Second phase of ‘Hairdressers Unlocking Hope’ to build nine more homes in Slidell, La.; 21 to date
ATLANTA (June 20, 2008) — Hair-industry icon Vidal Sassoon rallied hairdressers across the country in early 2007 to create “Hairdressers Unlocking Hope,” with Mary Rector-Gable of behindthechair.com , an initiative to help Habitat for Humanity build homes in the Gulf Coast in partnership with low-income families displaced by the 2005 hurricanes. Now in its second year, Hairdressers Unlocking Hope is breaking ground on nine new houses in St. Tammany Parish near Slidell, La., June 23 to June 24.
The plight of homeless hurricane victims resonates deeply with Sassoon who, as a child, endured hardships that left him homeless and in a London orphanage for six years. He was finally reunited with his mother toward the end of World War II and, thanks to housing constructed by the post-war British government, his family was able to move into a home of their own.
“There is so much work to be done to restore housing and hope for low-income families who are still in temporary housing,” said Sassoon. “We need to come together as an industry to continue recovery efforts, because housing along the Gulf Coast will take years to rebuild.”
His childhood experiences led Sassoon to Slidell, La., in 2006 where he sponsored the construction of two houses in partnership with Hurricane Katrina displaced families.
Moved by the joy his efforts brought the partner families as they moved into their new homes, and overwhelmed by the enormity of the destruction that remained, Sassoon broadened his initial efforts to create “Hairdressers Unlocking Hope.”
In its inaugural year, the partnership rallied hair-industry professionals to raise $1.5 million in funds through behindthechair.com as well as build 10 homes. This year the project is building nine more homes during the second phase of a campaign built with the hands and hearts of hairdressers, notes Sassoon. To date, Hairdressers Unlocking Hope and Sassoon’s combined efforts have resulted in the construction of 21 homes in partnership with Habitat families. Visit www.habitat.org/hairdressers  to make a donation.
About Hairdressers Unlocking Hope
Hairdressers Unlocking Hope is an innovative fund-raising campaign co-created and led by Vidal Sassoon, hair industry icon, with Mary Rector-Gable, founder of the international beauty industry Web site behindthechair.com. The project has two goals: the first, to bring continued awareness of the desperation still felt by families in the aftermath of Katrina, and the second, to show the world that the entire hairdressing community, working together, can make miracles happen. In 2007 and 2008 Hairdressers Unlocking Hope has focused on reaching out to the families impacted by the hurricanes in the U.S. Gulf Coast region. Our cause of choice for this work is Habitat for Humanity.
About Vidal Sassoon
Vidal Sassoon, founder of the internationally acclaimed company which bears his name, revolutionized the hair industry with his creation of haircuts based on the relationships of architectural geometric shapes. “Sassooning” forever changed the hairdressing and fashion world. Today he heads the Vidal Sassoon Foundation, dedicated to pursuing his philanthropic interests worldwide, including the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism and Related Bigotries at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
About Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built more than 250,000 houses worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1 million people. For more information, visit www.habitat.org .