Gospel Mission in Seattle. Sullivan has thrived there, becoming a mentor and leader to others in recovery and serving as an articulate ambassador to the wider Seattle community.
“I have had so many mentors in my life, and when I can motivate and inspire other stylists to live beyond themselves – there’s nothing better,” adds Bacon.
Soon, Bacon may well be inspiring people on a much larger scale. He has been working with a production company on a top-secret project that will showcase community service and creativity in action all across the country. Stay tuned!