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Haircuts from the Heart bring positive transformations

RENO, Nev. -- Sometimes it is the simple things in life that can make a big difference. Some area homeless said that is very true about getting something as simple as a haircut.

About 150 area homeless individuals received a free haircut on Wednesday at St. Vincent's Dining Hall through a new event called "Haircuts from the Heart." News 4's Terri Hendry followed two of those individuals and discovered something unexpected.

If you think the homeless are only men, you may want to re-think that. Authorities say they are seeing more single women using homeless services since the recession. Melinda Honesto and Shawna Roseman were among those to take advantage of the opportunity to receive a free haircut. These two different women have two different stories and wanted two different things from their haircuts.  

Honesto said she lost her job as a manager about a year ago and has hit on hard times ever since. "It can happen to anybody. I mean you get sacked, it does not discriminate. This has been very humbling."

Honesto wants a new job and a better life and is taking steps to make that happen. "I'd like to go into apartment management again but I also have experience in the hospitality field."

Honesto sees her haircut as a way to get her there. "It represents the change that I'm going through right now."

The story is very different for 24-year-old Shawna Roseman. She has been on the street since age 13, and is not looking for work. "I can't work, because I have seizures."

Roseman chose to have her head shaved. For her, the haircut was about cleanliness and comfort. "It's very hot, very hot right now. When you're outside all the time, it's even hotter."

Roseman said her haircut means a lot to her and others like her. She is not used to generosity. "This kind of gives us a reason to live because we know there are people who care."

Honesto echos that sentiment and is also very grateful for the generosity. She wanted a professional look and she got one. "This is really nice when they offer things like this where we can come in and get a professional haircut and build up that confidence and be able to go out and conquer the world."

Authorities with Catholic Charities and St. Vincent's said about 30-percent of those who received haircuts at the event were women. They said they are seeing more women using homeless services after a life-changing event such as divorce or job loss.