Shirley Raines brings beauty, empowerment to Skid Row | Features

Robert Hundley

When Shirley Raines started off volunteering on Skid Row 6 years ago, she was a damaged woman. She experienced the decline of her young son, Demetrius, and resolved her pain by supporting others heal. By 2021, she was named CNN’s Hero of the Yr.

As the epicenter of drug habit and overdose in Los Angeles, Skid Row became a battleground where Raines fought for a brighter long run. More than time she began noticing that a lot of of the ladies were interested in her hair, makeup and nail shade, so she resolved to begin her have nonprofit centered all-around elegance.

“In so many methods, makeup is not superficial,” Raines claimed. “I normally say it is an grownup sport of make believe that. I nonetheless believe that, and there are instances when you just need to have to be pulled out of your circumstances and situation.”

Inspired by her activities on Skid Row, Raines established Attractiveness 2 the Streetz and has been offering makeovers and elegance supplies, as properly as requirements like hot showers and foods, to the homeless local community for the past six many years. 

Raines and her group do the job on Skid Row each Tuesday and Saturday. On a Tuesday, she orders all around 800 burgers from McDonald’s alongside with treats and soda alternatives to feed a few regions of Skid Row from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

She also has a potent marriage with the ReFresh Place, a challenge operate by Homeless Healthcare Los Angeles that delivers entry to bogs, showers and laundry gear for the homeless community.

At 4:30 a.m. Saturday, Raines joins all-around 25 volunteers to assist prepare very hot meals that feed above 500 people, costing $4,000. Along with the food items, the group strives to develop a household atmosphere with audio and dialogue whilst giving a vast selection of urgent necessities this kind of as blankets, tents, sleeping luggage and hygiene luggage as nicely as their trademark makeover services that allow people to design and style their hair, make-up, eyelashes and much more.

“It’s the solutions, and selections are section of what we do that’s incredibly empowering,” Raines stated. “You do not have any choice of exactly where you stay, and regretably the unhappy situation is that girls do not have choice in excess of their bodies down there. But there’s a option of how I want my hair. There is a alternative of my makeup, and even nevertheless people selections are little they commence to develop ability and you get started to experience empowered.”

In December 2021, Raines was named CNN’s Hero of the 12 months and received $100,000 to place toward her perform. It was an honor that she has explained as surreal and emotionally draining as she felt the strain of representing her group on a national platform. 

“I felt a great perception of force to convey this dwelling simply because $100,000 is food stuff,” Raines explained. “It was not about getting a ‘hero,’ for the reason that I never imagine in that phrase, but the entire world does, and in get for me to get what I require for this neighborhood I have to get to a specific platform where people today can see me on stages like CNN and see my nonprofit. … What we do is very humane. There is nothing I do which is of hero status. Feeding people is humane, garments people is humane, washing the hair of a person dirty is humane. Almost nothing I’m doing is angelic, but simply because we reside in these a mad entire world, they think it is.”

When the last two yrs of the pandemic have brought hardship to people today across all socioeconomic circumstances, the homeless population of LA has especially endured, as Raines explained that the group of Skid Row was mainly left to fend for themselves through the onset of the outbreak.

“I consider that people believe that the city did this and the metropolis did that, but these people today had been left again there to die,” Raines explained. 

“People should really genuinely have an recognition of what’s taking place to the local community and not just what the metropolis says is going on but seeing for on your own. Experienced I thought what the Tv set was telling me, I would’ve considered they had masks, water and schooling about what was heading on. But mainly because I had a direct romance with the neighborhood, I knew that not to be correct.”

Raines described driving during Skid Row soon after hearing that the city had mounted hand-washing stations and pointing her digicam out of the window from block to block, finding nothing at all until finally in excess of a month soon after the COVID-19 outbreak started.

Considering the fact that starting up Attractiveness 2 the Streetz, Raines has discovered that her use of documentation has acted as an significant resource for her function to aid elevate awareness for the homeless on Skid Row, as she is completely funded by her supporters via social media, largely by the on-line membership system Patreon.

Transparency is main to Raines’ mission, and she has encouraged her supporters to comply with along on her social media livestreams so that they can witness her function firsthand and see the affect that their donations have on the lives of the homeless. 

“Now that we’re listed here and individuals are giving me donations, I want to show you how this person reacted when they got your wig that you donated or how this man or woman reacted when they acquired your tent,” Raines discussed. “We’re displaying you their joy, and we’re displaying that they want to speak to you. They want to say, ‘Thank you!’”

Through her function, Raines seeks to change the narrative that society has been taught about Skid Row and is hopeful of looking at the ongoing evolution of a earth that cares about the well-becoming of those impacted by homelessness. 

Right now, Raines even now is effective on Skid Row just about every week as a help process and a good friend to the homeless community of Downtown LA. 


Beauty 2 the Streetz


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