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Minneapolis barber has provided haircuts to people experiencing homelessness for 18 years

Barber Armstead Lewis has spent 18 years helping people without homes
Barber Armstead Lewis has spent 18 years helping people without homes 02:05

MINNEAPOLIS — For the past 18 years, a local barber has dedicated his talent and time to people experiencing homelessness.

He's part of the Basilica's outreach program where unsheltered people can get connected to resources, while also getting a fresh cut. 

Every Thursday for the past 18 years, Armstead Lewis has walked through the doors of the Basilica to join a handful of volunteers. It's here they engage in community building, connecting people to resources or just offering a listening ear.

It's also where Lewis keeps one of his barber chairs. Before he began giving out free haircuts, he was once someone in need.

"When I didn't have nothing, these people looked out for me. I wear a size 15 shoe. They found me shoes from the Timberwolves. They gave me $25 worth of gas that got me to the end of barber school," Lewis recalled. "That $25, I was on my last, and that $25 bounced me from that to where I am now."

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Lewis says he appreciates what the Basilica does to help community. And they believe he is a vital part of what they do.

"You go to the barber and its expensive, and Armstead gives out of his gifts," said Janice Andersen, the Director of Christian Life.

Lewis credits the Basilica for getting him to where he is today. 

"Three barber shops later," he said, "I'm successful because of the Basilica I know how to cut hair from the Basilica. I learned every technique and style from here."

This master barber says he enjoy listening and talking to people. He says what he does is not charity. 

"You can say giving back, but I'm gonna say no, I say I work for God directly. I'm on the payroll for God and whatever God said I'm going to do anyway," he said.

It's his way of using his gifts to help others. He wants to see every one who walks through the doors of the Basilica to dream big, set goals and put themselves in a position to make those dreams reality.

Lewis hopes to get his instructors license soon. He would love to have an impact on the next generation of barbers and add to their Barber Ministry.

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