homeless

Long Beach Woman Brings Beauty and Human Connection to Homeless on Skid Row

Throughout the year B2TS provides food, clothes, and what they are most known for, hair and makeup to over 800 homeless people.

Shirley Raines

"Hey Queen!"

These are the words that echo everyday along Los Angeles homeless population on Skid Row.

For the past three years, founder and 51-year-old Shirley Raines from Long Beach has served the homeless community through her non-profit Beauty 2 The Streetz.

Throughout the year B2TS provides food, clothes, and what they are most known for, hair and makeup to over 800 homeless people.

"I'm a mother at heart. I have five children of my own and even though I buried my first child, God gave me 800 plus more in the streets, he gave me a bonus family," said Raines.

What makes Raines and her B2TS team special is not the food they provide but the human connection and relationships they have built with the people they serve. Raines alone has created relationships with people who she checks on, on a regular basis.

"I think it's just about being seen, being loved, being called by your name and being acknowledged," Raines said. "Let's be real, no one ever thought their life would go from a house where they can shower to being in the streets where most people don't even want to come near them or touch them. We have earned their respect."

Cherish Benham, 29, ended up losing her kids, battling depression and was jobless when she ended up sleeping in her car on Skid Row. After moving into a shelter, Benham found Raines through Instagram and decided to go out one Saturday to get her hair done.

"I was a bit star struck because she is known in the streets, but I finally asked her to touch up my afro," said Benham. "After that it was like, 'Wow, I can actually go out into society looking like myself,' and from there I kept going every Saturday."

Raines has not only been able to provide essentials for the homeless but she has also inspired and motivated her "kids" to strive for better. Recently she was able to gather a group of women who participated in a Laura Geller makeup campaign.

"It was so empowering, that's why I love Mrs. Shirley," said Benham. "She has done a lot for me."

Although B2TS has received much praise online and continues to grow their following, Raines said it is still tough trying to gather funding.

"It's just so hard to get that level of funding we need," said Raines. "But I have found a purpose for my pain and I plan on doing this as long as the Lord provides a way."

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